Between August 31 and September 1, 2018, the AIKO Romanian Camp seminar, organized by LC Ashihara Budokai Sport Club, led by sensei Cristi Luculescu, took place in Târgu Neamţ, in the polyvalent hall of Ştefan cel Mare National College. At this event attended more than 70 athletes, Shihan Dave Jonkers (founder of the Ashihara International Karate Organisation), Sensei Marcel van den Berg (4 Dan AIKO black belt) and Niels Wilmink, a professional Kickboxing fighter. For the small community in this city, the AIKO Romanian Camp represented a spectacular demonstration, also fueling the interest of Kyokushin, Jujutsu and Enshin-Karate practitioners.
Pentru varianta în limba română, click aici!
On Friday, August 31, starting at 7 PM, athletes of all ages began gathering in the high school courtyard waiting for AIKO leader. We noticed that the number of middle-age people was surprisingly high, this being a pleasant surprise. Eventually, Shihan made his appearance: “I am delighted to be here, in Romania. I already know some of you. I hope that tonight we’ll have a successful training”. Thus, two groups were formed: the first included several athletes who held the grade exam (entrusted to Sensei Marcel van den Berg), and the second, including the rest of the practitioners, under guidance of Sensei Florin Neacșu, who did a general training. The end included “tameshiwari” (breaking wooden boards): “Last part is always spectacular. It’s like fighting: a challenge! If you don’t believe in yourself, you won’t succeed. It’s like in normal life: if you want to succeed in things, you will find a way to achieve them. In school, in work, in all your problems, always make a challenge. Nothing is easy! It builds you and makes you grow. Never avoid challenges and never give up”, said Dave Jonkers.
The message is first train your basic; repeat and improve. For me, being a real fighter means that your basic is good. You can do all kind of things, but if the basics aren’t good, it doesn’t work. It’s very simple! Everything is the same; there is nothing new, only things to improve. I can teach you all kind of tricks, but if you can only do 10%-20% of them, then it’s useless. It’s much better to know a single combination that you can continually improve. You can’t improve if your basics of punching, kicking and moving are like dancing. If your basic of Sabaki doesn’t involve moving, you can’t block. First, learn to make sabaki backward. Once you get more developed, move to the side. And the final step is to move behind the opponent. I’m sure you want to learn lots of new things, but I think most important is to learn how to fight. (Shihan Dave Jonkers)
If on the first day, the training lasted only about 90 minutes, possibly because of the late run time, the Saturday session started in the morning and took about three hours. The athletes were arranged in order of degrees, and after a general warm-up, 45 minutes followed with Shihan Dave Jonkers explaining and practicing AIKO specifics. As teaching methodology, he used the “added stimulus”, meaning starting from simple combinations, to which various techniques were progressively included so that practitioners better perceive their practical applicability. Subsequently, Sensei Marcel van den Berg took the initiative and focused on self-defense, on various methods to escape from surprising attacks, which – becoming automatisms – could successfully help someone in a real situation of physical aggression. Towards the end of the day, several kumite rounds were made. As a peculiarity, the entire AIKO Romanian Camp seminar was closely supervised by Shihan Dave Jonkers; he worked with his own students, correcting their techniques and positioning, explaining why certain things should be done in that way and many other things.
We have the Ashihara system, which differs from other full-contact styles by grappling and throwing. Sabaki isn’t tipical Ashihara-Karate, because means body movement. We have Sabaki in Judo; in Kyokushin we also have body movement. In Ashihara-Karate we call it Sabaki because you go to the side, grab and throw. One thing adapted to the AIKO style is the Goshin system and it means self-defense, being allowed punching to the face and elbow techniques. (Shihan Dave Jonkers)
It was my second interaction with Shihan Dave Jonkers, after the last year interview published here, but the first time I met him in person. For the AK MASTERS blog, such events as AIKO Romanian Camp contribute to the idea of an international community around the Ashihara-Karate style, through which important public figures and passionate people can freely express their opinions.