Olaf in Kalletal — Visit from the Sensei

It’s right befo­re Christ­mas. What could be more natu­ral than to give yours­elf a pre­sent during this time? I did. Name­ly with an invi­ta­ti­on to Olaf Bock to come to a semi­nar at the small Kal­le­tal. And he came!

Actual­ly, Sen­sei Olaf has the gyp­sy life of the mar­ti­al arts tea­chers over. “I don’t want to spend my wee­kends dabb­ling in world histo­ry and semi­nars.” For many years, the Kem­po mas­ter was active at home and abroad to bring his idea of Kem­po and his know­ledge to men and women or to take care of the deve­lop­ment of sui­ta­ble orga­ni­za­ti­ons.
Obvious­ly he could not resist my charm. ? So he actual­ly stood in our small hall in Hohen­hau­sen on a win­te­ry Satur­day at noon. Wit­hout rein­de­er and par­cels, but with lights in his eyes and an obvious desi­re to teach.

I was par­ti­cu­lar­ly plea­sed with the encou­ra­ge­ment from Kem­po­ka, becau­se at the same time belt exami­na­ti­ons were taking place in the Sei­bu­kan, which cer­tain­ly pre­ven­ted the majo­ri­ty of tho­se inte­rested from par­ti­ci­pa­ting. Stu­pid appoint­ment situa­ti­on, but unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly impos­si­ble to pre­vent just befo­re Christ­mas.

But besi­des the direct stu­dents of Olaf, i.e. Tho­mas and Tho­mas from Bad Bent­heim and mys­elf, my silat tea­cher Niki, my part­ner Andre­as, my stu­dent Klaus and Kem­po­ka from Schie­der and Bie­le­feld were also pre­sent. A small, fine and almost exclu­si­ve­ly black-bel­ted trou­pe, who could shi­ne with a lot of exper­ti­se them­sel­ves.

Olaf began as Olaf always begins: ele­men­ta­ry school. And whoever thinks that I am the only one who some­ti­mes finds it dif­fi­cult to per­form a la Sho­rin Kem­po Ryu — hihi, I’m not! Olaf had a lot to do, a lot to exp­lain and to cor­rect again and again. And not only with me, but also with my col­leagues to the left and right of me.

While this is now a wel­co­me detail work for me, which brings me much fur­ther, I was curious about the reac­tion of the other Kem­po­ka. But out of the cor­ners of my eyes I only saw bright eyes and inqui­si­ti­ve faces. Was it becau­se of Olaf Bock’s cha­ris­ma, his sover­eig­n­ty or the spi­rit of our trou­pe? In any case, even pro­ven experts were cor­rec­ted and poin­ted out alle­ged incor­rect pos­tu­res or posi­ti­ons. Anything but the usu­al, becau­se hig­her gra­dua­tes in par­ti­cu­lar are often no lon­ger pre­pa­red to accept new influ­en­ces. But the par­ti­ci­pants of our semi­nar were not here to show the belt, but to real­ly learn.

The Long Kuen

This con­ti­nued with the fol­lo­wing units. Much to my plea­su­re, Olaf with the Long Kuen packed the next pre­sent under our ima­gi­na­ry mar­ti­al arts fir tree. In Lung Chuan Fa we know the kata as “1st mas­ter form”. Non­sen­se, accord­ing to Olaf. Mas­ter forms never exis­ted in clas­si­cal Shao­lin Kem­po. The Long Kuen is a sword form for but­ter­fly swords. As prac­tice, it was run unar­med. And so it deve­lo­ped a life of its own, beca­me its own “mas­ter form”. Howe­ver, in many cases it was hea­vi­ly modi­fied and sim­pli­fied.
So let’s get to the good part. Sin­ce the Lung Chuan Fa-Kem­po­ka are fami­li­ar with the form, we could con­cen­tra­te on the details. The hand posi­ti­on, the lif­ting and lowe­ring, the breat­hing and the posi­ti­on of the pel­vis in par­ti­cu­lar are important ele­ments that real­ly make the Long Kuen stand out. Plus chan­ge of pace. In order to real­ly “mas­ter” this form, some drops of sweat will have to flow.
We left the sabers out com­ple­te­ly, becau­se with the hea­vy axes the form chan­ges again and beco­mes even more dif­fi­cult for tho­se who have not yet prac­ticed sai or but­ter­fly swords.
Over and over again we ran the form. The tem­pe­ra­tu­re in the hall increa­sed con­ti­nuous­ly. “The­re is no break”, Olaf grin­ned. And again, and again. But ever­yo­ne held out.

The Ch’uan Fa

Then to be hap­py about the next cand­le on the tree, name­ly the Ch’uan Fa Kuen. The second of the clas­sic Shao­lin Kem­po Kata is much lon­ger and a who­le lot more chal­len­ging in terms of tech­ni­que than the still qui­te short Long Kuen. Several sin­gle com­pon­ents of it are taken up in the Lung Chuan Fa in our “4th TaiTs­uku”, but nume­rous other ele­ments were unknown to us.
Been, becau­se Olaf first led us step by step through the Kata, in order to let us prac­tice it gra­dual­ly with expres­si­on, chan­ging tem­pi and tension/relaxation pas­sa­ges.
The Ch’uan Fa is real­ly a board, becau­se it com­bi­nes qui­te a few of the Shao­lin Kem­po princi­ples. Chan­ging stan­ce heights are actual­ly frow­ned upon in clas­si­cal Sho­to­kan Kara­te, but in Kem­po inspi­red by Chi­ne­se Kun­tao they are expli­citly requi­red. In addi­ti­on, the wide tur­ning in when the punch is made, or the back and forth of the upper body in defen­se and attack. The­re are many things we are unac­custo­med to and have to learn anew.
What inspi­res me is the clo­sed tea­ching sys­tem, which is reflec­ted in the forms. Ever­ything has hand and foot (also in the figu­ra­ti­ve sen­se), not­hing seems to be put on or sea­led to it. Pati­ent­ly Olaf exp­lai­ned ques­ti­ons, skil­ful­ly he illus­tra­ted the mea­ning of this defen­se or that attack.
After a good two hours final­ly a short break. It was necessa­ry, but short. Becau­se after ano­t­her round of Long Kuen and Ch’uan Fa we went to the long pole. In Japa­ne­se Bo, cal­led Gun in Chi­ne­se. Olaf brief­ly exp­lai­ned the struc­tu­re of the tea­ching sys­tem in Shao­lin Kem­po. Five sin­gle Kata, which actual­ly belong to a total form and were only divi­ded into six parts for tea­ching rea­sons. In addi­ti­on ten Bo-Kum­i­te, i.e. part­ner exer­ci­ses with arran­ged attacks and defence.

The 1st Bo-Kata

Then it went to the first of the­se Bo-Kata. And also here, whe­re we actual­ly prac­ticed in the Lung Chuan Fa, it was again about details and exe­cu­ti­ons, which are new for us, com­bi­ned with sequen­ces, which were unknown to us. Impres­si­ve, with which loo­seness Olaf hand­les the Bo. The mas­ter is not the kind of Important Important, who cha­ses his stu­dents with a big bel­ly, but with enthu­si­asm and ver­ve.
After a good three and a half hours, Olaf Bock pre­sen­ted his gifts. Tho­mas Kuclo pre­sen­ted the remai­ning four Bo-Kata at the end, Olaf him­s­elf gave a pre­view of the hal­berd form he taught, and then we were done. And inspi­red. Becau­se what comes after the pres­ents? Right: the unpacking. And the lon­ger you have to deal with it, the more beau­ti­ful the pres­ents are. It will take mon­ths to pro­cess all the details.
On this note, many thanks to Olaf Bock. And many thanks to the par­ti­ci­pants of the semi­nar, becau­se unpacking alo­ne is much less fun!

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