West Cumbria group E.S.K.K Martial Arts & Fitness is leading the charge in safeguarding, having successfully attained the Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts “mark”.
The Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts has been created so that parents and carers can make informed decisions about selecting safe and quality tuition for their child. Achieving the Safeguarding Code demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to upholding its duty-of-care to the community and young people and now recognises E.S.K.K Martial Arts & Fitness as a provider that has reached and maintains good safeguarding standards.
Sue Harrison, Stakeholder Marketing at the Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts said:
“We are delighted to see E.S.K.K Martial Arts & Fitness successfully attain the Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts."
Chris Denwood, Chief Instructor at E.S.K.K Martial Arts & Fitness, said:
“Safeguarding is an important topic that needs to be seriously addressed, especially by groups who provide services for young people. We’re very happy that our commitment to safeguarding in martial arts has been recognised and we’re proud to display the Safeguarding Code Mark.”
Developed in consultation with Sport England, representatives from martial arts governing bodies, and leading safeguarding experts, the Safeguarding Code is funded by the National Lottery and was launched by the Sports Minister in 2018.
A great end to another fantastic year at E.S.K.K Martial Arts & Fitness with some great results at our grade examination today in Whitehaven!
One trait that really stood out was that no matter what rank was being challenged, no matter what age the challenger and no matter the outcome...everyone gave it their absolute all, left everything on the dojo floor and exhibited the spirit we all aspire to in karate. For that, everyone deserves to be congratulated on a job well done and have earned our utmost respect.
We are always very proud of our dojo members because we ask a lot in terms of effort and standard. None of our gradings are easy, but it is through this challenge and discomfort that makes the grading experience so worthwhile. Facing fear, exposing chinks, coping with failure, being humble with success and coming face-to-face with one's true self is all part of the grading process. And the self-confidence one gains from this is immeasurable.
So, our sincere congratulations to all who took on their personal challenge today and thanks to all the panel members and table officials who helped make the day run as smooth as possible. We look forward to seeing you all back in class again soon to start your next part of the journey!
One of our teen members, Sam Chilton (third from left), has just picked up a special award at the West Cumbria Community Heroes presentation at the Whitehaven Golf Club.
Sam won the 'Good Friend Award' and it is no surprise to us - he's a very kind, pleasant and loyal dojo member and we feel very proud to have him in our ranks!
So I'm sure you'll join us in congratulating Sam on what we're sure was a very well deserved award indeed!
Hit the link below to read the full article about the awards evening, wich was organised by the local press to recognise some of the superstars of our county applauded for their hard work and selfless acts...
Read Article >>
For ten days in November, six dojo members were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel to Okinawa (The Birthplace of Karate) with our Chief Instructor Chris Denwood, in order to immerse themselves into training and enjoy the unique culture of the island.
The focus of the trip was to study under Higa Minoru Sensei (10th Dan Hanshi) and other teachers/students at the historic Kyudokan Dojo in Tsuboya. The team had prepared for months leading up the trip so that they could learn as much as possible to bring back here to the Cumbria. It was wonderful to spend time with the Higa family, understand more about their karate and further enhance our appreciation of this wonderful martial art. We are very grateful for their kind friendship.
The group also had the opportunity to learn some Bo-Jutsu at Asato Dojo with Jame Pankiewicz, owner of the Dojo Bar. Over the course of two days, they learned a series of fundamental techniques and drills, a short and dynamic Bo kata called Shiromatsu No Kon (White Pine Staff), plus a set of associated two-person application drills. Chris also had the opportunity to meet up with Shinzato Sensei to respectfully review the content from last year's thought-provoking seminar and engage in some good quality discussion on karate principles.
To top off the event, Chris was asked to teach a seminar in Naha on his approach to the holistic application of Naihanchi Kata and to share some content from his new book on the subject. He covered some ideas around efficient movement pathways, using circles and figure eight shapes to connect techniques, then looked at how these principles may be applied in a combative sense. He ended with some limb control drills from Naihanchi Kata to show how its application may be used in a fluid way.
As part of the sightseeing and cultural aspects of the trip, the group visited the infamous Hacksaw Ridge, which was the sight of some of the most bloodiest fighting during The Battle of Okinawa in World War Two. Everyone agreed that it was a very sobering moment to stand and look around what is now such a beautiful place, yet to think of the destruction and devastation of what happened there 74 years ago.
On the final day, Chris and three members from the group visited Hokama Sensei's dojo to take a look around his amazing karate museum. He answered some of our historical questions, told us interesting stories about some famous karate photos of the past and was also kind enough to brush Chris a wonderful scroll with the kanji for 'Toku Sei Kan'. This now takes pride of place in his garden dojo and will be treasured.
When people ask why we travel all the way to Okinawa, the answer in simple...It is the combination of training, environment, history, culture, and people that serve to provide a very special experience and understanding of traditional karate. It leaves a strong and lasting impression that's simply unattainable from anywhere else and it uniquely changes one's view of this incredible art as a valuable way of life.
The team would like to thank everyone involved in making our 2019 trip to Okinawa so enjoyable and productive. It was wonderful to catch up with everyone again, meet new people and continue forging lasting friendships.
Chris would like to personally thank the six members who accompanied him this year - especially for their extra hard work leading up to the trip, plus their etiquette and performance throughout the training in Okinawa. They acted as fine ambassadors for our dojo here in Cumbria...
...Until next time!
On 25th October 1936, an historic meeting was held at a meeting hall in Naha, Okinawa with a number of prominent karate masters of the time. This assembly included the likes of Choki Motobu, Chojun Miyagi, Chosin Chibana, Chomo Hanashiro, Chotoku Kyan, Juhatsu Kiyoda and Shinpan Gusukuma. As well as other important discussions and decisions made regarding the potential future of the martial arts of the Island, it was during this meeting that the term "karate" (Empty Hand) was standardised.
Thus, World Karate Day (Karate No Hi) is held every year on October 25th to commemorate the history of karate and its exponential rise in popularisation across the globe. Part of these celebrations is the 100-Kata Challenge, which is inspired by the phrase 百 練 剛 (train hard 100 times). The challenge, led by a performance on Okinawa, serves to bring karate practitioners from around the world together and strengthen our universal family bond.
This year, our 100-Kata Challenge was held at the Market Hall in Egremont and we had over 30 members (various ages and ranks) take on the challenge to help raise money for our Community Fund. This was our largest group yet and the first year we invited our junior members to join us!
We had three groups running...The first was for junior members and for those who were new to the challenge. Their aim was to complete 100 x Naihanchi Kata. The second group was for veterans and those who wanted an extra challenge. Their objective was to add 10 x burpees after every set of 10 x Naihanchi Kata (100 in total). The third group consisted of those members who are travelling to Okinawa in a couple of weeks. Their task was to complete 4 x 23 kata within the curriculum, plus 8 x weapon kata (roshaku bo), totalling 100. Then the group finished off with 100 x burpees using Tabata intervals.
Every member completed their challenge and although it was far from easy, the atmosphere in the room was electric, with a strong feeling of mutual support from one another! It was wonderful to see so many members take on the challenge this year, especially the juniors and hopefully this number will continue to grow!
We'd like to say a big thank you to all our members who took time out to participate, to everyone who has sponsored our efforts, to individual group leaders and parent volunteers, who helped keep our count up to date, plus a special thank you to members of Egremont Town Council for kindly allowing us use of their Market Hall to host the event - it was greatly appreciated and a perfect location!
Finally, our congratulations to all those karate practitioners from around the world who completed their 100-Kata Challenge and to you all...Happy Karate Day!
Over the school holidays, we invited all our junior dojo members to take part in our summer token competition. The aim was to collect as many tokens as possible over the six week period, which could be earned in a number of ways to show their dedication and enthusiasm to practising their karate.
It was great to see so many of our young members taking on the challenge and taking lots of holiday karate pictures - see below for a small selection.
Congratulations to Shaun (1st Place), Abbie (2nd Place) and Chloe (3rd Place) for earning a whopping 80 tokens between them! As well as special certificates, they won prizes that included family tickets for the cinema and bowling, plus a voucher to enjoy a nice meal at a local restaurant.
Thanks to all our members for taking part and practising so hard over the summer!
We were very proud to bear witness to some excellent grading performances today. The work ethic was tremendous, determination was inspiring and technical standards were notably high. This was the result of consistency in the dojo, excellent support from club instructors and the strong camaraderie that makes our group so very special.
What makes the grading panel so happy is that regardless of individual outcome, everyone pushes their boundaries and continues to grow. No one can ever ask for more than one's very best and that is always the benchmark set by our wonderful E.S.K.K members. With so much potential coming up through the ranks and experienced black belt members passing on their knowledge to the next generation, we're confident that the future of our dojo is in very safe hands.
Congratulations to everyone who stepped up to the mark today and challenged themselves. We'll see you back in class again soon to continue our awesome journey together.
Also, big thanks to members of the grading panel, assistants and admin officials who helped to make the day run smoothly - your support was very much appreciated!
Grading results below...
Our chief instructor Chris and four of his uchi-deshi (private students) travelled to Wigan yesterday to the beautiful Koryu Kyudokan Dojo in Wigan to attend a seminar led by world-class teachers and friends, Paul and Michelle Enfield.
The seminar content emphasised what Paul and Michelle Sensei call 'connector' drills, which arevery similar in both look and purpose to our Naihanchi Kata limb control drills. They also focused on the requirement to develop muchimi (a heavy/sticky sensation) with body to help accentuate our ability to transfer energy at close-range. All in all, another thought-provoking seminar that once again revealed striking similarities in our approaches, proving we (karate-ka) are but one family!
Big thanks to Sensei Steve Lowe and members of his dojo for inviting us and making us feel so welcome. To John Johnston Sensei (Adaptive Karate) for organising the event and of course, our best wishes to Paul and Michelle Sensei on what we're sure will be a very successful UK seminar tour.
Our chief instructor, Chris Denwood, has just published his new book - the second volume of his Naihanchi Kata series!
Naihanchi (Tekki) Kata is one of the classical fundamental training forms in karate and various versions of it may be found in karate (and taekwondo) styles derived from the old Shuri-Te lineage on Okinawa. It is a vital part of karate’s heritage and a priceless gift of knowledge handed down from the pioneering masters of our past.
In this thought-provoking publication, Chris presents his approach to traditional karate through the choreography of Naihanchi Kata, featuring a step-by-step guide to a comprehensive study of the form and an avid exploration of its potential depth.
Using five integrated layers of analysis, each volume builds upon the previous and examines in details how the movements of Naihanchi Kata may represent a series of valuable lessons, based on holistic themes and principles that when applied, help to reveal why this seemingly superficial kata has been revered by serious practitioners for generations.
Heavily illustrated and rich in content, Volume Two covers the combative application of Naihanchi Kata for civilian self-protection. Chapters detail contextual aims and subsequent considerations, the generation of a core game-plan, plus associated application framework. The methodology of the kata is presented as a logical and flowing lesson plan, integrating key conceptual strategies and essential tactics. This instalment also covers a number of supporting methods by which to deeply analyse classical karate kata in order to get the most from your pragmatic study.
On Friday 19th July we were joined by two Candaian visitors, Doug and Lucy, who practice Seibukan Shorin Ryu Karate, under the tutelage of Sensei Dan Smith and Hanshi Zempo Shimabukuro from Chatan, Okinawa.
We first met Doug and Lucy on Okinawa back in 2014 and we have kept in contact ever since. They are wonderful people, true budo-ka and it was fantastic that they kindly took a couple of days out from their U.K holiday to travel up to Cumbria in order to spend some time with us. They participated in Jenny's Thursday evening Enduro-Strike class, enjoyed some Cumbria fell walking and a trip to Keswick on Friday and then we finished off with a special karate session on Naihanchi Kata application before a nice meal together in the evening.
It was especially interesting to compare the Seibukan version of Naihanchi Kata with ours and to explore the differences of their performance in a pragmatic way. This helped to enrich everyone's understanding of the kata and indeed, some of the core principles found in karate, regardless of style.
We'd like to thank Doug and Lucy for taking the time to visit us, to our members for making them feel so welcome and to St Benedict's School staff for the use of their wonderful facility.