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Fun and Fellowship in Philly

by Ray Walter

On May 20 & 21, the Ambler Area Goju Ryu club hosted a weekend workout. We were blessed to have multiple clubs in attendance from Maine, New York, Ohio, Illinois and Missouri. The host for the weekend, Sensei Bill Kane, started us off Friday night with an introduction of the two men who would become our trainers and tormentors as they ran us through katas and kata concepts that tweaked our minds and pushed our bodies to the limit.

Friday night started off with katas Seiunchin and Saifa. We worked extensively on these two katas as they are pretty much the two extremes of Goju Ryu. This also gave Sensei Shaneman and Sensei Maunz the chance to evaluate our abilities and gave us a taste of what was to come. Everyone worked hard and at the end, Sensei Shaneman gave everyone a homework assignment;  to come up with a bunkai to Seiunchin from a grappling perspective. We all met at a local restaurant after the workout, and after much pizza, beer and getting acquainted, we were ready for a good night’s sleep with the anticipation of what tomorrow would bring intruding on our minds.
     
ImageThe next day began with Sensei Maunz taking one group, while Sensei Shaneman led another. This carried throughout the rest of the day.  I have had the very great pleasure of training under both men before, but it never ceases to amaze me how each man can totally captivate the attention and imagination of a diverse group of people  the way they can.  Sensei Maunz is the consummate technician while Sensei Shaneman is a virtual encyclopedia of kata bunkai.  I trained in the morning session with Sensei Maunz on Suparunpai, where some students were just learning the kata for the first time, others needed to refine their technique. Sensei Maunz was adeptly able to switch gears according to both sets of needs to give everyone the training that they required.    

The second session was training with Sensei Shaneman on Sanseiru. When you train with Sensei Shaneman, you can’t help but get the sense of how his years in law enforcement have colored his interpretation of kata.  Every move has to prepare you for the next. He never lets you move on until you are in the best position to execute the following steps. The words “think, prepare, execute” are forever burned into my brain. I also instinctively retract my foot at the thought of someone screaming SNAKE!  
     
After the last session, we all came together for the closing ceremonies and the end of the nearly flawless day of training.  I say nearly flawless because we did need a little knuckle time to remind us to line up promptly, but only once.

After the Saturday training, we all met at Sensei Kane’s home for elk burgers and fellowship. It was great to be able to connect with everyone on a more personal level while sharing stories and battle scars from the weekend.  On a personal note, speaking as one who has spent a great deal of years training on my own, it is wonderful to be able to connect with people of like minds and open hearts and to be a part of an organization where honest training is the goal of everyone without all the egos.