On Saturday, October 15th, 2022 the Ambler GKK dojo was pleased to host Shihan Yamakura and
Sensei Myers for the first time in several years. Classes were held at each belt level with higher belts
welcome to join the lower belt studies which meant that the class size was much larger at the beginning
of the day than at the end. After a warmup and kihon where Sensei Myers demonstrated good kicking
foot positioning, the white belts were introduced to Geki Sai Ichi. This was the first time many of them
had performed this kata as the Ambler GKK uses basic dojo katas for white belts, but the students
enthusiastically learned the moves that they had seen green belts practicing. Keeping with our family-
themed groups, we also welcomed a new adult student (who has two sons in the class) that morning
who now plans to join the dojo.
As we moved on through green belt and brown belt classes, Shihan increased his observations
and focused more on applications and stances. The green belts learned about the origins of Kihon kata
and how Shihan’s teacher had taught him this particular kata. The green belts also participated in
sparring and learned about how to use their partners’ moves to their advantage. After a quick lunch
break, the brown belts performed kata as a group and individually with feedback from Shihan. This
feedback was very helpful as it gave each brown belt one aspect of their kata upon which to focus. The
brown belt class performed Saifa, Seiunchin, Tensho, Ukeno and learned the motions of Sanseiryu.
Sensei Myers helped the brown belts get through this kata which was brand new to them. Shihan
explained that his teacher had given him two katas – Kihon and Ukeno – to teach and reminded us that
it was important to do those katas in a manner that demonstrates his teaching.
Finally, after many hours of training, it was the black belts’ turn. All katas were performed as a
group through Suparinpei and Sanchin testing was demonstrated to show the black belts how to test
stances and positioning. Katas were performed in different directions and then each black belt did an
individual kata with Shihan and another black belt giving one point of feedback to the student
performing the kata. The black belt class concluded with Yakusoku Kumite at both the jodan and chudan levels.
After a very long day, we gathered for dinner at a local restaurant. We were very thankful to
Shihan Yamakura and Sensei Myers for the learning and the fellowship that took place and look forward
to hosting more such events in the future.
Written by Bonnie Keagy (Brown Belt)