Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Teachers Profile: Shihan Quentin Frankson

Shihan Quentin Frankson, is a dynamic karate-ka who lives the teachings. His attitude towards karate, his spiritual nature and ability makes him one of the optimum traditional teachers in this modern world. A perfectionist with technique, a lover of kata and skill, and great knowledge beyond just the physical makes him an asset not only for Goshin Kan but to the those who have a thirst for knowledge. He carries himself with self respect and shows great compassion for those who struggle through life and always offers a helping hand to those who cannot meet the challenges in life. A wonderful family man, terrific karate-ka who believes that everything in life has a meaning and a purpose.

Training History, belief and my life

I began learning karate out of the need to protect myself. In Cape Town one Friday night in 1976, my brother and I were attacked by five gangsters. They appeared from nowhere and everything happened so quickly. I was preparing to leave his car with the door ajar when one of them tried to pull me from the car whilst another with a knife stabbed me in both legs. My brother reacted quickly by starting the car and driving off. I retrospect I hate to think of what the result would have been had they succeeded in pulling me from the car.
I began my karate journey with a club that my brother-in-law was training with. The dojo was a modified double garage which belonged to one of the senior students. We learnt Shukukai, a style designed for competition. The techniques that we learnt were linear and the syllabus was limited. The thing that I liked most about the club was the friendliness and sense of community at the club. There I befriended Reevo, a good sportsperson and martial artist. I also met then Shodan Billy Bailie who had been graded in Durban by Kancho Deena Naidu who was a frequent visitor to the dojo. I practised there for two years and did my practise at home which I supplemented by endurance running.
I moved away from the club to take up my first teaching job. There were a few males on the staff and a young teacher by the name of Leonard who had just received his shodan grade with a club that did a style based on Goju Ryu. I joined the local branch of that club and found the same friendly atmosphere and sense of community. This was the first time learning a circular style which I found challenging. I practised for about five years and enjoyed the home sessions with Leonard who assisted me a lot. I met Reevo one day and he was very excited not about the shodan grade that he had received from Kancho Deena Naidu but the knowledge of the art that Kancho had revealed to him and spoke very highly of what a great teacher he was.
We immigrated to Australia in 1990 and I had a ten year break from karate. It was destiny that I was to meet Kancho one day when looking for a self defence teacher for school and this was the beginning of my training with Goshinkan.
After a long absence from karate I found the training a great challenge and having my son and daughter training too assisted me a lot. I found the Goshinkan human values programme to be unique. I find that Kancho’s teachings of techniques are about being practical, efficient and correct.
The senior students were always on hand to offer assistance when it was needed which also helped me a lot. I have found Kancho Deena Naidu to be a very friendly and approachable teacher who will teach techniques that are applicable to your level of readiness. Goshinkan has also taught me that correctness and efficiency of execution of techniques is the way to having effective results.
The art as practised by Goshinkan is not for the elevation of the ego but the development of one’s character. Every student is given equal respect regardless of grade. This is very well modelled by all Goshinkan senior students. The five human values, Peace, Love, Truth, Right Conduct and Non-Violence is a constant reminder of the way to live a proper life. I enjoy Kancho’s lessons because there is always something new to learn and challenge us.
Martial Arts have certainly taught me a lot about the way to live in our ever changing and challenging world. It has taught me to be positive about life and not to be afraid of adversities. I have learnt a lot about refining my character. Karate has also helped to be able to use the limbs equally well on both sides of my body. I also feel more balanced mentally and spiritually too. When I assist students, I enjoy sharing my bit of knowledge with those who have started after me.
I think that the traditional art has an important role to play in the community especially Goshinkan and the human values programme.
Traditional karate to me is my way of life because it develops good health and a sound body, unlike the sport type that can injure the body or even the ego. My aim is to continue training and learning the art because there is so much to learn.
I have been blessed by having caring parents. Dad’s favourite saying was “You are better not doing it if you are not going to do it properly” and Mum’s “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”. Mum also lived a simple life and was always open to helping others, morals worth striving towards.
With a concerted effort, the physical aspect of karate is easily learnt but the constant refinement of one’s character is the greatest challenge. Social interaction should always result in both parties departing feeling winners.

Favourite Kata
To me Kata is the nucleus of martial arts. It is not as can be perceived by some as forms, a dance or a sequence of moves, but important together with the Bunkai in learning the real self defence. It is not the number of Kata that you know or how to perform higher level kata, but how well that you can do the few that you know. The challenge is to develop strong stances, refine techniques and execute them with focus and power. Kata if studied properly has many answers for practical self defence as well as the opportunity to discover the higher levels of the art.
I enjoy the unique challenge that every kata has to offer. The preliminary Taikyoku kata if practised in earnest, they form the perfect foundation for the other Goju Ryu kata. There is no end to the practise of striving to refine all learnt kata. I enjoy them all.

Favourite Technique
Mae Geri and Kin Geri, Ura Uchi and Empi Uchi

Favourite Karate Quote

“Push energy swiftly,
Hold mind calmly,
Move Body lightly,
Keep eyes clearly,
Use technique intensely”
Gogen Yamaguchi Sensei
Favourite Value
Having peace of mind enables us to function effectively. Karate teaches us to have mushin, a mind at peace and free of thought and we can respond to activity around us.
Peace with others is paramount if we are to live harmoniously as a community.

Gogen Sensei Quote

“Karate is the battle against one’s self and the way of one’s life.”
“When you perform kata, the most important thing is your mental attitude.”
“There is no end to the practice of kata.”
“You cannot improve if you always think of about victory.”