Roberto Danubio Sensei's Seminar for Instructors

Teaching and training are not the same things. Nevertheless, usually karate seminars are indiscriminately addressed to both practitioners and instructors. Nothing’s wrong with them, let’s make it clear. Mixing up people with different skills and roles gives them the chance to compare each other and share certainties and doubts, favoring a faster growth in those who are usually students and a greater awareness of who usually teaches. But just let’s think of a seminar devoted solely to the instructors, a class designed by a specialist to be addressed to specialists, from a coach to coaches who share the task of teaching karate and transmit their knowledge and experience. Wouldn’t it be desirable? Wouldn’t it be useful?

Roberto Danubio sensei, 7th dan JKF Wadokai, must have thought it would be both. Therefore, he designed a three-days training tailor-made for karate teachers. And after attending it I can assure you he was absolutely right.

The Danubio’s International Wado-Kai Karate Seminar for Instructors was held in Dublin from September 29 to October 1, and it has been a wonderful weekend of karate, friendship and conviviality. But let’s start from the beginning.

I landed in Dublin on Friday 29, together with six other friends and colleagues of mine from WKSI – Wadokai Karatedo Shin-Gi-Tai Italia, the Italian branch of the Japan Karate-do Federation Wado-Kai, and we immediately found out that the hotel we had been accommodated was simply magnificent: an immense and picturesque Country Club in the vivid-green Irish countryside, twenty minutes from the centre of Dublin. Wow. It was also nice to find out that all the other participants were accommodated in the same hotel. We already knew some of them, but it was great to get acquainted with so many new karate friends from all over Europe. Anyway, we just had the time to bring our suitcases to the rooms and wear our dogis before the seminar began.

Our host was Jimmy Harte, JKF Wadokai karate instructor and person of rare attention and kindness. On the tatami mat there was instructors from Austria, Belgium, England, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and, obviously, Ireland. If it depended on karate, Europe would be united without the need for treaties and currencies. Maybe the entire world would.

As usual, the Roberto Danubio’s trainings are someway rough but pristine, strenuous but energizing. And as usual he started from the very basic: the kihon. It seems that in the Danubio’s idea of karate, kihon exercises are far to be seen as beginners’ stuff. A good translation for kihon may be “fundamental”, but in the West it is often translated with the quite misleading words “basic” and “elementary”. Some might think that, since they are elementary things, then they’re good for beginners but not worthy of interest for a senior black belt. Mr. Danubio clearly said us that this way of thinking is wrong, full stop. “Kihon are the foundation of one’s karate building”, he said. “If they’re good and strong, the building will be steady, stable and high. Otherwise, it will collapse under its own weight, sooner or later”. This is not a karate prerogative, anyway: also the professional NBA players practice dribbling, passing, free throws and jump shots during every training session to maintain and develop the more complex skills needed for a basketball game. Therefore, we spent a pretty lot of time training sonoba tsuki, sonoba uke and sonoba keri, focusing on hikite, hikiashi, hips rotation, knees flexion, retroflexion of the pelvis and balance. And it was great. It’s been amazing for me to realize how many things that I’ve taken for granted are not at all.

Following the same idea, Danubio sensei insisted a lot on the Wado-Kai Ido Kihon (junzuki, gyakuzuki, kette junzuki, kette gyakuzuki, junzuki no tsukkomi, gyakuzuki no tsukkomi, kette junzuki no tsukkomi, kette gyakuzuky no tsukkomi, tobikomi tsuki, nagashi tsuki) and Pinan Katas. Obviously, during the three days we also practiced upper katas, but the main focus remained on kihon and Pinans. I’m going to spend some words about this attitude.

Many of the black belts I know are constantly looking for new techniques to learn and are generally only interested in the practice of the upper katas. I’m not criticizing this attitude and I don’t mean that they’re wrong: it is right for anyone to act as he likes. But let’s think what the task of a karate master is, and what are the things he has to teach his students just to let them become solid karatekas. Let’s think of the quality of the karate building of his students. And inevitably we’ll have to admit that a seminar for instructors should focus mainly on the fundamentals.

But by designing this seminar Danubio sensei did not limit himself to that. He has set it as an opportunity for sharing and comparing each other, actively involving all the participating instructors in the workshop. All of us, in turn, have been called up to express our own point of view on a technique, an explanation, an interpretation and so on. And this made the seminar even more engaging and interesting.

If you’ve been practicing karate for twenty or maybe thirty years and you are not a karate master, well, maybe something is wrong with your karate”, said Danubio during a little break. “Having students is important, because is our opportunity to give back what we’ve received from our masters. It is our opportunity to contribute to the tradition. Listen: tradition doesn’t mean you must be the copy of your masters: tradition is walking on the path, but also going further on the path. This is our job. And let’s do it through practice and facts, not just words. This is the way the Budo works”.

When I finally took off, at the end of the third day, I was loaded with a lot of new stuff (fortunately nothing that needed a further suitcase). I have brought home new awareness, new skills, new details, new interpretations, new applications, new exercises. But above all, new desire. Desire to go back to study, to go back to practice, to go back to Budo. To go back to my students and share all these wonderful things with them.

Thank you, Roberto Danubio sensei. Very good job, as usual. See you soon at the next seminar.


The Italian Delegation to the International Wado-Kai Karate Seminar for Instructors with Roberto Danubio sensei, 7th dan JKF Wadokai – Dublin, from September 29 to October 1 2017

Results - Rene Smaal International Cup 2016

Kata - Male Under 8
Place Name Club
1st Eoin Crawford 3 Rivers
2nd Alfi Gough INSK
3rd 3rd Brodie Hannigan 3 Rivers
3rd Sean Mc Gee ASKI
Kata - Male Under 10
1st Vlad Bunduchi WKFI
2nd Danius Mika INSK
3rd Steven Moylan ASKI
3rd Lee Anscough Karate Ash
Kata - Male Under 12
1st Ciaran Crawford 3 Rivers
2nd Luke McGee ASKI
3rd Caoimhin Brennan Karate Ash
3rd Adam Rooney NIKW, NIR
Kata - Male Under 14
1st Aiden Dunleavy MASK
2nd Danny Byrne WIKF
3rd Jack Donaghy Strabane
3rd Ryan Doherty 3 Rivers
Kata - Male Under 16
1st Hugh Connolly WSKF
2nd Lee Kelly WSKF
3rd Tiernan McCabe IWKR
3rd James Renehan WSKF
Kata - Male Under 18
1st Cian Hogan ASKI
2nd James Lynskey MASK
3rd Niall Dunne IKKU
3rd Ryan McEvoy WIKF, NIR
Kata - Male Senior
1st Kevin Dunne IKKU
2nd David Coughlan NIKW, NIR
3rd Eamonn Yore Kells Karate
3rd David O'Donnell IWKR
Kata - Female Under 8
1st Asha Reen WSKF
2nd Blathnaid Deasy ASKI
3rd Maddison Murphy INSK
3rd Hannah Brennan Karate Ash
Kata - Female Under 10
1st Lola Short WSKF
2nd Lilly Sheehan WIKF
3rd Sadhb Hayes WIKF
3rd Gabreilla Lunghu INSK
Kata - Female Under 12
1st Sadhbh O'Brien WKFI
2nd Natasha Doherty 3 Rivers
3rd Keera Flatley MASK
3rd Katlyn Dunleavy MASK
Kata - Female Under 14
1st Lana Biesty MASK
2nd Rachael Slevin WSKF
3rd Neve Ewing CEK Scot
3rd Jamie Lee Simpson 3 Rivers
Kata - Female Under 16
1st Alannah Twohig Pilltown
2nd Eimear Faulkner WIKF
3rd Simone McGoona WKFI
Kata - Female Under 18
1st Darbyanh Heenan Team Canada
2nd Rose Byrne WIKF
3rd Samatha Cashman WIKF
3rd Meabh McCullough ASKI
Kata - Female Senior
1st Estefy Sanz WKFI
2nd Leona McFadden Kells Karate
3rd Kerri Gaffney WSKF
3rd Jackie Gray WSKF
Kumite Special Category
Place Name Club
1st Darragh Taaffe WKFI
2nd Kealan Pardy WKFI
Male Under 7 Kumite Novice 10,9,8 Kyu
1st Eoin Crawford 3 Rivers
2nd Sean McGee ASKI
3rd Alfie Gough INSK
3rd Killian Bergin MSKG
Female Under 7 Kumite Novice 10,9,8 Kyu
1st Maia Ewing CEK Scot
2nd Emma Barret MSKG
3rd JJ O'Leary WKFI
3rd Faye Brown MSKG
Male Under 8 Kumite Novice 10,9,8 Kyu
1st Brodie Hannigan 3 Rivers
2nd James Moran IWKR
3rd James McGilloway WKFI
3rd Cameroon Reddy INSK
Male Under 8 Kumite
1st Alex Hayes WIKF
2nd Kyle Martin Dolmen Karate
3rd John Lawlor WIKF
3rd Callum Martin Dolmen
Female Under 8 Kumite Novice 10,9,8th Kyu
1st Maia Ewing CEK Scot
2nd Naoise Bailey WKFI
3rd JJ O'Leary WIKF
Female Under 8 Kumite
1st Maia Ewing CEK Scot
2nd Naoise Bailey WKFI
3rd Aoife Peppard MSKG
3rd Madison Murphy INSK
Female Under 10 Kumite Novice 10,9,8 Kyu
1st Marsi Uwaeme WKFI
2nd Isobella McCabe IWKF
3rd Grace Quinn WSKF
3rd Katie McGee ASKI
Male Under 10 Kumite Novice 10,9,8 Kyu
1st John Deasy ASKI
2nd Steven Moylan ASKI
3rd Mark Doherty 3 Rivers
3rd Daniel Lunghu INSK
Male Under 10-11 Kumite
1st Ciaran Crawford 3 Rivers
2nd Adam Rooney NIKW NIR
3rd Luke Kane MSKG
3rd Daragh O'Murchu MSKG
Female Under 10 Kumite
1st Lucy Mulhern IKKU
2nd Lily Sheeran WIKG
3rd Aoife NiFheargil Zanshin
3rd Kerry Gallagher Karate Ash
Male Under 10 Kumite
1st Fintan O'Murchu MSKG
2nd Ross Dougan NIKW NIR
3rd Aidan Quinn WSKF
3rd Sean Traynor WSKF
Female Under 12 Kumite
1st Natasha Doherty 3 Rivers
2nd Sadhbh O'Brien WKFI
3rd Orla Dillon Zanshin
3rd Ava Clare WSKF
Female Under 14 Kumite
1st Rachel Murphy IKKU
2nd Jamie Lee Simpson 3 Rivers
3rd Neve Ewing CEK Scot
3rd Lana Kaewborisut Rene-Smaal Karate
Male Under 14 Kumite
1st Justin Kaeborisut Rene-Smaal Karate
2nd Hiue Power IKKU
3rd David Gannon WSKF
3rd Aidan Dunleavy MASK
Female Cadets Kumite +54Kgs
1st Shannon Nulty WKFI
2nd Rachel Murphy IKKU
3rd Shauna Kelly Kilnamanagh
3rd Jessica Cotter IKKU
Female Cadets Kumite -54Kgs
1st Seren Jackson Welsh Karate Kai
2nd Jessis O'Reilly IKKU
3rd Katie Mulhern IKKU
3rd Simone McGonna WKFI
Male Cadets Kumite -70Kgs
1st Sean McCarthy IKKU
2nd Chris McCarthy IKKU
3rd Patrick Farrington WSKF
3rd Conor O'Shea Pilltown
Male Cadets Kumite -52Kgs
1st David Crilly MSKG
2nd Reece McCabe Welsh Karate Kai
3rd Craig Farrell MSKG
3rd Damon Kaewborisut Rene-Smaal Karate
Female Kumite Junior 16-17 -59Kgs
1st Jekatarins Susko IKKU
2nd Darbyanh Heenan Team Canada
3rd Shannon Nulty WKFI
3rd Shauna Kelly Kilnamanagh
Male Kumite Junior -68Kgs
1st Ryan Shields MSKG
2nd Ruadri Collins IKKU
3rd Cian Hogan ASKI
Female Kumite Junior +59Kgs
1st Lauren Hayward Welsh Karate Kai
2nd Meadbh McCullough ASKI
Male Junior Kumite -61Kgs
1st Niall Dunne IKKU
2nd Peter O'Connell WSKF
3rd Padraig Hassett ASKI
3rd Conor Sullivan WSKF
Male Junior Kumite +76Kgs
1st Conal Geoghan WIKF
2nd James Lynskey MASK
3rd Robin Rooyackers Rene-Smaal Karate
Senior Female Kumite -68Kgs
1st Estefy Sanz WKFI
2nd Geri Friel Strabane Shotokan
3rd Linde Van Verre Rene-Smaal Karate
3rd Claire Heller INSK
Senior Female Kumite -55Kgs
1st Samantha Scott Welsh Karate Kai
2nd Shauna Mullaney MASK
3rd Jackie Gray WSKF
3rd Daphne De Rooy Rene-Smaal Karate
Senior Male Kumite -67Kgs
1st James McFadden Strabane Shotokan
2nd Kevin Dunne IKKU
3rd Rory Kavanagh WIKK, NIr
3rd Mark Kenny Strabane Shotokan
Senior Male Kumite -75Kgs
1st Brian Vonken Rene Smaal Karate
2nd David O'Donnell IWKR
3rd Dylan Rycroft WKFI
3rd Martin Bellod NIKW, NIr
Male Kumite Veterans
1st Eamon Yore Kells Karate
2nd Keith O'Reilly WKFI
3rd Peter Gartland WKFI
3rd Mana Kaewborisut WKFI
Senior Open Male Kumite
1st Rory Kavanagh WIKF, NIr
2nd Aaron Dwyer MSKG
3rd Martin Bellod NIKW, NIr
3rd David Coghlan NIKW, NIr
Senior Open Female Kumite
1st Samantha Scott Welsh Karate Kai
2nd Lauren Hayward Welsh Karate Kai
3rd Estefy Sanz WKFI
3rd Jekaterina Susko IKKU
Cadets Open Kumite
1st Shannon Nulty WKFI
2nd Ayla O'Sullivan IKKU
3rd Shauna O'Reilly IKKU
3rd Rachel Murphy IKKU
Medals Chart
Club Gold Silver Bronze
WKFI 8 5 9
IKKU 6 7 6
3 Rivers 6 2 4
Welsh Karate Kai 4 2 0
WSKF 3 3 11
MSKG 3 2 6
Cek-Scot 3 0 2
ASKI 2 5 6
WIKF 2 5 3
MASK 2 3 3
Rene-Smaal Karate 2 0 6
Strabane Shotokan 1 1 2
Kells Karate 1 1 1
Team Canada 1 1 0
WIKF NIR 1 0 2
Pilltown Karate 1 0 1
NIKW NIR 0 3 4
INSK 0 2 7
IWKR 0 2 2
IWKF 0 2 0
Dolmen Karate 0 1 1
Karate Ash 0 0 4
Kilnamanagh 0 0 2
Zanshin 0 0 2

National Gold for Navan Girl

Sadhbh O’Brien brought home gold from the All Ireland All Styles National Karate Championships in Dublin last week. Sadhbh, from Navan came first in the girls under 10 kumite (fighting) competition at the under 30kg section. Coach Adrian Collender of Meath Karate and Body Trim Fitness in Beechmount Home Park, who has trained Sadhbh since March 2012 also had success with bronze medals for two of his other students in Vlad Bunduchi under 10 boys and Caelan O’Brien, Sadhbhs younger brother, under 8 boys. Luke Victory was narrowly beaten in the early rounds by the eventual champion.

Next month Sadhbh will travel to compete in the Belgian Open along with Vlad Bunduchi and Luke Victory from Meath Karate Club.


Sadhbh Wins Bronze in Belgium