Report – Netherlands weekend with Tim Shaw Sensei.

Yet again host Martijn Schelen of the Kenkokai Dojo Eemnes in the Netherlands executed a flawless piece of organisational magic for our planned three-day training weekend.

It is always a huge pleasure and privilege for me to be invited to teach in the Netherlands, for so many reasons, not least that the level of enthusiasm and openness is second to none.

This time Martijn was making adjustments to the scheduling to try and get the best out of the available time. For example; on the Saturday training it was planned to create two workshops during the day, with a break in between. From my perspective this seemed to go really well and enabled me to package the training into focussed themes. I always spend a long time in my planning and try to pitch it at all levels so that nobody feels that they are out of their depth.

I had worked my themes out well in advance, with the intention that everyone would come away with something they could really work on to elevate their understanding and crucially their physical and technical skills.

Across the weekend we really worked hard to polish the solo kata, linked to solid kihon, something that Sugasawa Sensei is very insistent on; because without solid foundations nothing meaningful can be built. Repeat, repeat and repeat again, cycling round the featured kata.

We also explored a very focussed selection of paired kata. The chosen pairs followed themes built within the kihon training and time and time again I tried to bring it back to core Wado principles. My intention was to help the students and instructors to appreciate the covert relationships between the various aspects of their training and how these same aspects support and feed off each other.

During the weekend I had the chance to work with some very experienced old-hands who had joined us for the first time, and to welcome them into the Shikukai family, a joy, and an honour for me. Again, credit to Martijn for making this happen.

Seniors in Saturday training.

Inevitably, Saturday night was an evening for catching up over food and drink, and the conversations were not all about karate. Very civilised and convivial.

I have to say that Kenkokai is not a one-man-band. Martijn is very lucky to have a solid support team to ensure that the wheels are oiled and everything runs smooth (a particular shout-out to Astrid de Vries on that one).

Because the training was a balancing act between solid hard work and granular examination of technique and principle, my intention is to write some support notes for those who attended. This post will also be written in a way that may be of interest and value to general Wado practitioners. This may well appear as an additional (free) post on my ongoing Substack project. To see it, opt for the free subscription to

Keep an eye open for that.

Conversations have already been had for my next visit, probably October November this year.

Remember, these courses are open to all Wado students.

Tim Shaw

Report – Kiku Wa Jyuku training and grading.

On the 18th of March, Carol Chatterton Sensei 6th Dan and Kiku Wa Jyuku hosted a
training and grading with Pam and Steve Senseis (each 7th Dan) at the Olympiad,
Chippenham. This was well attended by 36 students from Weymouth, Chelmsford
and Exmouth joining members of the host club.

The session started with a challenging warm up and stretch lead by Pam Sensei. After
the opening bow the thread throughout the day’s training was the importance of what
can appear to be ‘small details’ to make good Kihon which will improve your Karate.
A key message was knowing when the elimination of tension was required, and when
not. Students practised Kihon Waza as a group for the first half, building up a
substantial sweat. They then separated into two groups where Pam Sensei took the
9th to 4th Kyu grades through Pinan Nidan / Sandan, a selection of combinations and
Pair Work. Steve Sensei took the 3rd Kyu plus group through Kushanku followed by
some select senior Pair Works. In both groups the sweat was maintained.

At the final bow both Senseis thanked the group for their hard work, with the words “Every drop of sweat is worth more than the colour of your belt”. This reminded me of an old
quote, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”.

Some students then took Kyu Gradings with the following being successful: –
2nd Kyu – Adam Rose, Archie Warren and Lewis Higginson.
7th Kyu – Tess Callahan, Henry Seeman, Pete Mullee and Sarah Ponting.
8th Kyu – Noah Ladd, Scarlet Sweet, Elouise Thake and Rishabh Nair.
9th Kyu – Levi Butler, Louis Sabatier and Pierre Sabatier.

Earle Thomas
2nd Dan

Report – Shikukai Winter Course February 2023.

It’s always a massive challenge to pull together a four-day course in the depths of winter, but it is one that we have always tried to rise to.

This year, of all years, all the pieces seem to fall into place. On attendance alone we broke all previous Winter Course records.

This was the Shikukai Winter Course in Essex.

We are very much aware that people are prepared to travel considerable distances, crossing international boundaries to access what we have to offer in Shikukai Karate-Do International and specifically to be able to tap into the knowledge and experience of our chief instructor, Sugasawa Sensei, 7th Dan Renshi, and the senior Shikukai instructors.

In Essex, we have the advantage of an international travel hub in the form of Stansted airport; although this year some students from Europe decided to explore the option of travelling into the UK by rail, a possibility that actually seemed to work quite well (something to bear in mind for the future) taking the stress out of continental travel, and, a short hop across London to link up with the main rail route into Essex.

This year we had students and instructors from the Netherlands, Norway, Czechia and Hungary.

Sugasawa Sensei was the overseer of the training as it progressed over the weekend. The course instructors (other than myself) were Richard Barham Sensei 6th Dan, Bob Wymer Sensei 5th Dan, Rob Selby Sensei 5th Dan, Steve Thain Sensei 4th Dan and Sue Dodd Sensei 2nd Dan. The comments afterwards suggested that this was very much a top-notch team who, each in their own way, brought something to the table in terms of variety and technical approach; Sugasawa Sensei was impressed by the quality presented.

The unofficial start of the course was the normal Thursday night club night at the Shouwa Jyuku Dojo, the training hall was looking very close to being too small; this was a trend that would continue through the weekend. Friday’s training at the same venue and even more people turned up. In addition to that, Sugasawa Sensei arrived a day early and accompanied us through the session, offering advice to students along the way.

Saturday and Sunday were in the main venue in Danbury, which usually gives us plenty of space… but this time, because of the numbers, adjustments were necessary, and fortunately we had the capacity to make it all work.

On Saturday, the session began with a very brief welcome speech from Sensei, and a special ‘Mokuto’, a silence, in tribute to the memory of Tim Dixon, recently departed and much missed.

As the instruction team kicked into gear, we were eager to engage with the main themes of the weekend. For example, Barham Sensei took on a huge challenge carouselling through the twelve kumite gata of the Shikukai syllabus.

The main kata practice for the seniors was Seishan, which for a long time now has been Sugasawa Sensei’s ‘flavour of the month’ a key feature of his regular Zoom sessions. The key theme of the training was the adherence to good core principle training; something that followed across the weekend and is the background of Shikukai karate as a traditional and pure embodiment of the Wado school.

Across the weekend we covered Wanshu kata and Naihanchi, as well as appropriate Pinan kata. Barham Sensei led an intriguing take on the Kihon Gumite, which reframed the practice in interesting and challenging ways. Selby Sensei’s contributions and ideas are always met with great appreciation and it was no different this time. It was also great to see Thain Sensei sharing his knowledge on Naihanchi kata. Wymer Sensei treated students to his considerable knowledge (and humour). Sue Dodd Sensei did an amazing job corralling twenty very able children into training and grading (assisted by Barham Sensei) as well as workshopping Ippon Gumite from the Shikukai syllabus.

Saturday evening involves a huge get-together in the small town of Maldon on the tidal estuary of the river Thames. A whole clutch of students had taken the opportunity to reside on a specially adapted, permanently moored, restored Thames sailing barge, a wonderful unique experience, but nothing compared to the completely bonkers, very ‘Essex’, glitzy over-the-top restaurant on the Maldon High Street, appropriately called ‘Paparazzi’, that we’d booked for the Saturday evening. The word ‘bling’ comes to mind, but without a hint of irony.

At the end of the course Sugasawa Sensei presented Dan grade certificates and a special award to Selby Sensei for his forty-year dedication to training. Some students took the opportunity for Kyu and Dan gradings, the results were:

  • Andrej Sladky 8th Kyu, Shikukai Praha.
  • Matt Tyler 7th Kyu, Shouwa Jyuku.
  • Will Doble 7th Kyu, Mushin Jyuku.
  • Mark Troman 2nd Dan, Chertsey.

A massive thanks to the Shouwa Jyuku team, who did an amazing job pulling everything together. We are already planning for Winter Course 2024 – watch this space.

Also, a huge thank you to Sugasawa Sensei, who continues to be our source of guidance and inspiration.

Tim Shaw

Report – 50 Years Training Milestone.

Senseis Steve & Pam Rawson 7th Dans were invited to represent Shikukai Karate-do International at Andrew Genery 8th Dan’s 50th Year Anniversary Training in Doncaster on the weekend of 11/12 February 2023. This unfortunately coincided with the Winter Course in Chelmsford, but Sensei Sugasawa felt it important that they should attend. When Sensei first arrived in the UK he was a regular visitor and instructor at the Doncaster Dojo.

Saturday morning started with the reading of a congratulatory message from Sensei Sugasawa to Andrew who had started his Wado Karate journey 50 years ago to that very day. He was also presented with a small gift of an embroidered Ken Bu Jyuku sweat towel.

The training was initially lead by Andrew Sensei, working in groups of three, to increase speed and accuracy when performing gyakuzuki. This got the heart and legs racing. Kihon and Keri followed on. After a short break Ni Sei Shi Kata was practised; particularly noting the slight difference in movements between the two Associations.

Seishan was then covered, with Steve Sensei explaining the nuances of Sugasawa Sensei’s emphasis. The final part of the session concentrated on Kihon Gumite Happonme. Pam Sensei was able to show just how effective Kuzushi could be when it was applied correctly against the largest student in the Dojo. The three hours passed all too quickly. Everyone convened later at Cosmos, a local Buffet Style All You Can Eat restaurant in downtown Doncaster.

Sunday’s training was opened by Andrew Sensei, working on Nagashizuki. This was followed by Steve and Pam Senseis comparing the techniques in the 6th Kyu and 2nd Kyu Kishin and Shikukai Syllabuses. The concept of Nihon Gumite was new to the Kishin students, who were mostly familiar with Sanbon Gumite. The students really enjoyed and appreciated the variations and explanations offered.

Andrew closed the session by thanking everyone for attending and for working so hard over the weekend. In particular Andrew asked Steve & Pam to convey his thanks to Sensei for permitting them to attend and instruct.

Pam Rawson 7th Dan

Shikukai Karate-do International

In Memoriam – Tim Dixon (1956 – 2023).

It is with great sadness that I have to notify the wider Shikukai community of the recent passing of Tim Dixon, 6th Dan, one of our most respected senior instructors.

The loss of Tim has been a huge shock to us all and sent ripples through our organisation and beyond.

This devastating news has reached a far wider circle than Tim’s individual family members, (whose grief can only be imagined), as his influence has commanded a level of respect in the broader martial arts community; specifically with Wado; whether that has been as a competitor at international level or a highly regarded instructor with a wealth of knowledge developed over many decades of dedicated, disciplined training.

But it is his personal qualities that will also be missed. In the Dojo he was the epitome of quiet, soft-spoken confidence, a natural communicator (as you might expect of a career spent as a teacher in English schools), but with Tim these were qualities that were innate and without affectation.

There are many of us who will remember Tim at some of his finest moments. On the technical front, for me, the true measure of the man as a highly skilled fighter was encapsulated in the last formal Dan grading he took in front of the full Shikukai panel. The apex moment being the astounding resilience he demonstrated in the final test set for him, where he faced opponent after opponent with grim determination, implacable and stoic to the last bruising encounter.

At the human level, Tim was always great company and all of us enjoyed his presence at the numerous karate socials; so many ‘finest moments’, too many to tell in such a limited space; but I am thinking of his sing-alongs and the high-speed wisecracks and merciless repartee of the ‘Dixon, Gillis, Cambridge’ trio; in this, he had a profound sharpness of wit and skill with the lightning-fast come-backs, a joy to behold.

In all honesty I cannot count the number of courses and competitions that Tim attended; you can see his image on group photographs from UKKW, Academy and Shikukai events.

From my angle, I first encountered Tim in the Dojo at the regular training sessions with Suzuki Sensei and Sugasawa Sensei at the Sobell centre in London; at that time he was a brown belt; this was in the 1980’s, he has been a constant presence ever since. No event was complete without Tim.

But let’s not forget that Tim was indeed multi-facetted, which is evidenced by his newly found post-retirement career as a film extra, something he clearly enjoyed and, before his illness intervened, he was steadily becoming a minor star in his own right.

It must be said that the whole of Shikukai, from our chief instructor downwards are devastated by the loss of a very dear friend. To say, ‘He will be missed’ would be a huge understatement.

Rest in peace, knowing that so many people had a special place for you in their hearts.

Tim Shaw, January 2023.

Report – Norway Course.

Roughly 3 years had passed since the Hokusei Jyuku had welcomed Sensei Steve Rawson 7th Dan and Sensei Pam Rawson 7th Dan to Norway, so the weekend of 19/20 Nov was greeted with much anticipation.

It was always going to be a short trip for the visitors, arriving Friday evening and leaving early on the Monday, but we were focussed on maximising having them back. For those who have yet to visit the Shikukai’s northern most outpost, travelling to and from is an all day event, requiring as standard, a journey to Heathrow, two flights as there’s no direct flight to our local airport (Aalesund), then another 1 hr 40 min car journey complete with a fjord ferry crossing.

As the Senseis had woken up at 02:00 on the Friday morning, the only Friday evening activity was refreshing themselves and viewing the Denshinkan (my home dojo).

The following morning however was up and at ‘em with the junior members of the club enjoying 1.5 hours of instruction before the club seniors arrived for the now routine, club photograph. The kids loved the Senseis’ inventive coordination-testing warmup before they progressed onto various basic drills expertly gauged so all got something positive from the experience. Individuals who grasped the drills quickest were placed in the centre of the rest and challenged in the form of a contest to see if they could keep up their initial pace. Press ups were awarded as required…

A dummy was used towards the end of the session, affectionately named Mobby-Bobby (mobbing translating as bullying in Norwegian), which is always enjoyable for the juniors.

Well done to all the juniors who participated, they did themselves proud.

Once the photograph pause was over, it was the adults turn to perform. The group consisted of juniors as well as adults due to the respective juniors grade and experience. I had the pleasure of warming them up, before the senior Senseis took the reins in earnest.

Discussion had already taken place regarding the theme for the weekend, with the Senseis keen to follow where possible the instruction given on the Shikukai Autumn course, in particular focussing on ‘Chi Kou Gou Itsu’. This was music to the Wymer family’s ears as our attendance on that course was not possible due to illness.

So rather than repeat the report written for that course, I will summarise by saying that the training followed and reinforced the theme of learning through hard training and dare I say, getting a good sweat on. But what was particularly enjoyable throughout was Sensei Pam’s explanations regarding the nuances of the Japanese kanji usage to describe the various techniques and stances. This helped clarify some aspects of Kushanku kata in particular, which has already been repeated in the club’s routine training schedule.

The Saturday training appeared to pass all too quickly but all was not lost as we reconvened at ‘chez’ Wymer that evening, providing the perfect opportunity to continue the clarification process and ask additional questions. As always it was an enjoyable and interesting evening gathering.

Sunday’s training began thankfully a little later than Saturday’s, and after Zoom’ing a greeting to Sugasawa Sensei’s Zoom session, the first external instructor led training session in the Denshinkan was underway.

Some training drills were repeated from the Saturday session and subsequently added to, as well as a more pointed focus on some 1st Kyu basics. There was also focus on Soru, the swaying back action found in Kihon 4 with training time allowing for building up to Kihon 4 after the action had been thoroughly drilled.

Again time passed all too quickly, so soon enough we came to the only grading of the weekend, that of Marianne Wymer who successfully graded to 1st Kyu. After that was completed (well done daughter), the club seniors were taken through Rohai at my request, as it has looming relevance…

All in all, a very enjoyable albeit short period of instruction but one that reinforced existing learning for all and lit the thirst for more for most.

The Hokusei Jyuku thanks Senseis Steve and Pam for their continued support and we look forward to welcoming them back annually; and we hope to grow such visits as we had planned to do pre-COVID…

Sensei Bob Wymer 5th Dan

Report – Japanese-style Kumite Training at the Combat Lab Weymouth. November 2022.

Students from Chelmsford, Exmouth and Weymouth met up again at The Combat Lab for another Kumite based training session. The theme this time was contrasting the Japanese style of Kumite with that of the Europeans.

The session was opened by Steve Rawson Sensei 7th Dan, who gave a brief resume of his family’s experiences whilst training and competing in Japan. Pam Rawson Sensei 7th Dan then spoke about the Japanese maxims of Kikioji, Mikuzure, Futanren and Kuden, Taitoku and Mitori.

Following a warm up, the students worked through a series of drills which were linear, direct and with emphasis on speed. These same drills were then repeated with a variety of partners. Students wore protective equipment and then replaced their gumshields with headguards. This offered greater facial protection, but made it harder for them to see, breathe and react. The students were all surprised at how much difference sparring in the headguards made.

The two hours training flew by, with everyone giving maximum effort, regardless of grade or experience. Much fluid was taken on board to rehydrate.

Pamela Rawson 7th Dan
Ken Bu Jyuku

Report – November weekend course in the Netherlands.

It has always been a huge pleasure and an honour to be invited to teach over in Holland. A terrific experience on many levels, not least because of the friendships and personal connections I have developed over the years. And it’s not just the same faces; this time, as before, I meet new people (not always Wado practitioners) and it becomes a two-way thing, fuelled by shared passions for martial arts training and the joy of working together in the Dojo shoulder to shoulder.

Hosts Martijn Schelen and Astrid de Vries have their organisation and promotion skills honed to a fine edged craft; I couldn’t have asked for more. As before, everything was totally frictionless.

Across three days (nine hours) of training we aimed to dig deeply into aspects of Wado karate, which was kicked off on Friday with a granular exploration of the kata Seishan. I have to say that this kata has been ‘flavour of the month’ in Shikukai circles for at least the last four months, maybe even longer. Our chief instructor, Sugasawa Sensei has been forensically dissecting Seishan in his face-to-face teaching and his Zoom sessions. Sensei’s understanding of the kata is largely inspired by his personal experiences particularly with the late second grandmaster of Wado Ryu. So, I felt it was my responsibility to share Sensei’s revelations as best I could and try to represent his teachings.

The reality was that the two hours on the Friday were nowhere near enough time to do full justice to Seishan, but I gambled that it was better to be ambitious with content than to scrimp and make people feel they had been short-changed. As it was, it seemed to work.

Seishan was the springboard for the remaining two days. Aspects found within the kata kept reappearing, often in unexpected ways. This underlined what a joined-up system Wado is, with symbiotic connections revealing themselves, reinforcing core principles, and all of it applicable to fighting.

I know I have mentioned before what a pleasure it is to conduct a course in Martijn’s beautifully designed Dojo, but the structure and ambiance really does add to the whole experience. Although the numbers attending made it quite tight for space, the room is airy and flooded with light.

The students attending were a mixture, not all from Martijn’s own Dojo, but also from further afield. For example; it is always great to meet up with Jerry Smit, a very senior and experienced Wado instructor who travelled down from Amsterdam, who I have known for a number of years now. Also present was a highly ranked Shotokan Sensei; this is his second time training on a Shikukai course, but on this occasion, he was able to run a comparison between Wado’s Seishan and Shotokan’s Hangetsu. But we also had kyu grade students who seemed to enjoy the windows opening up in front of them and to have a chance to work with some very able and skilful seniors and glimpse the bigger picture of Wado.

On the Saturday we explored Pinan Shodan and linked this to specific Wado body manipulations and, as mentioned, references to Seishan popped up, and once you’ve seen it it’s like finding a key to a lock, in fact several locks!

When we opened those doors we were able to move into Wado paired kata and dig into the kumite gata and kihon gumite.

The Sunday training unpacked aspects of Nagasu as applied in defence and deflection; this took us into more paired kata, building up from ippon gumite from the Shikukai syllabus into more advanced kumite.

Saturday evening gave us the chance to unwind and get together socially in a local restaurant.

Overall, this was a very successful weekend. Martijn and I are already sorting our calendars for the next event in the Netherlands and have pencilled a date in for March 2023 – watch this space.

Also, regarding events; across the weekend there was a lot of interest in our UK Shikukai Winter Course. It is looking rather like a Dutch invasion! Sugasawa Sensei and Shikukai senior instructors will be conducting training across the weekend of the 11th and 12th February (with extra opportunities to train). This will be in Essex which is very handy for connections to Stansted Airport. Please let us know if you are interested.

As with the previous Holland course, I will publish a set of technical notes to support the training we did over the weekend. This will be in blog post form and may be of interest to the wider reader and Wado enthusiast.

A huge thank you to Martijn and Astrid and everyone at Kenkokai and to my fellow traveller from the UK, Sue Dodd.

Tim Shaw

Report – Shikukai Autumn Course 2022.

It was a real privilege to be able attend and be a part of the Shikukai Karate International Autumn Course of October 2022. This established annual course had been held on Zoom in 2021 due to Covid restrictions and was long awaited by Shikukai students from across the country.

The course was presided over by Sugasawa Sensei 7th Dan Renshi and we are indebted to his insightful wisdom and input throughout the weekend.

The course was hosted by Sensei Carol Chatterton 6th Dan (Kiku Wa Jyuku) and led by Sensei Steve Rawson 7th Dan and Sensei Pam Rawson 7th Dan.

Sugasawa Sensei opened the event by welcoming us back to the dojo. Sensei referred to the absence of a senior Shikukai Instructor who is facing some health issues. He also recognised the fantastic efforts of Steve Rawson in recently completing an Ironman 70.3 which raised over £1,000 for a related charity. Steve modestly replied, “My battle was over in 7 hour 20 mins, but our friend’s will be considerably longer”. Our collective thoughts are with the Instructor and his family.

After a hearty warm up by Carol Sensei, Steve and Pam Senseis introduced the theme for the two days. “Chi Kou Gou Itsu” – Awareness comes only through practice.

For the first session we worked as one to ensure that the foundations of our Wado principles were developing in the correct way. Specific combinations and drills were shown and practised. These enabled us to think about and refine our own techniques and take inspiration back into our own practice and our own dojos.

We then moved to a paired exercise with a variety of kicks. Safe to say a ‘good sweat’ was had by all.

After a short break we moved on to Kata which sequentially built a combination employing the opening few techniques of three Pinan Kata. Not only was this new but it was linear rather than transitioning to left then right as we would in the Kata. We could focus now on each technique in a ‘new’ environment.

We then formed into three groups: 3rd Dan and above worked on Seishan Kata with Steve Sensei, while 3rd kyu to 2nd Dan were with Pam Sensei who took them through Bassai Kata. 4th kyu and below were with Carol Sensei. Sugasawa Sensei oversaw the three groups adding his invaluable input.

The final session saw the introduction of Kumite No Ura and its relationship with Kihon Gumite.

Many reconvened that evening for a meal at a local Italian restaurant.

Day two began with a warm up from Carol Sensei. Steve and Pam Sensei then built a physically and mentally challenging sequence of combination techniques. Most we were very familiar with but in an unfamiliar sequence, some techniques were less familiar such as Furiken. This culminated in a single combination where we shifted between 20 techniques being delivered at 12, 6, 9 then 3 on the clock face. More good sweat.

After a short break we continued the previous day’s Pinan Kata sequence adding the remaining two.

We then formed into 2 groups: 3rd kyu and above worked on Chinto Kata with Steve Sensei whilst 4th kyu and below were with Pam Sensei and were drilled through the 3rd kyu syllabus.

The final session of the day explored Kihon Gumite 5 and 8 for all students.

Throughout the course students were able to see how Kihon, Kata and Kumite flowed seamlessly together. It was a truly inspiring course where students of all grades and experience were encouraged to challenge themselves.

Everything was catered for, from a warm welcome at the door, time to re acquaint with Shikukai students/friends from afar, progressive and thoughtfully planned and well delivered training sessions, ‘homework’ to take away and think about in our own dojos. There was also time to relax and enjoy being part of the Shikukai family.

Sensei closed the event by thanking Carol Sensei and Kiku Wa Jyuku for an excellent job of hosting, also Steve and Pam Senseis for their instruction. He promoted being more positive in our everyday language, to keep healthy, and then wished everyone a safe journey home.

Two Kiku Wa Jyuku students Meg Chatterton and Alex Wong successfully graded to 3rd Kyu.

Joint report by

Earle Thomas 2nd Dan and Sue Dodd 2nd Dan

Report – Wado Karate Chertsey – Summer Camp August 2022

With the help of Sensei Richard Barham 6th Dan, we held our first summer camp at the beginning of August. Over five days, the 2-hour sessions provided an opportunity for students to have some intense training which allowed them to improve their karate in a very short period, learn new techniques, and have some fun on hot summer days.

Although the group was small, we were able to split between green belts and red belts, which allowed us to provide a programme over the week and meant we could give more personal attention to each student.

Between myself and Sensei we conducted sessions on Kihon, Renketsu-Dosa and Kata as well as pad work. The variety was excellent in keeping the youngsters interested, and each day was split into three sessions, with warm up games and drink breaks, as temperatures reached the mid 30’s. Sensei took the green belts through Pinan Godan over a couple of sessions, and our keen-eyed photographer snapped a good example of him demonstrating the jump! Amongst the syllabus work we went through; we also took time to introduce students to Ukemi (break fall). The venue we rented (Jubilee High School in Addlestone) had some good mats to try this on, but as it was only an introduction, we focussed on soft falls, from kneeling, including forwards, backwards and sideways rolling to a guard position working on keeping our hands up. Demonstrations on how this can then be used to defend from the floor were given, and the intention is to do more of these kinds of sessions to help build up confidence and ability.

One of the common threads through the week was the use of the pads, this was partly because the kids enjoy the freedom of being able to strike a target, but also the focus was on accuracy and balance ahead of power. Sensei used the pads to help our young students understand the starting principles of jiyu kumite, and the idea that when attacking, the opponent will respond. It was encouraging to start to see students realise the importance of staying focussed during these drills and see their reaction times improve as well. At the end of the week, and to burn off any remaining energy, we did a kicking competition whereby points were awarded for chudan (5pts) and jodan (10pts) keri waza, within a 30 second period. Thankfully I didn’t disgrace myself compared to the kids!

The week culminated with two of our red belt students passing their 8th kyu grade. Being twins, they are always competitive, and it was great to see them both do so well. We’re hopeful that the summer camp will act as a starting point for more training like this, to complement the weekly classes and ensure during holiday periods students can continue with their karate journey.

Another positive from the week was being able to design and print some Shikukai T-Shirts. Using the new logo which designer Frank Parry has assisted with, we produced a small batch which the camp attendees were presented with.

My thanks to Richard Barham Sensei for his support in the weeks leading up to the course, and for his help at the camp itself.

Colin Batchelor