An opportunity to practice with godan Ken Osborne, partake in Southern hospitality, and help support the 35-year Spring in the South tradition brought 57 SKA members together in North Carolina during the weekend of April 26–27. Participants came from up and down the East Coast and from across the South, Midwest, and Canada.
Ken Osborne drilled us on a series of challenging combinations, urging us to practice “what we’re not good at,” while focusing on a few key points: the eyes, developing a fighting strategy, think—always think—and distinguishing between practice and training.
As he explained, practice is what you do in the dojo, but training is the research you do outside the dojo, on your own or with a buddy. True understanding and proficiency is hard to achieve without this external exploration and experimentation.
North Carolina member Daemon Woods, gokyu, summarized Spring in the South quite succinctly: “This was a great weekend of training with Ken Osborne. I was prepared to learn the basics of foot-sweeping from him, but, as a bonus, he also gave us his philosophy on the importance of strategy in kumite, the importance of being a ‘thinking practitioner,’ and the difference between ‘practice’ and ‘training.’ Aside from bringing a wealth of knowledge to the event (as you would expect from someone who has over 50 years of experience under his belt), he is a very, very nice guy and he had us hanging on his every word. I highly recommend attending any seminar he leads.”
In addition to the three practices, the weekend featured a boxed lunch, eaten while catching up with old friends and meeting new ones, and a banquet dinner at the Mediterranean Deli, a Middle Eastern restaurant in downtown Chapel Hill. Socializing continued at downtown Chapel Hill’s many inviting watering holes.
Proceeds from Spring in the South help support the Shotokan Ohshima Dojo. Additional funds were raised through the sale of the annual Chapel Hill SKA T-shirt and DVDs of Spring in the South 1990 (led by Marion Taylor) and 1995 (led by Mr. Ohshima), as well as a DVD produced by the Kansas City dojo with Jon Beltram demonstrating self-defense, torite, and nagewaza. For purchase information, please contact .
The Chapel Hill dojo is grateful to Ken Osborne for taking the time to travel to North Carolina, sharing historical insights about Shotokan Karate of America, and helping us “excavate the treasures” he said could be found within each of us.