Kintaro Yamamoto, 4th Dan (from Tenri University) and Corrado Croceri, 6th Dan, put the attendees through their paces.Kintaro Yamamoto durante il Judo Summer Camp Sarnano 2013

Welcome to the morning of the third day of the 6th International Judo Summer Camp.

And it’s time for the young Kintaro Yamamoto, 4th Dan, graduate student at the University of Tenri and who has been in Europe for some months now.

This “youngster” is quite quiet and seems quite shy too – in fact the typical young student in his first year in the role of “Kohai”. To better explain, “Kohai” is the youngest student who obeys and takes care of any and every necessity during University life.

There are still certain “hazing” events in Japan which, whilst being quite different from our own military service, can appear – to us – to be closer to the school ground bullying that we know.

The “Kohai” in Japan is always the youngest student and the first year student chosen by the “Sempai”  – student at least a year older.

The “Kohai” must never relax and must be attentive to everything that his “Sempai” might need. The “Sempai”, on the other hand,  must, in some way, provide for his “Kohai”, protecting him and teaching him both how to behave and how to manage the various situations in which he will find himself in later life.

Today is the third day of the event and Kintaro Yamamoto takes the reins in the lesson at 7am. He immediately loses that shyness and starts with gritty determination to present his techniques.

The topic is “Hairi kata” or ways to enter “Osae waza” (immobilisation on the floor). This time he present attacks to turn “Uke” over from a position on all fours. His calmness and words perfect for the chosen theme.

Kintaro, then moved onto a didactic progression and a series of very interesting and incredibly real variations to the problems that often arise when doing floor work.

“Bravo” is the word we’d use to describe this young man on his first outing to the West.

For the 10am lesson, it was the turn of Judo Master Corrado Croceri “Deus Ex Machina” for this Italian event which goes from strength to strength, year after year.

The theme chosen by Judo Master C. Croceri was the techniques of “Ashi waza” (leg techniques) and he began with the usual Tandoku renshu to then develop all the possible variations on the subject.

The study in pairs proposed by the Master covered two different ways to do “Tsubami gaeshi” and then continued to broaden the discussion be including moving laterally and how to create acceleration and then to execute techniques such as “Okuri ashi harai” or “Hane goshi/Uchimata”.

The Master then suggested variations on the theme of an attack by “Hane goshi/Uchimata” and, when Uke defends himself, to execute a combination with “Hiza guruma” or “Sasae tsurikomi ashi”.

At the end of this very interesting study, we passed onto an exercise of applying the lessons covered (Yaku soku geiko) which was then topped off by a session of Randori.

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