Shufu’s 2013 Goshin Jutsu Clinic A Tremendous Success with Sensei Eiko Saito Shepherd

July 22, 2013

Sensei Eiko Saito Shepherd and Karl Tamai

Sensei Eiko Saito Shepherd and Karl Tamai

 

July 20, 2013  Hyattsville, Maryland

 

Nearly fifty judo kata enthusiasts gathered at DeMatha Catholic High School on this beautiful Saturday in Hyattsville, Maryland for the 2013 Goshin Jutsu clinic, sponsored by Shufu Judo Yudanshakai.  Head clinician Eiko Saito Shepherd traveled from St. Louis, Missouri to lead the eager group in learning and refining this advanced set of techniques, also known as the modern weapons self defense kata. Created in 1956, Goshin Jutsu is a series of 21 techniques involving unarmed attacks as well as attacks with weapons including a knife, stick, and pistol.

Participants in the 2013 Goshin Jutsu Clinic

Participants in the 2013 Goshin Jutsu Clinic

 

Participants came from states as far as Washington, Connecticut, and South Carolina, ranging from junior ranks to 5th Dan, and in age from 8 years to considerably more than that.  Also in attendance were senseis Dick Hugh from Delaware, Edwin Takemori from Maryland, and Shufu President John Morrisson from Virginia.

 

Sensei Shepherd was assisted by a most capable uke (Karl Tamai), and also by Senseis Peggy Whilden, Karen Whilden, Diane Tamai Jackson, and Fran Vall.

 

2013 Goshin Jutsu ClinicThe clinic was the latest in a series of Shufu-sponsored judo clinics for shiai competitors, kata competitors, and referees.  Karen Whilden, the immediate past chair of Shufu’s Kata Development Committee, was instrumental in winning additional financial sponsorship from the USJF to bring Sensei Shepherd to Maryland.

 

Sensei Shepherd was the ideal head clinician, having extensive experience in shiai and kata since her childhood in Japan.  She shared her experience in evolving from a judoka who was not thrilled with the prospect of learning kata to her current position as a leading authority on kata and the USJF Chairperson of Kata Development for the United States.

 

Of particular note were her demonstrations of detail and subtleties that made each individual technique real and effective.  2013 Goshin Jutsu ClinicHer highly interactive style was also in evidence as she often asked different judoka to demonstrate their newly-refined techniques to the entire group.  She emphasized that everyone had to work through any mistakes to improve their skill, and was very supportive to all.

 

2013 Goshin Jutsu ClinicKarl Tamai, who was Sensei Shepherd’s principal uke all day, was clearly able to speak about those subtleties.  “It’s an honor and a privilege to work with such a great judoka who has such an extensive knowledge base and capabilities. She has a slightly different perspective on the application of the techniques, with slightly different hand positions and application of the techniques that were very enlightening, different, and effective.”

 

 

Chris Gonzalez

Chris Gonzalez

Chris Gonzalez is a judoka from Redmond, Washington: “I come from Redmond, Washington from Emerald City Judo, and I wanted to come here and learn Kodokan Goshin Jutsu because I do a lot of self-defense training in multiple arts.  So far it’s been a great opportunity to practice the techniques, learn what they feel like, and meet new people.  And I’m having a great time!”

 

 

Peggy Whilden, many-time kata U.S. national champion and an established kata authority herself, was in attendance, and was clearly pleased by the turnout. “I think it’s great and it’s good for people to have someone from the outside come in like this.  I think she’s doing a good job and people are interested in it and are learning.

Karl Tamai and Peggy Whilden

Karl Tamai and Peggy Whilden

I think if we keep it up and do one or two clinics a year that it will build up the interest in kata in general, and people will understand why you have to do katas and how it will help other parts of your judo –  how the two work hand in hand.  I think having local instructors have a clinic and then bring in a person from the outside is a good mixture.”

 

 

Patrick Nagle

Patrick Nagle

Patrick Nagle, a fifteen-year-old judoka from College Park (Maryland) Judo Club, was also having a good time today:  “I think it’s really cool. The armbars and the cool throws – I’ve never seen anything like that before.  Sensei Shepherd is really good at this – if you watch her she’s totally amazing.  She’s so good with the techniques – every technique, she does perfectly. Goshin Jutsu is so cool – I’ll definitely give this a try.  It’s something you could use in real life, too – if someone would attack you, you could use it to defend yourself.”

 

Pam Hinkle, Sensei of Blue Dragon Judo Club in Middletown, Connecticut, traveled to The D.C. Metropolitan area with her two sons Alex and Kevin, and another judoka, Jose Torres, for the clinic.

Jose Torres, Alex, Pam, and Kevin Hinkle

Jose Torres, Alex, Pam, and Kevin Hinkle

When asked about her experience, her response was unambiguous: “I’m so thankful that I was able to come because it was so fantastic. I feel like I’m starting judo all over again.  It was great, humbling, and inspiring, all at the same time. Now I have to practice what we’ve just started to learn, and to find people who are willing to work with us.

 

 

John Morrisson

John Morrisson

And from John Morrisson, President of Shufu Judo:  “I think the turnout is tremendous, to have all these people here studying Goshin Jutsu.  This is the kind of effort I’d like to see with all our kata clinics and events and to continue to raise the level of judo in Shufu.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin Tamai, Sensei of Hui-O Judo Club, was the event director, and was very happy with the day’s events.

Kevin Tamai

Kevin Tamai

“We had a wonderful clinic today, with a great turnout.  Having Eiko Shepherd is a big honor for Shufu Yudanshakai – she brings a great deal of expertise and competition experience to help us out.  We had about fifty participants today from 20 different clubs.  I’m very pleased that we had so many clubs represented and individuals to not only learn the kata but to bring it back to their clubs to share with other people.  I think the value of kata is incredibly important to enhance your overall judo experience and I’m very proud of everybody who was able to take part in our clinic today.”

 

 

Diane Tamai Jackson

Diane Tamai Jackson

Finally, Diane Tamai Jackson, who recently assumed the chair of the Shufu Kata Development Committee and with her brother Karl Tamai is the reigning US national champion team in mixed Nage No Kata, was equally enthused about the day’s events. “Eiko is an excellent clinician.  She brings the shiai know-how into kata and shows the balance between learning and understanding judo through shiai as well as through kata, and that each is necessary for good judo.  Today’s kata clinic had an overwhelming attendance – we had almost 50 people there.  We had a lot of people now excited about learning a new kata – a higher level kata, so in learning that one I think it will also get them excited about doing all of the katas.”

 

 

Sensei Shepherd will be the Chief Clinician at the 13th Annual USJF National Kata Conference, to be held in Chicago on August 8th – 11th.

 

Sensei Shepherd explains the value of kata and kata clinics in a short video

 

And here is a GALLERY of pictures from the clinic

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