Kancho David Charles Cook in Yekaterinburg
From 6th to 9th of May 2010 there happened a significant event in the Russian world of martial arts. Our country was visited by the famous Grand Master of Karate from Sweden - Kancho David Cook (9th Dan) - the author of the famous book "The Power of Karate”, the founder of Ashihara International-Karate style in Europe, the author of unique techniques of martial arts, and the founder of his own styles, Tsu Shin Gen-Mixed Martial Art and Senshin Fighting Karate.
It was in 1987 while I was in Sverdlovsk (Urals) Law Institute and was into Kyokushin Karate. I did Karate for about 2 years. I should say that to obtain any literature was forbidden in the USSR karate was virtually impossible. And then a remarkable occasion took place - from the competition in Poland arrived in the fighter known as Vova Klimentyev, and he brought a few copies of the book of the unknown author in Russia - D. Cook (5th Dan). Book instantly becomes very popular – because it had all the techniques from 10th Kyu to 3rd Dan, of our style of Karate Kyokushinkai!
The only thing I could do that time was to photograph the book page by page (photocopy did not yet exist in Russia). To do this it took me more than 10 films and three days. But I was happy as I held the book that would be my guide in my daily trainings for 15 years. In 1990, in Yekaterinburg there appear copies of the "Power Karate" book, for the 1st and the 2nd parts I pay $300. But of course it was worthy, because my pictures were not very good quality. In 1994 in Russia, there finally was made a hard-copy of the "Power Karate" book, though in a slightly abridged form. The book is still relevant and in demand today.
Ekaterinburg 2010. Gymnasium «AVS Hotel». We stand in neat rows, the representatives from different cities of Russian. Ahead there stand the leaders of the Russian Mission of TSG: Ivan Titenkov, 6th dan (Moscow), Oleg Frolov, 5th dan (Ekaterinburg). Everyone is waiting for Kancho. I am a little worried, because now at last I am going to see the person that I knew, without seeing for over 20 years! And then he appears, a tall and elegant man with an ironical twinkle in his eye. Beside him, a faithful companion on long trips and the best student in Mix Fight, Shihan Michael Forsman. We welcome them saying as one: Osu!
The first session was devoted to TSG-Ashihara Karate. Michael begins a warm-up. Some jumping exercises and shuttle movements, stretching - no more than 10 minutes. We put on protect ion and form pairs. After several paired combinations we go to work on the Pads. It is worth mentioning that before this session, I have never attended trainings of TSG-Ashihara Karate, so I was trying to find the differences from Kyokushin Karate at that moment. The combinations were easy to follow, there are punches to the head, takedowns and finish offs. Several combinations end with following the opponent to the floor and finishing off. There are no notable difficulties in carrying out tasks for me, which meant the technique is almost identical to Kyokushinkai. Kancho walks among the practicing pairs, watching carefully to each one. His keen eye tuned to the details. It is the small nuances of technique that he believes to be the key to successful application.
DOWN ON THE FLOOR
Training in the afternoon is devoted to the so-called Mix Fight (mixed combat). Well, here we are complete novices. I climb onto my partner and demonstrate a technique of retention and submission that was shown to me. He groans and snorts – the weight difference between us is more than 20 kg. All the techniques are easy to understand and practical. If you have any questions, Shihan Michael is always ready to help. Need for translation almost does not arise. All clear without any words. I look on others – everyone work quietly and smoothly. There are no sudden movements or use of the physical strength because otherwise there is a risk of injury. To explain some of the techniques Michael Forsman chose Shihan Ivan - here they both feel confident as they are both outstanding specialists in mix fight. Ivan is taller than Michael, and he looks much more heavier but Michael has got no problems with that, the technique of mix fight gives an ability to omit weight advantage of your opponent if it used in the right way. I carefully listen to their explanations and try to repeat all this with my partner right after. Unfortunately, it turns out to be something wrong. I raise my head and search for an answer from around, who can explain? There is a girl beside me, she is not very tall and she is tiny, but she has a black belt of 1st Dan on her waist. I do not take it into account - what can she do – so I was looking for someone bigger. However, Karina – that very girl, takes an initiative without my request. In a second after, my partner Sergei, the owner of 2nd Dan in Karate, is lying on the floor with a neck submission. From his helpless look I understand - the combination worked. Later I find out that Karina Ivanova is the first woman in Russia that has a Black Belt in TSG Mix-Fight, and is the winner of many tournaments and a very sociable person.
Two days of the seminar have passed and today is examination right after the morning class. Guys are restless, as they will have to answer before Kancho D. Cook himself. And test begins. The fighters are in neat rows showing combinations in pairs. Each pair shows the technique on their grade. After several repetitions of the command are given all the combinations are merged into one single Kata. Here's another feature of the TSG-School: Kata are always performed in pairs and all purely functional combinations to apply it in combat, there is not any dogmatic complex movements. Everything is simple and understandable. The next part is a Tai-Sabaki: in the middle of the circle there stands a fighter, he is surrounded by 10 people who attack him, one at a time, with short combinations one by one. His task is to defend and respond accordingly. I have noticed a mature man in the exam, he is about 50 years old. Their commitment and enthusiasm with which they demonstrate their skills arouses my respect. And here's Kumite. 15 matches - it is not so easy at all, especially if Ivan Titenkov himself goes against you. There is no relaxation here. Though Ivan attacks gently, there is virtually no chance to withstand him. Double punch to the head, low-kick and then the submission. Young fighters are especially active, contact to the head for some of them turns out to be a bruise beneath the eye. Nice stamina and spirit is demonstrated by those who grade for second and third Dan.
THE MOMENT OF GLORY
The exam is over. Wipping sweat from their brows and rubbing their badly battered bodies, the fighters sit around in front of the examiner’s table. TSG Ashihara Country Representative Oleg Frolov 5th Dan, reads the names of those who successfully passed the tests. Kancho, with a smile on his face, presents the certificates. Everyone is clapping because many families came to support their sons. Of particular delight is awarding certificates to the Black Belts. Indeed, for many of them this cherished dream has now come true.
A short pause, and in the hands of Kancho there is a Black Belt with six gold stripes. He pauses, and announces the name of the owner. Yes, today, Michael Forsman becomes the owner of 6th Dan!
This causes a real storm of emotions among Russian fighters, they run up to Michael and start to swing him in their arms, tossing him in the air for exactly six times – a good and very old tradition. Michael is excited and with difficulty is holding back tears of joy. We are all happy for him.
Kancho also announces the promotion of Lars Utter from Sweden to 5th Dan.
The camp has come to an end, and it's time to leave. Honestly, we don’t want to leave. I feel that during these three days I have become attached to the friendly Russian team, Shihan Michael and Kancho. With Karina’s the help, who speaks English, I express my gratitude to Kancho David and saying goodbye to Shihans: Ivan, Michael and Oleg. It is 200 km to my home and nearly three hours of time - enough to ponder and to analyze the seminar. I am taking a lot of knowledge and good impressions that I surely will share with my 500 students.
/ Shihan Sergey Olin 5th Dan Kyokushin Karate