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.
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.
Image from indigosociety.com
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’.
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).
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.
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…
Photo courtesy of Ian White
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
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.
(Photo borrowed from the Leeds Wadokai facebook page)
Saturday 27th June 2015
Over the weekend several members (Beth, Roy, Lewis, Carl) of Hartlepool Wadokai were able to train with Sugasawa Sensei, one of the original students of the late Wado Ryu founder Ohtsuka Sensei. The course was planned to only include a small number of students to ensure maximum opportunities for feedback from Sensei. I would like to particularly thank Mark Gallagher for arranging and hosting the course, and of course for the invite, it’s always nice to have (relatively) local events, especially with the Wado greats.
Sugasawa Sensei explains Wado principles in detail and links even the most basic of warm up exercises to the art. It’s also interesting to see the differences and similarities of Wado-Kai and Wado-Ryu, despite having the same origin. I always come away from training with him feeling humbled, but massively enthusiastic at how much there is still to learn and how we often just scratch the surface of Wado in our general training.
As always when training with Sugasawa Sensei, I had a few ‘lightbulb’ moments when elements of my own private training and study linked perfectly with what was discussed or demonstrated.
“Don’t waste your training” (Ohtsuka Sensei)
It was a shame that we couldn’t stay over for the full weekend course but our club has such a busy calendar that there are always clashes. It was good to have chance to grab a coffee and have a chat before we headed back to the far North. I think the Hartlepool Youth (Beth, Roy, Lewis) were dazed and confused about some of the Wado history discussion taking place, but I really could have stayed and chatted all night. Very interesting stuff.
Sensei Keith Walker also brought along some old UKKW newsletters, most were older than I am! There were some really interesting articles about ‘best practise’, correct warm-ups and possibly the first ever article on Karate fight analysis – exactly the same as what I wrote my Dissertation on, if only I’d known about the article then.
Looking forward to the next one now…
Karate competition is a great way to challenge yourself and to test your training. It can also help keep children motivated in their training and give them something to aim for, helping to teach them valuable life skills such as good sportsmanship and determination, all whilst making new friends and stretching their abilities.
This competition is only for our club members and Little Ninjas to take part in. It’s therefore a perfect opportunity to see what Karate competitions are all about.
The event is very relaxed and the club instructors (who are also nationally qualified judges/referees) will be explaining the competition rules in detail so that students and parents know what is going on, what judges look for and how you can help your child progress in Karate competition. The younger students will also get to see some of the older ones in action too.
—The best way of learning how to do something is to just give it a go, if we always waited until we were experts before trying something, well, nothing would ever get done!—
The Little Ninjas will have their own Kick Master category, so they won’t be competing against the Karate kids.
All entries need to be submitted and paid for in advance of the competition, strictly no entries on the day.
Please speak to one of the instructors for more information.
As you may be aware, the club is having a camping trip at Park Foot Ullswater campsite over the coming Bank Holiday weekend (Fri 22nd-Mon 25th May), everyone is welcome to come along (please visit http://www.parkfootullswater.co.uk/ for bookings). Because of this event, the club will be closed on Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd & Monday 25th May.
We hope that you can join us at the camping weekend but if not, then we hope you’ll have a great and relaxing Bank Holiday weekend.
Please note that the Karate & Little Ninja classes are on as normal during half term from Tuesday – Saturday.
If you have any Karate queries then contact Carl on 07984 798634 or contact Amy on 07926 045935 for Little Ninja queries.
Sunday 17th May 2015
Our most recent club grading was carried out on Sunday 17th March, at Dojo HQ. We had 13 Little Ninjas and 21 Karate students all successfully achieving their next belts. Well done guys, it shows what can be achieved with hard work and commitment.
Lily F – Red & White
Ben T – Red & White
Joe C – Red & White
Natalia B – Red & White
Georgia B – Red & White
Jakub B – Red & White
Oliver TD – 9th kyu
AJ M – 9th kyu
Kai P – 9th Kyu
Alex C – 9th Kyu
Jack W – 9th Kyu
Alfie W – Yellow & White
Bailey T – Yellow & White
Alex W – Yellow & White
Dylan T – Yellow & White
Keira D – Yellow & White
Richard Chapman – 8th Kyu
Megan S – 6th Kyu
Leyton D – Blue & White
Mollie C – 4th Kyu
Joseph F – 4th Kyu
The next ‘catch up’ club grading will take place over w/c 15th June for selected students, full details are available at the club.
Well done to all the Karate students and Little Ninjas who graded today at the club. It’s always great to see students working hard, progressing through the grades and leaving with a huge smile on their faces.
5 Little Ninjas graded & 11 Karate students, as follows:
NINJAS – White & Red belt: Noah Parkes, Ethan Hold, Ben Sotheran, Jake Chapman
NINJAS – White & Yellow belt: Evan Carney
Red & White belt: Samara Cartright, Rachel Starrs
9th Kyu – Red belt: Brenden Garrens, Finlay Lindridge, Anastasia Rogan
Yellow & White belt: Roman Scott, David Robson
8th Kyu – Yellow belt: Bailey Carter
Orange and White belt: Harry Wilson
7th Kyu – Orange belt: Adam Spires
6th Kyu – Green belt: Will Davidson
The next scheduled club grading is in May but we have a large number of new starters so we are looking at grading some beginners who weren’t quite ready for this one, to grade on an evening whilst the regular classes are on. It will just take a bit of time to pick a date as we have to work around Sensei Michael’s work commitments to ensure we have enough instructors.
Sunday 1st February 2015
Last weekend the club held a small club competition to give our competitors a run out with the latest version of the WKF rules (Version 9, January 2015). This was primarily done for our older, more experienced competitors, and our club officials ahead of our March open championships and the English Karate Federation National Championships in April but the younger students also got some valuable experience on the day too, with many gaining medals for their efforts.
It was only a small competition as we only ran individual Kata, individual Kumite & Kick Master categories which meant that we were done within a few hours. We were also able to explain the rules and decisions as we went so that the parents & students could follow the day better.
I would like to thank all of the club judges, and table officials who gave up their afternoon to volunteer at the competition. I would also like to personally thank the students who were brave enough to enter the competition and support the club. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is stand up on the mat and give it a go, if students never rise to the challenge then they may never know what they’re capable of in karate. I personally think that competition gives us a fantastic opportunity to test ourselves and our skills under pressure, in a controlled setting, and those that never compete are missing out on a massive opportunity to learn and improve.
The next club-run competition is the Hartlepool Wadokai Open Championships, Sunday 22nd March at Belle Cue Sports Centre, Kendal road, Hartlepool, TS25 1QU.
To prepare for this competition, the club is running a 6 week competition Karate course starting this coming Monday 6-7.30pm, see the club for full details and booking (club members only, 10yrs+). This course will cover Kata and Kumite training skills needed to perform well in a competition environment. There are limited spaces so make sure you book up as soon as you can.