We held our first booster class of 2017 yesterday evening at our Moor Row dojo. The topic was 'Creative Kata' and everyone had fun, whilst learning why the classical forms we practice in our style are so important.
The junior members worked in small groups and their task was to create a mini-kata based on techniques they individually chose. They had to decide on how best to combine the movements together, what stances to move to and from, which direction to turn and how to finish their kata off with a memorable ending. They also had to design their own salutation posture and of course, give their new creation a memorable name :-)
The juniors then had a little time to prepare their kata, ready to showcase it as a team in front of the whole dojo at the end of class. We had some excellent performances from all three groups and a real creative use of karate techniques - well done to all!
Whilst the juniors were working in their own groups, the senior members began to explore the creation of kata in a different way, more akin to traditional ways. They began by choosing three or four common acts of violence (e.g. a push, hook punch and grab/headbutt) and then looked at how best to counter such attacks. They then undertook a process to 'formalise' these applications into a solo representation and joined them together in order to create their new kata. They also focused on how the embusen of their form may accurately represent the combative angles used in their two-person scenarios.
Like the juniors, our seniors had some time to work on the performance of their kata before unveiling it to the rest of the dojo. Of course, this created a different dynamic to the children's performances, which helped to show the difference between both approaches.
All in all it was a fun session, but the aim was also to promote more serious learning too. The classical kata that we practice has been passed onto us through generations and as such, carries with it the seed of it's original creator(s). Since much of karate history has been lost to the passage of time, we now have the responsibility of undertaking a process of reverse engineering, in order to explore their practical applications. This, we need to carry out with the context of traditional karate (civilian self-defence) firmly in mind, a hearty dose of common sense and with deep respect for those pioneering masters who set the wheels in motion for our opportunity to practice today.
Dojo Members...Don't miss out on our next booster class at another one of our clubs in February - Topic to be confirmed very soon!
A huge well done to everyone who challenged their rank at the grading held earlier this evening. Especially so to those individuals who were unsucessful last time and rather than give up, decided to go back to the drawing board and as a result, showed some fantastic improvements!
This is what karate is all about - refusing to take the easy route and instead, seeking to explore the path less travelled. Yes of course, you may come face to face with a few discomforting hurdles along the way, but if these are faced with a positive and tenacuious attitude then there will always be potential for growth.
It is our ethos for dojo members to become accustomed to this blueprint for success and then learn to apply it to other aspects of their life. It's never an easy path to follow and we inevitably lose many along the way, but those who do manage to persist will slowly develop a special character that no amount of money can buy.
Young Oliver Whillock needs a mention here as he really stood out today. Not simply because of the standard he's reached, but more so, his rate of change over the past year. You see, a few months back he would have struggled to maintain focus for more than five minutes. This evening he showed a level of skill and determination to be proud of. With continuing patience and support from his parents, instructors and class-mates, he's made some amazing progress. So congratulations Oliver and please keep up the great work!
As well as Oliver, we also had Harrison and Charlie make inspiring come-backs from unsuccessful gradings. Rather than simply throwing the towel in (as many unfortunately do), they've chosen to use their experience as a stepping stone to success. Fine examples to strive for and if maintained, the very attitudes that will take these children far in life.
As you can probably guess...I'm feeling a little proud tonight :-)
Great job everyone,
Huge congratulations to everyone who took part in their grading on Sunday in Whitehaven!
As always it was a tough and challenging day. Everyone worked extremely hard and pushed their boundaries. It was fantastic to see the effort and camaraderie from all participants, working together and supporting each other all the way.
You have all done us proud once again and thanks everyone who can along to support the event.
Here are a couple of great quotes taken from our Facebook comments, which I think help sum up the support we have within our E.S.K.K family!
My first grading, a potentially stressful experience was made a lot easier by other members, many of which I didn’t even know wishing me luck and advice. Credit to Chris, the instructors, assistant instructors and all the members of the E.S.K.K family as they ensured that the true spirit of the founding fathers of karate was carried on.”