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North East Open Karate Championships

On Sunday 20th March 2016 the club hosted it’s biggest Karate event so far at the Dolphin Centre in Darlington.

The North East Open Karate Championships (formerly the Hartlepool Open…) attracted 41 teams and 570 competitor entries from across the length and breadth of the land, despite there being a number of high profile European championships (Dutch Open, Swedish Open, Toulouse) taking place & a small Wadokai England team competing in Japan over the same weekend (Suguira Cup), all of which had competitors who would normally support our championships.

The 570 competitor entries were all done by 5pm across 6 areas (including 90 mins for Cadet, Junior & Senior (14yrs+) Kumite finals on one area for a showcase under the spot lights, so we could have finished much earlier. This was thanks to the hard work of our resident Tatami Chief, Harold Stephenson and his team of dedicated officials.

We lost an hour of mat time (& half our refs!) on the morning because of those bloody A1(M) diversions. I’m disappointed with this because we cleared 500 entries over 3 Tatami by 6.30pm last year – we can improve on this massively, a few too many unnecessary delays. We’ll be tweaking the Pee Wee categories to stop clashes for the next event, we will also be looking at the showcase finals to keep it down to (hopefully) about 40mins or so in future.  

I would like to personally thank every official who travelled to support us, competitions simple can’t run without your support and expertise. Our awesome Hartlepool Wadokai volunteers who ran the tables and helped with set-up (& rebuilding the Dojo HQ after the event). Thanks must also go to Dave Tarleton-Hodgson (who we borrowed from Kobukan Darlington club) who was a massive help manning the microphone and helping on the control table, making sure everyone was where they needed to be all day.

Thank you to our up and coming Hartlepool Wadokai coaches who supported our own team, you guys did great (& helped us finish a respectable 4th in the medal table). Thank you to Paul Suggitt and his team of medics, and the rest of our amazing support staff.

Thank you to the clubs/associations who have supported the event to make this the biggest event we have hosted so far. The feedback has been very positive, and the venue is much bigger and better for our growing needs.

 

Finally, thank you so much to all of our corporate sponsors for the championships, simply put, without whom the event wouldn’t have been able to run.

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RESULTS

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North East Open 20.03.16 Individual RESULTS

North East Open 20.03.16 Team & Pairs RESULTS

All Results

Professional Photographer – Michael Thompson

Michael has posted over 1400 images on his website where you can choose an image to purchase. Contact Michael on sales@michaelsphotography.co.uk Photos with mount £8.00 three for £20.00. Contact telephone 07789440601

Michael’s Event Photography Website

 

Hopefully you can join us at our Summer championships on 21st August at the same venue & our very special Tyne & Wear Invitational Championships @ Nissan on Sunday 27th November.

 

 


Sensei Lee Minion course

On Saturday 5th March we had the pleasure of hosting a Master’s course with Sensei Lee Minion.

Sensei Minion is one of the Wadokai England coaches and Aiwakai Dan Grade examiners, he also has an extensive knowledge of practical Karate. This means that his courses can cover pretty much everything you need to work on, from beginners right through to the instructors. It’s an absolute privilege to be able to have Sensei is our own Dojo teaching, and is especially great not to have to travel for hours for the course.

The seniors had a warm up which mostly consisted of various moving exercises, which reminded me of the way that Kazutaka Ohtsuka Sensei led his warm up when I last trained with him. Basically, if the body is too rigid, the Karate isn’t going to flow or work.

We covered basics and a bit of Kata, then moved onto pairs work (Kihon’s and Kumite). We finished with some practical work and a tiny bit of conditioning.

Sensei was teaching methodology throughout (rather than just beasting everyone), this really helped those carrying injuries to stay involved but more importantly, it means that the club instructors will have more ‘take aways’ which they can apply in their clubs.

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The juniors got to cover things we don’t normally get chance to in classes. They were buzzing after their 2 hour session, and more than one asked for another chance to train with Sensei soon, always a good sign.

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Thank you very much to all the students who supported the course, especially since it was part funded by the club fundraising pot.

Special thanks to Anjalee (Kihon-do), Joe and Matt (Newcastle) and Stuart (DKA) for also supporting.

An extra special thanks to Wendy, for keeping an eye on Perrin and Joe whilst his parents both trained too 🙂

We’ll let you know when the next one is…


North East Open Championships

On Sunday 20th March we will be running the North East Open Karate Championships.

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This year we have moved the event to Darlington because the venue is much bigger than anything Hartlepool currently has to offer. The venue for the event is the Dolphin Centre, this has bars, cafes, swimming pools etc… But it also has a massive hall where we’ll be having 6 areas set up.

This should be the biggest event we’ve ever hosted so it should be fun.

We are one of the best value karate competitions running this year (entry and spectator fees) so we are expecting the event to be popular.

With that in mind, we are limiting the entries to make sure we finish at a reasonable time, are able to run the WKF Kumite Finals Showcase without any time pressure, and to allow for any natural delays that can occur from using a new venue.

We are therefore asking all clubs and associations to submit entries as soon as possible, as late entries may not be accepted. Thanks for your help, let’s have a great championship!

Contact northeastopen@yahoo.co.uk for an entry form.

Contact Carl on 07984 798634 for any enquiries.


Club Grading, Feb 2016

Today we had 26 Karate students successfully grade for their next belts at the club.

Some of the lower grades were very nervous when they walked into the Dojo this morning, so it was great to see them all dig in and pass their grades, some even achieving 1st class passes.

Well done to every one of you. Please take on board any feedback you’ve been given by the instructors and apply it to your training so you continue making good progress through the grades.

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We somehow forgot to take a picture of Paul, Leyton and Victoria who also passed today – sorry guys.

The next grade is going to be in May, we have a pencilled in date but are waiting for confirmation of Sensei Michael’s shifts from his workplace.


Call everyone Dave day…

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Just a quick note to thank everyone who took part in Dave Day at the club, it means a lot.


Hartlepool Wadokai Start of Year course

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On Sunday 10th January we ran our annual Start of Year course, or Shinnenkai. This is a borrowed tradition from Japan whereby students get together in the Dojo to ‘kick start’ the year in a really positive way.

We were particularly pleased with the number of beginners training, with this being the longest most of them have trained in Karate in one go. Because it was a longer session than normal, we could cover a lot more, with students able to progress to the next Kata, and some tried sparring for the first time and do some aspects of Karate that we don’t always have time to cover in weekly sessions.

Also, a special mention to some of our elite students. They were training in Leicester yesterday with the Wadokai England squad, and despite this being their sixth day of Karate training in the last 7 days (we let them have Thursday off), they still made it to the course. That’s dedication.

Well done.

Sensei Lynne


BBC @ our Dojo HQ

Over the past few days our Karate club (Hartlepool Wadokai) has been visited by both BBC Tees (Radio) and BBC Newcastle (TV), and it’s all because of the FREE first aid courses that are taking place here. Paul Suggitt and team are delivering these sessions on Thursday evenings (6-10pm) and selected Saturdays (2-6pm).

TV First Aid

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06nqp0g/look-north-north-east-and-cumbria-14112015

There was also a good piece on BBC Tees radio breakfast show too:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0373x68#play

If you would like to book up on one of these completely FREE courses then please contact Paul on 07920114204 or Carl on 07984 798634.


Dan Grading

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On Tuesday we were able to award Joel Copeman and Roy Salmons their JKF-Wadokai Dan Grading certificates.

Both passed their black belt test under the watchful eye of Sakagami Sensei, 8th Dan and his team of examiners back in June at the Aiwakai Summer Course that we hosted at our dojo HQ.

Well done once again guys, you worked really hard for this and you should feel proud of reaching this milestone in your training. It’s great to see that you’ve both continued training hard too.


Wadokai European Championships

Hartlepool Mail report

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Free First Aid courses

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Free first aid course availability update, Hartlepool

First Aid Poster No2A CARL CONTACT


Free First Aid training

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Due to unprecedented demand, there are now more dates available. These are still filling up fast.


Free first aid courses on offer in Hartlepool

First Aid Poster CARL CONTACT


101 ways to be a terrific sports parent…

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This is the most recent book that I have just finished reading, ‘101 ways to be a terrific sports parent’ by Dr Joel Fish (it can be purchased here). It’s been very informative and is highly recommended to any parent who would like to better support their child’s journey in sports.

I referenced Dr Fish’ work in my sports degree so I bought this book ages ago, it’s only lately that I’ve finally got around to reading it though. As this book states, sport, especially over the past few decades has become a highly structured and organised activity, rather than kids just playing games. There is an argument that because ‘sport’ takes up so much of a parent’s time (and money), they in return expect much more as a result. Similarly, I read an article the other day (I can’t remember where, if/when I come across it again I’ll post the link) that said that basically, because of the widespread availability of contraception, people are now able choose when they have children. As this is a decision that has often been made by the parents, rather than something that just happens, they want the experience of being a parent to be as great/worthwhile/rewarding as it can be, rather than a more ‘free range’ parenting style of previous generations.

Anyway, I feel like I’ve learned quite a bit from this book, and it’s given me a better appreciation of our students, in particular our elite athletes. We live in a very interesting time for sport, it takes up much more of our time and effort. There are also record numbers of children involved in sport, at all levels. The flip side of this is that there are also record numbers of children dropping out of sport, especially teenagers. Dr Fish points to research that suggests that kids are dropping out because they’re not having fun, and that kids now feel too much pressure to win. Parents are arguably the number 1 factor in a child enjoying their sporting experience or not.

Takeaways – awareness

I believe that the first chapter is the most important. It explains why parents are the most important influence in a child’s sporting journey and asks or challenges parent’s to be more aware of their own motivations and how they directly and indirectly influence their child through word or deed. Parent’s (& other coaches) should definitely read the entire book, but here are a few takeaway points that I’ve witnessed either with our own students/parents, or at competitions that I’ve helped officiate at.

‘Be a parent, not a coach’

  • it’s hard for a parent not to try and solve your child’s problems, but kids need a cheerleader and support. They don’t need to hear from you that they should have used a reverse punch instead of a roundhouse kick to win. They have a coach to give them the relevant technical feedback. .

‘Give your child unconditional love, no matter what happens on the field’

  • Too many kids are getting pressure rather than love. ‘Pressure to win, pressure to excel… pressure to make mom and dad proud’.

‘Remember the reasons to play sport outside of winning’

  • We as coaches try to instil a ‘try to win’ and ‘want to win’ mindset into our athletes. But we try to do this in a way that isn’t focussed on winning to the detriment of everything else. It’s worth noting that in a typical Karate competition, only four athletes per category will take home a medal. The Karate competition system that we use is imperfect, even when using repêchage it doesn’t necessarily mean that the ‘best’ four are the ones who get the medals. e.g. you could have all the strong competitors in the top half of the draw, and all the weaker ones in the bottom, purely by chance. Through the rounds you would end up with two ‘weaker’ athletes taking home a silver and bronze medal.
  • If parents and athletes are only focussed on winning, they could easily perform very well, but lose heart (and ultimately drop out of the sport altogether), purely through the ‘luck of the competition draw’.
  • (Note: I use the term ‘best’ and ‘weaker’ here for clarity of the explanation only)

‘Beware of going overboard’ (I’ve copied this bit as-is)

…common signs that you’re overboard as a sports parent. You:

  • find yourself talking more about your child’s sport than your child.
  • are highly critical of your child’s coach.
  • talk to your child more like a coach than a parent (i.e. always giving advice, instruction, and critiques)
  • constantly tell your child to practise more.
  • seem more emotionally invested in the sport than your child (i.e., you get more upset than he or she does about a lost match or performance mistakes).
  • get a great deal of status and prestige from your child’s athletic accomplishments.
  • believe that if your child just tried harder he or she could be successful at sports.
  • aren’t hearing what you’re child is telling you.

Takeaways – competition

‘Competition is not good or bad, it’s how your child learns to handle it’

  • Handling pressure situations is a life skill, and parents can help guide their children through it, using sport as the tool.

‘Avoid the competitive parenting trap’

  • The Stereophonics have a lyric in a song that sums this up perfectly: ‘…if I had myself a flying giraffe
    you’d have one in a box with a window’ 

Takeaways – performance 

‘Practise doesn’t always make perfect’

  • There are many reasons for not winning a particular match, on a particular day. What we’re aiming for at the club is excellence,  not perfection.

‘Watch for burnout’

  • Parents are better positioned to see burnout in their children than coaches. This is an important consideration for year round sports like Karate. Watch for things like over training, not having as much fun as they once did, expects too much from themselves, feels under pressure.
  • Consider having a ‘season’ off, whether the child wants it or not. e.g. you might decide that your child will not compete in Winter (Dec-Feb: this is something that most club athletes do anyway).

Takeaways – coaching concerns

‘Your goal is to have a positive relationship with a coach’

  • Treat your child’s coach with the same courtesy and respect you would their teacher (Karate thankfully isn’t as bad as some sports where you see parents having shouting matches at coaches)
  • Be careful about how you talk about the club/coach/officials/other athletes/other clubs, especially when around your child. Always be respectful or you could undermine your child’s desire to take part in sport altogether, or even undermine their faith in their coach or the match officials. It doesn’t help any one. If you need to vent, do it in private.
  • Advocate for your child, but set limits. Try to teach your child to talk to the coach directly. Parent’s shouldn’t be calling the coach after every session/competition for a ‘debrief’.
  • Teach your children how to resolve conflict themselves, rather than getting involved when they fall out with team mates.
  • Help teach your child how to deal with the perfectly natural feelings of jealously. We weren’t all born with the same athletic talents, the same intellect or the same good looks (..or whatever), in Karate it’s worth remembering that two children who may start training at the same time, are very unlikely to grade at the same rate throughout their Karate journey, and in the grand scheme of things, the belt colour, or how many shiny medals someone has is completely unimportant. Parents have a role to play in helping children overcome these feelings and ensuring it doesn’t harm their own personal development.

Takeaways – Injury

This is one section in particular that parents should read carefully. We’ve seen instances where athletes have used ‘injury’ to opt out of events. Adults do it all the time, ‘I can’t go to the gym today because I’ve erm… hurt my leg’. Usually there is something underlying, parents can help their children cope with the pressure of competition and dealing with any fear they may have of entering specific events, or coming up against certain opponents.

It’s important to seek medical advice when appropriate and to avoid any training that will aggravate any injury. No competition or grading is ever worth becoming seriously hurt.

Summary

There are some interesting chapters covering family issues, sibling rivalry, self esteem and quitting sport that I haven’t even touched on. I could go on writing to try and do these sections justice but I’d probably be breaching copy-write rules. This is a useful resource for parents to help guide their children so again, I urge you to read the full book.

The book I’m now reading is Positive Pushing (Taylor, 2002).


Hartlepool Wadokai Autumn Club-only championships

Saturday 3rd October

Yesterday we had our Autumn Club only championships. This was the biggest club competition we’ve had in recent years with 52 students entered, and 96 individual competitor entries.

The students were given a short warm up by Sensei Amy before we started the 3 Kata events.

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Kata – beginners
1st – Leland Smith
2nd – Rachel Starrs
3rd – Oliver Long
3rd – Josh Bearby

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Kata – intermediate
1st – Leyton Davis
2nd – Diego Bautista
3rd – Jack Solomon
3rd – Oakley Lindridge

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Kata – advanced
1st – Lewis Muldown
2nd – Joe Hind
3rd – Harvey Kerridge
3rd – Daniel White

Following Kata was the Kick master, this is where the students attack a free standing kick bag for 30 seconds, they need to show off their punches and kicks and the person that performs the best goes through to the next round.

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Karate Kick master
1st – Pennie Carter
2nd – Roman Scott
3rd – Leland Smith
3rd – Bailey Thornhill

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Little Ninjas Kick master
1st – Sheena Takhar
2nd – Ethan Hold
3rd – Elliott Briggs
3rd – Joel Turner

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Kumite 9 years & under
1st – Leyton Davis
2nd – Oliver Long
3rd – Pennie Carter
3rd – Bailey Thornhill

Kumite 10-12 years MALE
1st – Joe Flounders
2nd – Josh Bearby
3rd – Jack Solomon
3rd – Oakley Lindridge

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Kumite 10-12 years FEMALE
1st – Mollie Cooper
2nd – Charlotte Brown
3rd – Keira Dore
3rd – Lucy Carter

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Kumite 13-15 years
1st – Joe Hind
2nd – Conor Butterfield
3rd – Harvey Kerridge
3rd – Diego Bautista

The 10-12 years MALE kumite event was my personal favourite, because it had some edge of your seat matches, there are some very strong fighters coming through.

It’s always great to see the beginners getting on the mat for the very first time too, how they learn to cope with the pressure of performance, and it’s even better when they can walk off the mat, win or lose with a smile on their face because they’ve given it everything they could.

Summary
All in all, it was a good day. The students got some valuable competition experience, with many competing for the very first time.

From an organisational perspective, we will be sticking to awarding medals after each event from now on, saves time rounding up students later on.

Development
In 2016 we will be running 3 club only championships (February, June/July, October) so we ask for your support in them – the dates will be in the next club newsletter.

Those who perform in the club only events should consider entering bigger and more challenging events. Next year the club will also be running the North East Open Championships (20th March, Dolphin Centre, Darlington), and a big event in November.

Additionally students may be selected by Sensei Amy to train with the Hartlepool Wadokai Squad, attend Wadokai England sessions and/or English Karate Federation (all style) sessions.

Thanks
Thank you to Lynne, Michael, Amy and Roy for helping with judging and the volunteers for helping to set up, clean up and man the tables through the event.

Thank you especially to the students who accepted the challenge and entered the competition, and your good sportsmanship throughout.

Finally, thank you to the parents and supporters who encouraged and comforted the students before, during and after the events. It can be a real nerve wracking experience and the parents have a vital role to play in ensuring that Karate competition (whether students win or lose) are positive experiences. From personal experience, my most memorable fights and best performances weren’t neccesarily the ones I won.


Wado-UK championships, Hull

All six of our squad guys headed to the Wado-UK championships in Hull last Sunday.

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The competition was really well organised and ran exceptionally well (especially Tatami 5, which Sensei Carl was helping judge on 🙂 ),  meaning we were done and dusted by about 4.30pm.
It also had a nice and relaxed atmosphere, with Steve being the best tannoy guy I’ve heard… The entry numbers have been bigger but many of the categories had a really good mix of novice through to elite level athletes in, it was just unfortunate if you got an elite guy in round one (Paul in Kata).

All six guys had a good day, with very strong performances in Kata and Kumite. We also managed to get video footage of almost every performance too, so we were able to analyse them at the Monday competition class.

We’ve had more medals from different competitions and it’s always nice to be rewarded for good performances with medals, but I think it’s more important to keep challenging yourself as an athlete, keep entering bigger and tougher events so that you’re always improving. It might not massage the ego quite the same but at least real progress is made.

That being said, we did achieve some medal placings, and could have had more if fights went slightly different, or if the odd flag was the other way. That’s the way it goes, guys just need to keep sharpening their Kata technique and working in their Kumite ring craft and tactics.

Well done.

Medals:
Joe Flounders – 3rd Kata, best 8 Kumite
Lewis Muldown – 3rd Kumite
Paul White – 3rd Kumite


Annual Sponsored Walk

Last weekend we had our annual sponsored walk. This is our main fundraising event of the year so it’s very important that we get the support of the students and their families.

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The weather was very kind whilst we walked from the dojo, along the promenade to Seaton, and then back again.

We had a good turnout and it was great to see so many of the Little Ninjas on the walk too.

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After the walk we had a bit of a social at the dojo, with cakes for sale and a raffle, all contributions going to the fundraising pot.

On behalf of the club I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who went on the walk, and everyone who made cakes for afterwards too.

Any funds allow us to replace and but new equipment for the club, and subsidies courses, competitions and travelling. So please ensure you bring your sponsors in to the club as soon as you can. 


Club Grading, September 2015

We’ve had a busy week of grading at the club. We normally have gradings over a weekend but the Karate calendar is so full that we’ve had to squeeze it in on an evening instead, alongside the normal classes (thankfully we had the space and instructors to do this).

We did manage to fit in the Little Ninjas grading on Sunday, so it was that our youngest led the way in the week of assessments.

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(a couple of Ninjas are missing from the group photo as they had to rush off to a wedding).

Tuesday evening was our beginners grade with students achieving up to yellow belt (8th kyu).

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Wednesday we only had Diego grading, who achieved Green & White belt.

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Friday was the advanced grading, with Sam, Oakley, Paul, Harvey & Joe H all grading. Harvey and Joe H achieved 1st kyu, which means their next grading will see them attempting their 1st Dan black belts.

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Well done everyone.

For those who weren’t quite ready for this one, we have another club grading planned for the end of October (just need to double check Sensei Michael’s work rota). Keep training hard folks.

Thank you to the ‘stitched-up’ parents who helped keep an eye on Perrin and Joe (meaning that we instructors could run classes and exams simultaneously).

We have the club’s annual sponsored walk taking place today (Saturday 26th) and some of us will be heading to Hull tomorrow for the Wado-UK championships too.


Summer Camp 2015

We’ve just finished this year’s summer camp. This was a cracking week of Karate training and loads of team building games and activities – all of which help their Karate in some way.

As instructors, it’s been good to be able to train with the same group across 9 training sessions over the week (and even more for those who came back for regular classes on the evenings).

We used a lot of the popular activities from the camp last summer but we also brought in a lot of new ones too, including the giant assault course on the last day.

It’s been great to see the students getting on so well and working as teams, especially considering quite a few beginners joined us on the camp.

On behalf of the instructors, I’d like to thank everyone who came along to the camp, were such good sports, and worked so hard all week. Well done.

Also, a massive congratulations to Team Harvey (Harvey, Megan, Lucy, Dylan, Adam & Leland) on being the winning team after 14 challenging team activities.

2nd place – Team Jacob/Diego = Jago
(Jacob, Joe, Georgia, Will, Roman, Thomas, Diego)

3rd place – Team Joe
(Joe H, Jack, David, Pennie, Jayme, Victor, Josh)

4th place – Team Daniel (Daniel was last year’s champion captain)
(Daniel, Aimee, Mollie, Joshua, Ben, Summer-Joy)

We might be running a 3 day camp during the October half term holidays but this is still to be confirmed.


High Five Harvey

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Massive well done to Harvey Kerridge on being awarded Student of the Year for Sport & Arts at the Dyke House School awards night tonight. Really well deserved, he’s a good lad, and works really hard and the only real criticism of him is his silly haircut. #HighFive #GoodJob


Wadokai England – Selections part 3

Saturday 11th July 2015

The final Wadokai England selections have been completed today in Leicester. Our guys were all selecting for Team or Pairs Kata to compete at the Federation European Wadokai Championships in Budapest in October. Carl (along with Sensei  Mick Ryde from Ripley) was also mirror judging the final Kumite selections and a giant Team Kumite match made up of 18 of the England fighters heading to Japan in a few weeks for the Wado World Cup.

Well done to Lewis Muldown who has maintained his positions on the squad from last year, well done to Joe F who maintained his Kumite position and also got selected for individual and Team Kata. Also a massive high five to both Joe H and Harvey on being selected to the Wadokai England team for the first time.

  • Joe Flounders – Selected for individual Kata, Team Kata, individual Kumite
  • Joe Hind – Selected for individual Kata, Team Kata
  • Harvey Kerridge – Selected for Pairs Kata, individual Kumite
  • Lewis Muldown – Selected for individual Kata, Team Kata, individual Kumite

Unfortunately, both Paul White and Daniel Spires were unsuccessful this time around in the very competitive 14-15 year category, this was possibly made more difficult by being a Wado World Cup year. Daniel also stepped up to this age group this year after winning 12-13 year Male Team Kata Gold at last year’s European Championships in Reading, this is Paul’s first year of training and competing with the squad.

As you can expect, this is disappointing for them both, especially given all the hard work they’ve put into their Karate this year and their successes in recent championships. Thankfully they are tough lads, and they know that this is just one small part of what they train so hard for.They will therefore bounce back from this with more focus and determination in their training, no doubt twice as hard as previously. Both, along with most of the other lads above will continue working towards the British Karate Federation Championships early in September and a number of other events after that.

Well done guys, no rest though as we have our Club-Only Summer Championships tomorrow at the Dojo. See you then.


Sensei Keith Walker course

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Saturday 4th July 2015 saw the return of Sensei Keith Walker to the club for another excellent Wado Masters course.

Thank you to Sensei for once again coming to Hartlepool, and to those from other clubs who made the journey to support the event. Thank you also to our students who came along to train too.

The course started with full body exercises to get us moving, with a particular emphasis on keeping the hips low and went on to cover the centre line in detail, especially whilst practising basics. This was broken down by taking junzuki-dachi to a neutral position at the half way point, before finishing. The centre being key to the entire movement, and not allowing the punch to drag the body into place, but rather have the hips be the driving force. Body torque was also covered extensively, in particular with gyakuzuki (reverse punch), and neko-ashi-dachi (cat stance), again with an emphasis on the centre line and relaxation.

All the basics were really an exercise in internal relaxation and movement, fundamental to Wado and the difference between being able to deliver maximum force into an opponent with minimal effort and, well, hurting yourself. The basics naturally progressed to Kata where it was actually quite difficult to put our learnings from single movements into a complete Kata – much more practise required.

anatomical-position

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I think a lot of Karate training, in particular the sport side focuses too much on the ‘external’ i.e. what a technique looks like, what silhouette your body makes etc… we tend to train hard on making these shapes and build up strong muscles but are we actually causing more harm? is our typical training overemphasising muscle development over relaxation? causing muscle imbalances and alignment problems? There’s a really interesting graphic on the Internal Power Facebook page which summarises this point perfectly.

Wado should really be about using the centre and being relaxed. Learning how to teach these two elements better to our students is vital, else Wado Karate will simply become another ‘sport’.

Box Kata

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This exercise (which I’ve stolen and dubbed ‘Box Kata’) was all about focusing on the movement of the body rather than the shape of the technique. As Sensei explained, when performing a Kata, we are often focussed on the end result, the shape of the technique rather than how the body actually gets from A-B.

We performed a Kata inside a small 3x3m box marked on the floor with belts, the Kata movements could be performed in any direction, rather than sticking to the Kata structure. To keep things interesting, there were 3 students inside the box, all practising at the same time. Unfortunately we weren’t supposed to step on the belts, or strike through our team if they got in the way. It was an interesting lesson in Zanshin (awareness) as well as taking note of the way the body moves.

We progressed to more difficult Kata, and, with an even smaller box marked out, solo Kushanku (quite a long Kata, with multiple dynamic changes of body position and direction).

Pairs

Sensei gave a Masterclass in Kihon Kumite which I’m not even going to try to explain in detail. He basically showed how the exercises work on the simple premise of working your opponent on the inside or outside with either a gedan, chudan or jodan strike, whilst using the mechanics of the body maximally rather than making pretty shapes, no bells and whistles, but effective.

Another excellent course, and once again I personally learned tons.

We will hopefully be able to get Sensei Keith Walker up to the club again over the next few months, we’ve got a crammed calendar but we’ll see what we can do.


WadoFit – Fitness classes for all…

WadoFit Poster Image

We are launching our brand new Fitness sessions (under the WadoFit banner) from Friday 10th July. These classes will help you achieve your personal fitness goals, whatever they may be. Please help to spread the word, and come along and give the class a try.


TASK Open Karate Championships, Billingham

Sunday 28th June 2015

On Sunday the club entered four athletes (Harvey, Joe H, Paul and Lewis) into the TASK Open at Billingham Forum. The lads didn’t disappoint with all performing well and all bringing back trophies…

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Photo courtesy of Ian White

Results

Joe Hind – Silver Kata, Silver Pairs Kata, Bronze Kumite, Gold Team Kumite

Harvey Kerridge – Silver Pairs Kata,

Paul White – Gold Kumite

Lewis Muldown – Gold Kata, Silver Kumite

Report

Joe lost his Kata final to a European champion, nothing wrong with that… Paul had a tough first round draw, losing to the category champion and no repercharge. Harvey lost in the third round to one of the category finalists, just missing out on a medal place.  Lewis met Wadokai England team mate Rebecca Boakes (Sakura Karate Academy) in the semi’s before going on to secure Gold.

Joe lost in the Kumite semi’s against the same lad who beat him in the Kata final, score was tied 4-4, but Joe lost out at Hantai (judges decision), but he must have impressed, because he was asked to join his fight team later on in the day – where they won Team Gold! Harvey unfortunately didn’t get through the rounds due to Hantai going against him. Paul didn’t drop any points on the way to his Kumite final, which he took Gold in.

Thanks to Graham for looking after the athletes and Rachel for the real-time updates whilst Amy and I were at our friends engagement party.