I thought I'd do a little review of one of Iain's seminars I went on recently.
It was hosted by Dave Bolsover of Makenki Karate in Sheffield. And a great host he was too, very welcoming. They laid on the best break time food I've ever seen at a martial arts seminar (which is usually just some crap coffee and a vending machine). It was a beautifully prepared fruit platter with all manner of fruits (and choccy biscuits!).
Iain started promptly with an introduction and some clinch based warm-ups drills. I was lucky enough to serve as partner for Iain as he explained what each variation was about. We starting gently just moving about in grips (underhook, neck and arm etc) and then moving onto gently fighting for grips, dominant grabs and a sprinkling of eye gouging (thumb to forehead), throat grabs, knees, elbows, groin grabs (grabbing the belt) and even biting (just signifiying a bite). I'm a big fan of functional warm ups like this, that bear some resemblence to movements you are looking to drill, rather than your usual star jumps and jogging. Making good use of time and ingraining good habits right from the start.
Over the next 4 hours Iain tooks us through the two man bunkai sets he teaches in association with Pinan Godan. Using all of the movements in the kata and showing how it can all be functional. Everything was delivered with a good dose of humour and plenty of anecdotes that helped give more relevence to what we were drilling. Some of the drills were a real eye opener for the guys at my club that weren't used to looking at kata in this way. Iain made sure to not only stress the details of Pinan Godan itself but also the underlying principles of how to look at kata in a much wider sense. What turns can signify, what slow movements may be showing us, what hikite can be for etc etc. All good thought provoking stuff.
So in closing I can thoroughly recommend getting yourself down to one of Iain's seminars. If you have the books and DVD's actually seeing it hands on and getting to see Iain doing it in the flesh really helps put things together. I'd seen Iain explaining using a low cross block to strip (and break) a wrist grab but I'll admit it always looked a little unrealistic to me. However seeing it up close, doing it into a clinch based drill and adding in some "dirt" (the aforementioned knees, elbows, etc) made it make much more sense.
Many thanks to Iain and Dave for putting the seminar on and giving us a good experience.