This past Sunday myself and a handful of students attended a seminar at Newton Aycliffe at sensei Dave Noble's dojo, with Sensei Abernethy. I found the whole 4 hours refreshingly informal, open and friendly. Iain is a great raconteur and laughter and hard work were the order of the day. Iain displays in depth knowledge of karate history and quotes past masters at will. He also gives cogent and simple explanations for his take on bunkai. We covered flow drills for heian godan and sandan and 4 hours simply flew by! Iain had an interesting take on these drills, emphasising the importance of training with a partner but pointing out how limiting it can be to technique as they must be modified to prevent injuring our uke. This , he says, is where the solo drill comes into its own as we can invest the kata with power and intent. The session ended with a group photograph of a room full of tired but happy karateka. I cannot recommend training with sensei Abernethy enough; if you get the chance.. do it !
I would second everything you said in your review.
A number of us on OSS have trained with Iain and I would wholeheartedly recommend for those who haven't, attending a seminar if Iain happens to be in your area - he does quite a few international venues as well.
Tradition is the passing on of the fire, not the worship of the ashes - Sir Thomas More
I'd third what the Op said. Outstanding Karate ka Although, I think his karate expertise isn't Shotokan. Some of his Shotokan bunkai he breaks down I don't get (I'm not saying it isn't effective I just don't see the movements in the shotokan kata that he's referring to) But that's not a knock on him, I've seen on the internet bunkai from high ranking shotokan dan that I think to myself .. Nope that's not the bunkai I draw from lol.. Interestingly though I've never been taught bad bunkai in the Dojo. I don't know if its just an internet thing where one doesn't see the questions being asked after that is giving me the impression of bad bunkai (probably so)
"The Way of Kata" by Lawrence A. Kane and Kris Wilder is an excellent read and certainly was an eye opener when it came to Kata and bunkai,
Hi, (still don't know your name so can't be more specific )
No, Iain isn't from a Shotokan background but having trained with him a number of times I'm not sure that really matters.
Certainly sometimes you can see his Shotokan interpretations are influenced by his own style but at the end of the day (and I'm surprised how many miss this given how much he bangs on about it ) what he is really teaching are principles of combat and body mechanics rather than "applications" to this of that particular kata. The kata he teaches at any particular seminar are just a frame to hang these principles on but unless he changes the kata tour to tour then the technique collectors (the ones who have missed the point) think "we've already done that", which is a shame because most of them never really get it.
Sadly, even giving people the benefit of the doubt, there is an awful lot of bad bunkai on the internet, some of it looking very professional and very exciting (but useless if actual practical skills are your aim). As you say though, it is difficult to take much from anything seen out of context if you can't have the "what if?" sessions during training, this is of as much use (if not more) to the instructor as it is to the students much of the time (just my opinion, obviously).
Don't know if you've seen that Iain and Kris Wilder are doing a joint session in the UK this summer.
Bob Davis "beware of anyone who has all the answers, it's a sign you are just not asking the right questions"
Thanks for the reply Mr Davis. Paul is my first name.
Those are some Excellent points i.e. "what he is really teaching are principles of combat and body mechanics" rather than applications. It's kinda the "Teach a man to Fish" concept of MA. I Like the term Technique collector (Unfortunately I've been guilty of this) I use the principles in the book "The way kata" whenever I teach kata. it's really strong material in breaking down the techniques and strategies.