Saturday, April 18, 2009

EKP Certification with Hidy Ochiai

On Thursday April 16, 2009, myself and thirty five other SUNY Cortland Self Defense and Martial Arts Physical Education Students participated in the Educational Karate Program (EKP) Certification Workshop. Each student was going for certification in EKP so that one day we could teach the progam to students in the public schools system. The workshop was run by the EKP Institute with Master Hidy Ochiai instructing it himself. Although a little nervous, I was very excited to begin...

As we entered the front dance/self-defense studio in Park Center, everyone was standing around waiting for the workshop to begin at 6pm. As start time approached, we were briefed on the history and philosophy of the EKP Institute and what to expect in the workshop and beyond that. Master Ochiai then took center stage and spoke very briefly before jumping right into the workshop.

The material covered during the workshop was much of what we had learned in our self-defense classes. Master Ochiai covered all of the situational sef-defense techniques as well as katas including sho-dan, sho-dan hidari, and ni-dan. For all of the technique review and assessment, we were divided into three groups and paired with a partner. Each group had two EKP Instructors working with them to ensure all concepts were understood and mastery was apparent. In the groups, we covered all techniques as well as kicks and blocks with the use of focus pads to simulate an attack. For each kata, all participants went at the same time facing the front of the room. Katas were repeated numerous times being led by Master Ochiai and each of the EKP Instructors. Between each session with our groups, Master Ochiai would call us all together and give a brief description on what we were going to do and any modifications that could be added to it to make the technique simpler for little children. These brief lectures were also very informative as he gave short stories and tips on how to improve. Following the conclusion of the workshop, we all received our interm certification as EKP Instructors from Master Ochiai. After a quick debrief and picture with Master Ochiai, we completed the workshop.

When I first began PED 284: Self-Defense this semester, I didn't really understand or appriciate the material that much. My instructor, Colleen Buchanan, emphasized the importance of the program and displayed a passion for the material and its concepts. It wasn't until I attended this workshop that I realized everything she had been telling us was true. It's not until you actually meet Master Ochiai in person do you realize the power and importance of EKP. I took in everything that he said during the workshop and learned so many new things I had never known. He is truly an amazing man. For example, there was a part of the workshop when he was speaking of the character education. He would take the confidence steps and shout what the children should think; I am Important. Strong. Gentle. NonViolent. Good. This was a powerful moment to me. It was this demonstration where I realized the importance of EKP and my desire to teach it to young children in the school as well as my mother and sister. Master Ochiai is truly passionate about his beliefs and ideas and I truly have never met a person who had a faster impact on me before him.

I am very happy that I attended this workshop and learned so much from it. Master Ochiai is a truly amazing man and I recommend EKP Certification to everyone who can take it at SUNY Cortland. I cannot wait to attend the refresher course next spring!

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