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.
On Saturday 18th May, selected member of our E.S.K.K Team performed a karate and fitness demonstration for “On The Red Carpet” - a show we were invited to do to help raise money for Whitehaven Theatre Group & Friends.
Starting the show off with a choreographed fight scene, leading onto basics and kata, we then showcased all the different fitness classes we teach, finishing off with equipment training, kata application and even weaponry skills.
All in all it was a very successful performance and we’ve have lots of positive feedback from many of the spectators who were there on Saturday night.
We would like to thank everyone on the demo team for their hard work and commitment, including parents, as it would not have been achievable without them. Having only three weeks to prepare for this, you should all be very proud!
A special well done to some of our younger junior members. We understand how challenging and nerve wrecking it is to perform on a big stage and in front of so many people – you are not only a credit to yourself but also to our club.
Another truly amazing experience we can add to our list…here’s to more adventures that will teach us more about confidence, hard work, goals and above all working together and supporting each other as a team. Cheers!
On Saturday evening at our 15th Anniversary celebrations, we we proud to present our 2019 Student of the Year awards to Emmie Ling (junior) and Stuart Rigg (senior).
Our Student of the Year Award has been running since we first opened our doors in 2004, where each year our members vote for who they think most deserves this prestigious honour. The results of the members poll are then discussed by a committee of club instructors before our Chief Instructor, Chris Denwood, authorises the final decision.
You can find our more about our Student of the Year Award by clicking here >>
Both Emmie and Stuart have worked extremely hard over the past 12-months and shown a number of special qualities that make them fitting role models for the rest of our membership. Now they have the important responsibility that comes with this special honour - to continue developing themselves and inspiring others to grow according to the fine values we stand for.
As part of our presentation, the newly crowned Students of the Year were asked to draw a ball from a bucket to determine which two charities we will be donating to from our Community Fund. Emmie selected CADAS (Cumbria Drug and Alcohol Advisory Service) and Stuart selected MIND (mental health) - both very worthy causes.
So please join us in congratulating Emmie and Stuart on their well deserved awards and we wish them all the very best in their new role as Student of the Year!
On Saturday evening, we were very proud to celebrate both our 15th Anniversary, plus our chief instructor's 30th year in karate!
Over 100 guests joined us at Whitehaven Golf Club for a special evening that included food, speeches, awards, presentations, charity donations and raffle, live music and disco.
We'd like to thank everyone for all their amazing support and congratulate all our award winners for what were well deserved honours. We hope you all had an amazing time celebrating these significant milestones with us.
But of course we've only just got warmed up - so let's see what we can achieve together in the next 15 years!
Below are just a few pictures from the hundreds taken on the evening...