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Black Sash Workshop 2009 Report


The first Lau Gar Black Sash workshop led by Master Jeremy Yau took place on Sunday 19th April 2009. The workshop was booked out within days of being announced and was pronounced a huge success by the lucky first forty five students to sign up. It was hailed as an excellent opportunity to prepare for the next grading and deepen knowledge of the advanced Lau Gar syllabus.

Master Yau put the students through their paces covering sets from first degree through to fifth. Jason Crabtree also had the opportunity to demonstrate a set of movements that he is creating for his sixth degree. He was rewarded with individual feedback from Master Yau.

The workshop format ensured that all participants were active and working in their groups throughout the day with able instruction and assistant from the Guardians. Master Yau provided a Master class to each group in turn, beginning with Fifth Degree. Since only one student attended in this group he had forty minutes of individual tuition. Jim Cairns of Edinburgh said that

 “after thirty three years of training this experience stood out in a class of it’s own. When I look at Master Yau and the Guardians here today I realise what a lot there still is to learn and what an excellent opportunity this is.”

But Jim was not the only one who had travelled a long way. Simon Camm (third degree black sash) had flown in especially from Poland where he lives with his family, just to take part.
The students prepared questions for Master Yau as they worked and alongside technical issues the underlying principles were revealed as the day progressed. Students were told of the coordination of mind and body and this was explained using stories to illustrate as well as practical demonstration. Nick Stew of the Worcester club was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a demonstration by Master Yau of how to do a palm strike the correct way. Nick was impressed with the power and strength of the movement! Master Yau also showed the link between breathing and stance. The principles revealed in this workshop could be applied across the whole syllabus. A recurring theme across the classes was the danger of over-reaching. This is a particularly dangerous error when you have a weapon in your hand as it actually makes you vulnerable. Students were also warned of the danger of hiding behind their weapon becoming cramped and restricted and hence less powerful as they executed technique.

Overall the workshop was heralded as a great success by all who attended. We wish luck to those going for their gradings soon when they can really show Master Yau how they have incorporated what they have learned into their training. We would like to thank Master Yau for leading the day and the Guardians for organising it. Remember if you are interested in participating next year watch out for details on the website and get your name down early as places are very limited.                                                

By Morag Quirk and Rash Patel

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