We would both like to take this opportunity to wish all our members a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
We'd like to also thank you for all your kind support this year and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2014 - our special 10th Anniversary Year!
As a reminder, our weekly classes will resume again on week commencing Monday 6th January. That should give you all enough time to recharge those batteries :-)
We'll leave you all with some pictures from our Xmas parties this year - a reminder of some great times spent with great people!
J & C x
Senior Xmas Party 2013...
junior Xmas Party 2013...
Sunday 15th December was the day of yet another E.S.K.K grading with once again, record numbers. So many were challenging their grade this time that the day was split into two; the morning dedicated to the junior red and red stripes and then the afternoon for the seniors and higher grades up to purple belt. This time, I didn't catch the whole thing but got a chance to see most of it, taking part to help a fellow blue belt, and talking with most of the successful candidates as well as Sensei. Here are a few of the quotes I picked up...
"If you saw us smiling at the front during your performance then don't worry, we weren't laughing - We were just so pleased to see such a high standard!" - Part of Sensei's post grading comments.
"That was one of the best performances of Pinan Nidan I've seen" - Lewis Cullen (3rd Kyu) referring to Garat Mair's kata for 7th Kyu.
Lewis is himself accomplished in competition kata and he knows an outstanding performance when he sees one!
"Yeeeeeeessssss...Wooo Hoooooooo...Thank you, thank you, thank you!" Junior, Dominic Mills, as the news of his first class pass to 6th Kyu started to sink in.
Sensei said that Dominic had worked particularly hard in all aspects of his karate since the last grading and he was one of many who had put in so much and contributed to the general high standard on the day. It's fantastic that the dojo has so many enthusiastic young people progressing so passionately. They are a credit to themselves, their parents, the club and the fantastic teachers who train them.
Many of the quotes following the morning session are difficult to put here. They were a combination of tearful congratulations and sighs of relief from very proud parents as well as cheers and laughs from the successful candidates.
Later as the more senior grades were put through their paces, the remaining audience was filled with sharp intakes of breath and winces during the bunkai and sparring sessions, as the candidates put their heart, soul and very all into their performances.
Of particular note were father and son combination, Paul and Ryan Stewart, who demonstrated bunkai as part of challenge for 6th Kyu. A combination of control, power, speed and accuracy gave the audience a very authentic demonstration of some practical applications from Pinan Nidan Kata.
My final quote of the day comes from Terence Ross, grading for 4th Kyu after a gruelling sparring session with "legs only" and as he inspected his feet and shins...
"That's going to be bruised tomorrow!"
Huge congratulations to everyone who achieved their grades - you all helped to end 2013 with a real bang!
As some of you may know, a small group of E.S.K.K dojo members are going with Chris to Okinawa in March 2014 to train hard and bathe in the amazing culture at the very birthplace of karate. We will also be celebrating our 10th anniversary as a group in the same month, making this particular trip even more special.
One of our members, Kelvin McDonald, never noticed that occasionally, he was quietly included in the headcount for the Okinawa trip. He also never noticed that his good lady wife, Kerry, sometimes wasn't home at the same time as our planned meetings. He was far too busy wishing he was able to go to Okinawa and was fed up listening to us talk about what a fantastic experience it is going to be!
Well, on Tuesday Kelvin certainly got a lesson in paying attention for his 40th Birthday...
It's not unusual for us all to wish a fellow member Happy Birthday at the start of class. It's also not unusual for us all to sign a card and present a token gift too if it's a milestone birthday. What was unusual though in Kelvin's case is that his fantastic wife had secretly turned up at the dojo with family members to present him with a very special gift.
Kelvin had already turned the shade of 'embarrassed red' at us all wishing him Happy Birthday, when Sensei slipped outside to collect his 'surprise gift'. He was literally speechless to see his family follow Sensei through the door to hand over an envelope with a "ticket" to Okinawa inside!
I've seen Kelvin look nervous before a grading; I've seen him get "in the zone" in preparation for hard training; but this was a new look completely! Shock, surprise, bewilderment, disbelief and wonder turned slowly to overwhelming emotion as realisation dawned on him that his fantastic was actually treating him to the trip of lifetime!
It became very emotional for us all and it was lovely to see such a dedicated member of our dojo have the opportunity to experience this amazing event. There wasn't a dry eye in the house!
Oh and by the way Kelvin, your wife has suggested that you take two extra bags to fit her gifts in!
A big thank you goes out to Kerry for having us all be part of such a fantastic surprise and Kelvin...we look forward to having you on-board the Okinawa Express!