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Kokushikan RG Team

2016/07/13 AM 12:36

I visited Kokushikan RG team on April 9th, 2016. They were working on new team routine.


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Their coach, Kotaro Yamada (center in the above picture) was watching them repeat flips and other movements sitting in his chair, but very often got up and went to the gymnasts and discussed very small details with them, which I hardly noticed. He sometimes asked for opinions from S. Oshita (left), a former captain who led the team to win back "All Japan Championships" title in 2008 and now a coach of Kokushikan Highschool RG team, and T. Saito, two-times champion of "All Japan" and now a graduate student of Kokushikan. I had an impression that this team was very agile and efficient. Their practice went like this:


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“Let’s try this pattern of flips”, says Kotaro Yamada. The six gymnasts do the complicated combination of flips. “Ummm… could you recognize the movement?” Yamada asks to Y. Ichinohe, who is taking the video of gymnasts. Then everyone watches the iPad screen with such a serious look, and exchanges their opinions freely regardless of their age and order in hierarchy.


In this way, their movements changed very slowly, but got better and better. I heard that Kokushikan used to have extremely harsh and strict senior-junior relationships. Not any more. The gymnasts, full of youthful energy, were trying to build their team routine through collaboration between members and coaches.


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“Kokushikan balance” -- I love this unique posture very much. It’s unique and original, like gymnasts in this RG team. Mr. Yamada proudly told me that he was trying to find good aspect of each gymnast and nurture their individuality. Exactly! Hayami Yumita and Takahiro Saito, two very different types of legendary gymnasts were brought up in this club!


Mr. Yamada said, “We are happy to have visitors in our club. You can take and use pictures or videos of anyone, anything.” That is, I must say, very very rare for a top-level RG team like them, especially at this time of the year. From these things, I could feel his passion to promote MRG. When he was young, he even went to Malaysia for a year to spread MRG, which existed only in Japan, to the world. Now he gets older and has become a chairperson of MRG committee, but his mind seems to be still as young and flexible as it used to be.

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Kokushikan RG team has its own website that provides much information not only on current members of the club but also on retired athletes. The contact address is on the top right of their page, so you can contact them if you’d like to invite Kokushikan RG team for events, or ask ANY questions about men’s rhythmic gymnastics (You can write in English)!