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.
Over the weekend we were very privileged to host Paul and Michelle Enfield from California to conduct some exclusive seminars for our dojo members!
Paul and Michelle are true living examples of Budo and have a wealth of experience between them. Their lineage is second to none and were inspiring to be around. I don't think it's any understatement to say that every single participant gained something positive from the experience. And despite being from different styles of karate, I think the event successfully proved that if you can look deep enough, you'll find that all karate-ka are but one family.
After a brief tour of Whitehaven harbour in the afternoon, Friday evening was the advanced group, where we looked at Tensho kata concepts, Saturday was an hour long children’s class in the morning, followed by two adult sessions where we covered a number of connector drills, Gekisai Dai ichi kata, in addition to revisiting Tensho kata and associated two person flow drills. Following the seminar, we enjoyed a nice meal together at Whitehaven Golf Club before Paul and Michelle headed back home.
We were honoured to have had the opportunity to share time with such skilled, humble and inspiring martial artists. It was wonderful to exchange ideas from our two styles and in finding so many connections, enhance our holistic understanding of karate further.
Big thanks to Michelle and Paul for their friendship and support!
Over the weekend, we held our special 15th Anniversary Training Camp at the wonderful 4* Crown Hotel in Wetheral.
The event ran from Friday to Sunday, with an extra night added this year to celebrate with a barbecue and some live music. A total of 25 participants successfully secured a place and were treated to a wide range of sessions that included...
During breaks, participants enjoyed the hotel grounds and leisure facilities (swimming pool, steam room, gym, sauna and jacuzzi). The post-event party of Sunday evening included a tasty barbecue, some live acoustic music and plenty of laughs! It was a great end to a great weekend.
Big thanks to everyone who made this training camp possible - all the instructors, participants and of course, the wonderful staff at The Crown...
...Here's to the next 15 years!
Congratulations to everyone who took on their challenge today at our summer karate grading in Whitehaven. A wide range of grades were tested and a mix of results were awarded, but one thing was common - everyone gave it their all!
It's always a pleasure to witness shy kids coming out from under their shell, older children growing into fine teenagers before our very eyes, young men and women expanding their perceived limits and members of a 'certain vintage' finding new and inspiring qualities about themselves that they never thought had even existed. As well as the purely physical attributes, this is the real beauty of karate - it forces you to look inside, face discomfort, push boundaries, grow tenacity and explore new horizons.
Whether you made the cut today or not - 100% effort and enthusiasm always equals success in our book and for this, we couldn't be prouder!
As always, big thanks to grading panel members, admin officials and individual dojo instructors/assistants for all their efforts - as without you all, our level of success would simply not be possible.
Grading results as below...
Today, I took a small demo team to my old school (Moor Row Primary) to conduct a karate demonstration and taster session for the children.
The demo consisted of some basic techniques and combinations, kata, padwork and breaking. After the demo, we invited all the children to have a go. We taught the basic punch and kick, plus some fun pad work drills to put those techniques into practice. We finished with a short lecture on respect and closing with the traditional karate salutation.
We were very impressed by the behaviour and enthusiasm of the children at Moor Row Primary and would like to thank everyone for making us feel so welcome. Special thanks also to members of my demo team, plus parents who helped transport them there and back.
After the demo, I was treated to a guided tour of the school, which brought back some wonderful memories from 30 years ago. I was at this school when I first began to practice karate, so it felt great to be able to have the opportunity to 'come full circle' and give something back to the place where my martial arts journey began.