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British IKO Summer Camp 2018

July 14 2018

Osu!

This year’s Summer Camp was organised by Wales Kyokushin and took place in Brecon, a small town on the edge of a large National Park. Tohyama Sensei was invited to teach there and Greg, Masami, Tudor and myself took part in the camp.

Greg, Masami and myself rallied the location thanks to Tudor and his great driving skills. After under four hours on the road, with the unavoidable rain when crossing the Welsh border, we made it to the venue, Christ College, and were greeted by the organisers who showed us around. The sun was set to shine for the whole weekend on this beautiful location.

After settling in our individual rooms, we soon gathered around the UK Shihans in a large sports hall and the first class started. It primarily focused on Kihon and Kata and served as a preparation for the following day’s grading. Following dinner, a second, outdoors class led by Shihan Mac Robertson took place. Our attention was brought to some simple Katas, Taikyoku Sono 1 in particular, and how these could be performed in different manners, on the spot, starting from the right-hand side or from the last movement, etc. The training stopped just after 10pm and we soon went for a short night sleep.

On the Saturday, the first training started at 6:30am and was led by Shihan Mac. We were taught about various topics including relaxation, how to engage different muscle groups and did some light exercise. After breakfast, as Greg, Masami and myself were grading, we sat for a written test about knowledge of Kyokushin Karate. We then went through the technical part of the grading in front of Shihan Jo Claronino and Shihan Paul Greenway. Although we were familiar with most of the techniques that we had to perform, some were more unexpected, such as Ryuto Ken Tsuki, Hitoashi Yubi Ippon Ken, etc. We also went through the Katas of our grade and I believe that overall the performance of the Tohyama Dojo students was reasonable.

Following a rapid lunch, we met Tohyama Sensei who had just arrived and we got prepared for the Kumite test. When entering the sports hall, the atmosphere felt different from before. We started with some physical exercise including press-ups, abs and squats and then the Kumite rounds started. There again I feel that our performances were within the expectations. We moved on back with the other students to do some kicking techniques and a few more rounds of Kumite where my lack of focus led me to get kicked in the face and come back home with a nice black eye.

As this was the last session of the day, we then went for some pleasant social time with Sensei and enjoyed discussions about Karate and refexions about the summer camp.

The last morning of the Camp started with a training at 6:30am and was led by Shihan Mac, who took us through some basic Bo techniques. Following breakfast, we went for the last session before leaving. It was shared between the different Shihans and Sensei Tohyama, who had a 30min slot. Although time was limited, it was striking to see how Sensei energised the class whilst going through Kihon with loud and powerful Kiai. The focus of the whole hall was pretty obvious and it was clear that some students had never been trained in that way before. Shihan Martin Marlborough followed soon after with some very interesting techniques of self-defense that we do not always know about.

We left soon after the last training and stopped on the motorway for a quick meal and a review of the Camp and of our grading.

In my view, we have learnt a lot during this Camp and I firmly believe that training with different students and different instructors is always an enriching experience. One key learning is that we are extremely lucky to be training under Tohyama Sensei’s instructions, his teachings have allowed us to pass our grading tests and most importantly they keep our focus on the importance of day-to-day hard training in the Dojo as we have been doing for years.

Osu!

Pierre Fichelson