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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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A few weeks ago I received a 2 DVD set which was produced by American JKA Karate- Association International. The footage was collected from the well-documented AJKA Instructor Camp, which is taught by Leslie Safar 9th Dan and Edmond Otis 7th Dan.


Since we had interviewed both these inspirational Karateka in the past, we were very eager to see further footage of them both.


The first disk contains footage from the seminars taught by Senseis Safar and Otis, while the second contains footage of the competition held during the camp.


Many national and international groups hold their own version of an ‘Instructor Course’ and from so many documents from the last forty years, reports from the JKA Instructor Course for example have had so many students around the world fascinated. The AJKA Instructor Course has been said to produce ‘total instructors’. When we asked Sensei Safar about this in a recent interview he said One of the misconceptions was that only the US has good karate, and I have found to my surprise that a great bunch of good karate people here in Europe. To quote Sensei Nakayama, ‘Learn to learn from your students’. Karate is a lifetime undertaking so I try to learn everyday from everything’.


This DVD follows the seminars taught during this Instructor Camp held in Zalaszentrot Hungary 2007 along with personal footage too.


I am a big fan of these documentary type DVDs that provide footage of the instructors teaching within their normal setting (a dojo). Sometimes footage from a room with no students can lead to a great amount of information being imparted but you don’t get a real glimpse of their characters as teachers, and since this DVD follows the Instructor Camp I thought it was fitting to watch the teachers teach the student.


What this also does, for those of us unlucky enough to not be able to attend the camp, it provides the feeling of actually being there and experiencing it with the students. For me this is a great way to view such karate DVDs.


From an educational point of view, this DVD contains some excellent footage of the teachers for example talking about the importance of timing. Edmond Otis goes on to explain the differences between reaction timing and rhythm timing. This is very interesting indeed and he also makes some very interesting points about contraction and expansion of the body, relating the body’s natural reaction to a bomb exploding.


Watching this footage you get a very real sense of the passion and enthusiasm these teachers have to not only teach karate but to nurture and develop top quality instructors. The Seminars are not solely built around the idea of teaching the students about karate, but also about teaching the student instructors how to teach karate.


While at times the sound can be a little quiet, turning the volume up sorts that out. The only other thing that slows the pace of the DVD is the translation. Since some of the Seminars are taught by Edmond Otis for example, who is an English speaker teaching in Hungary, with other European nations in attendance, there are two translators talking in between his sentences. To be honest however, this is not too much of a problem and the flow of the DVD is not broken up too much.


The DVD, which has two hours of footage of the Seminars, does not just contain footage of the Seminars. In actual fact there is footage of a dinner meal and a gypsy wedding, which took place during the trip, and seeing these World Famous Instructor’s in their normal life is quite refreshing. This also adds a real ‘family video’ feel to the DVD and really does help engage the audience.


I thoroughly enjoyed this DVD, I thought it was highly refreshing and of educational value. Although the sound at times can be a little quiet, this really does not have too bad an affect on the quality of the DVD and I really do feel it is worth a watch.


Shaun Banfield