The Kolkata branch of the Japan Karate Association emerged to be a leading organization to inspire the karate-ka (practitioners of karate) both in India and abroad to study and practice karate from home during the depressing period of Coronavirus pandemic when all dojo (place of training) are closed. “We had realised the importance of introducing webinars to replace dojo training at the very beginning of the complete lockdown in our country in the month of March.
We also had realised that teaching online may not be everybody’s cup of tea and it’s difficult to reach out to a particular segment of the trainees that live in such a location where internet connectivity is volatile. We have discussed the matter and helped out our shidoin (association instructors) with the technical nitty-gritty of conducting karate classes online; such as lesson plans, contents of a lesson, communication skill, positioning the mobile phone, using of webcam, adjusting the correct distance, checking out the trainees in between teachings, keep the trainees interested and going and so on;” said Somnath Palchowdhury Sensei (teacher) to our correspondent. He is the chairman of the JKAWF INDIA Kolkata and a JKA accredited instructor, judge and examiner.
“Our teachings were always been educational in dojo. We have now able to make our sessions more intellectually stimulating by incorporating power point presentations, guidance on proper diet, physical demonstrations and training; all online. Over 70% of our members are attending online webinars regularly whereas others that not able to do so for whatsoever reasons are receiving short video clips of instructors teaching karate moves in correct forms for self-training watching the clips;” added Somnath Sensei.
The proactive activities of the JKAWF INDIA were not left unnoticed by the global leaders of karate and Somnath Palchowdhury Sensei and Dibyendu Mandal Sensei were approached by the admins of Karate@Home the world’s largest online karate learning platform to teach its global audience live. The group is providing online coaching by the world’s renowned Japanese and non-Japanese karate teachers, world champions and upcoming karate coaches through live webinars, recorded teaching videos on YouTube channel and Instagram. To date hundreds of thousands of karate-ka in over 100 countries are learning and getting inspired by this initiative. “Everyone involved in this group is doing this noble job for free. This is a non-profit platform created by Martin Buchstaller Sensei and Nadja Korner Sensei both senior members of JKA Germany in last March during the beginning of complete lockdown in many countries;” said Somnath Sensei with great reverence. Until now Somnath Sensei has conducted two live classes in Karate@Home while Dibyendu Sensei, a 4th Dan JKA black belt a JKA accredited instructor, M.Sc in Zoology, a pass out of Presidency College and Bachelor of Education, an international karate champion has conducted one live session that received a huge global appreciation.
With the due approval of the Japan Karate Association, headquartered in Tokyo the JKAWF INDIA Kolkata has started conducting online karate examinations for the promotions of various kyu ranks (coloured belts) and also hosting charitable webinars. “The fund raised from such paid webinars will be utilised to support some of the karate enthusiasts and teachers that are passing through severe economic crisis due to complete lockdown in our country;” said Somnath Sensei.
The Japan Karate Association (Nihon Karate Kyokai; JKA) is the most influential Shotokan karate organisations in the world. It is also one of the oldest (Established in November 1948) and most prestigious karate organisations in the world that continuously in operation till date with a vast membership in over 140 countries. Recognised heir to the Shotokan karate tradition, it is the only legal karate entity officially approved by the Japanese government as a Public Interest Incorporated Association (KōekiShadanhōjin) for the promotion of karate, and granted a tax-free status in Japan. There is only one other authorised entity which falls under the umbrella of the JKA: the JKA World Federation (JKAWF; No other organisation shares this status. More importantly, the JKA is the preserver of the soul and spirit of the art of ‘kokufu-bunka-karate-do’, karate based on the ancient Japanese tradition of bushido (the way of the samurai). The JKA was the organisation that drafted the karate competitive rules and staged the first ever karate tournament in 1957 in Tokyo and now about to take its entry as a competitive sport in Tokyo Olympics next year.
Somnath Palchowdhury Sensei was born in Ranaghat, a suburban town of West Bengal in 1968, a graduate in commerce, took up karate in the early 1983.Prior to that he was practicing Judo for a while. In his career Somnath Sensei has trained under the top masters of the art that include Nishiyama, Kanazawa, Shirai, Abe, Ueki, Ochi, Oishi, Kawasoe, Omura, Mori, Kawawada, Ogura, Imamura, Shiina, Naka and so on; besides many bests of the Europe during his visits and stays in UK, Japan and Thailand. As a teacher and leader Somnath Sensei hosted many of the masters in India to conduct karate workshops since 1993, staged tournaments and leaded teams in international events. “Our association instructors are now well prepared to venture the next level of karate teachings using audio visual materials, live streaming and project karate as a highly demanding martial science based on ancient Japanese martial arts;” concluded Somnath Sensei.