Another Summer Course is over and I have to say that of all the courses I’ve been on over the last 10 years, this one was without doubt one of the best ever. The different styles of Karate that attended from various countries showed how a common goal to train hard can be translated throughout the World.
Even though we were low in numbers this year, I think Westminster made its mark on the course in such a way that everyone from the highest grade instructor to the newest of kyu grades (and all their families) had no doubt that we were there to train, fight and play as hard or harder than any other group in attendance (I think we particularly excelled in the play section).
The instruction was superb throughout the course and it would be too hard to pick an overall best session or instructor, but for me the time I spent training with Sensei Mottram, Sensei Hazard and Sensei’s Phil and Greg Francis stand out as ones that will boost my karate for years to come. I was also pleased to be able to train with Sensei Falk Hoffmann from Germany again. Sensei Hoffmann will have to miss next years course due to work commitments but I am extremely proud to say that my first course was his first year as an instructor and he was there guiding me on each summer course I have attended including this, my tenth.
Our attendance consisted of higher grades only, which was a shame really because many of the red to green belts I spoke to during the week were really buzzed-up and excited about the things they were learning and this reflected in the high standard of grading passes on the last day.
Our own Steve Riley achieved a well deserved 2nd for his 2nd kyu grading and can wear a brown belt with pride (although it’s already been explained that he’ll need to prove his worth from now on to the whole class on every visit to the dojo “get that back arm pulled back and NO MORE SLACKING!”)
Between those of us who attended the course I hope we will be able to jointly pass on the ideas and information gained from this summer course. The higher grades should benefit from the now finalised changes made to the kata Nijushiho and everyone will need to work on the brand new experimental version of Saifa that is soon to run along side the current Ishinryu version (the Goju Ryu version has now been accepted as the international standard for competition by the Karate governing bodies, so Ishinryu has decided to adopt it and add another weapon to our competition armoury for all grades).
Although the format of the course remained the same with its 12 training sessions including the “Fun” run, this was the first time in my many years that optional “extra” training was offered between the standard lessons boosting the overall total to 15 sessions. These extra 3 opportunities to train were carried out behind closed doors and those of us that volunteered were privileged to train in a small group. One was a kata session hosted by Sensei Moira Barber, one was focus pad work for free fighting training with Sensei Wayne Otto and one was pad work and body conditioning jointly run by Sensei’s Greg and Phil Francis (Splendid!). There might not have been any water in the room, but everyone left looking as if they’d just climbed fully clothed from a swimming pool.
Our Westminster group was noted by a highly respected course instructor as being “the only people to train everyday and still be in the bar every night”. The quote that sums that comment up can be credited to Mr S Riley on Thursday night, when at 9pm it was only us and the bar staff in the disco “We rule ‘dis place”, (or at least we did until the Gentlemen from Jersey came along and out drank us, again!)
So how could we top off such an outstanding week? Saturday morning we all ate a “big-big fried breakfast” in a place called the Dairy Bucket and all went for a 200ft bungee jump (and then played bingo)
The next Summer Course is 26th June to 3rd July 2004 if you miss it you’ll be missing out on some amazing training, a real good time and some very serious fun, no matter what grade you are or style of karate you practice, you need to be there.
“I’m going again as Elvis next year to stop you getting the costume” –D.Egan
“Hang on!...... Something’s wrong!” –D.Egan (Thursday 2.15am)
“SLACKERS!!!” –The war cry
“All I saw was a big blur, then it got closer, then I got hit” –S.Riley
“Ah now then Sensei, that’ll be me then won’t it. But I didn’t mean to smash her face in” –The heavy handed lad from Co Clare
“There was two! Two students of the week and I still didn’t get one! I did all 12 lessons plus the extra 3 indoor sessions, what about me? I’VE BEEN ROBBED!! JUST LIKE EVERY SUMMER FOR THE LAST TEN YEARS” –K.Green
“It says there’s a charity bungee jump at 12 o’clock… Have you done a bungee?... RIGHT! We’ll eat a big-big fried breakfast in The Dairy Bucket and then LET’S ‘AVE IT!” –A combined quote from 3 people with hang-over headaches.
Some photos are attached below.
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