On Wednesday 25 March Chelmsford Shotokan Karate Club took part in the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation launch at the Kia Oval, London.
Photo: Chelmsford Students meditate at the end of the Class at the Kia Oval.
In attendance led by Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones were Rosie Caddy, Eric Austin-Coskry, Alexander Lockett, Jamie Lottering, Teah Pope, Romilly Pope, Ella Roberts and Jessica Steadman. They had been invited along with our friends from Dulwich Shotokan Karate Club to take part in the launch on behalf of the English Karate Council (EKC) to which the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) is affiliated.
Photo: The Karate Group from KUGB Chelmsford SKC and KUGB Dulwich SKC
(L-R) Back row: Teah Pope, Jamie Lottering, Tony Hughes, Richard Naylor-Jones, Eric Austin-Coskry. Middle row: Romilly Pope, Jessica Steadman, Nathan Buck, Rosie Caddy, Ella Roberts. Front Row: Rufus Hughes, Imogen Hughes, Alexander Lottering, Felicity Hughes and Esme Buck.
The Charter aims to tackle mental ill health and the stigma that surrounds it using the power of sport and recreation. It emphasises the benefits to mental health and well-being, of an active lifestyle and encourages best practice with the goal to make real progress in tackling issues around mental health.
Sports organisations that include the FA, LTA, RFU, ECB and UK Athletics have signed up to the Charter, as well as professional player associations that include the PFA, RPA and PCA. The EKC and its member bodies, including the KUGB, have also demonstrated their commitment by signing up.
Photo: The Karate Group from KUGB Chelmsford SKC and KUGB Dulwich SKC with the Mental Health Charter
(L-R) Back row: Rosie Caddy, Romilly Pope, Teah Pope, Jamie Lottering, Nathan Buck, Tony Hughes, Eric Austin-Coskry. Front row: Ella Roberts, Jessica Steadman, Alexander Lottering, Ricahrd Naylor-Jones, Rufus Hughes, Esme Buck, Felicity Hughes and Imogen Hughes.
Early Wednesday morning, our Karate students arrived at the Kia Oval. They were there to showcase Karate and its benefits by taking part in a class led by Black Belts Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones (5th Dan) and Sensei Tony Hughes (2nd Dan) from Dulwich SKC. With many dignitaries and the national media watching, the young students were asked to perform Kihon (basic blocks, punches and kicks), Kata (set sequences) and various levels of Kumite (sparring). The young Karateka, aged 7-18 and ranging from beginners through to 2nd Dan Black Belts clearly showed, to those observing, the high level of concentration and passion required to execute each technique. In particular, they drew the attention of Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister.
Photo: Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones leads the Karate class
Photo: Karate Youngsters performing Sanbon Ippon - Basic three attack sparring
Mr Clegg was very keen to meet with these young people to ask them about their Karate training and how it has improved their physical and mental health. They responded positively and enjoyed talking with him. Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones explained that Karate teaches the importance of respect and courtesy and before Mr Clegg left, Richard and the group bowed to him and said ‘Oss’, as a sign of respect, and to thank him for his time. Mr Clegg embraced the concept and returned the bow.
Photo: Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones talks with Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister
Photo: Nick Clegg Deputy Prime Minister is introduced to the Karate youngsters
Photo: Nick Clegg talks with the Karate Youngsters
The Karate students were also invited to take part in two other organised activities - ‘State of Mind’ and ‘Kwik Cricket’.
Photo: Chelmsford's Black and Brown Belts taking part in the Kwik Cricket activity
In turn, pupils from Keyworth Primary School took part in an ‘Introduction to Karate’ class led by Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones. The youngsters were taught a basic block, kick and punch. They were also treated to a display of a Kata by KUGB England International Teah Pope. At the end of an energetic class the pupils were asked to kneel, close their eyes, breath deeply and meditate to calm the body and mind.
Photo: Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones shows the pupils from Keyworth Primary School how to punch
Photo: Pupils from Keyworth Primary School practice a Karate front kick
Photo: Mokusu! Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones and Teah Pope meditate with the pupils from Keyworth Primary School at the end of the class.
With the television cameras present three of our Club’s Karateka, Alexander Lockett (9) Teah Pope (16) and Eric Austin-Coskry (18) along with Dulwich’s Imogen Hughes (11), were interviewed by Lauren Hall from ITV. When asked, they agreed completely with the importance of raising awareness of the Charter, that there should not be discrimination, and that people should be encouraged to be active, with the need to be healthy both physically and mentally.
Photo: Freeze Frame - ITV Television Screen shot of Romilly Pope talking with Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister
The young Karateka also had the chance to talk with other guests who included Clarke Carlisle and Brendon Batson (OBE).
The next day at our training session at Anglia Ruskin University, Sensei Richard took the opportunity to talk with the Chelmsford students to ask them to reflect on yesterday’s event. They were all very pleased they had “been on TV” and were now celebrities amongst their friends, many commented that it was “fun to switch to different activities” and “to learn to play cricket”. To “have met Nick Clegg” was high on their list, and they were in awe that he took time to speak to them and that his son also did Karate. They said they were “proud to represent the club” and to show to “important people at an influential event what we do” in Karate. They were pleased “to be part of such a good cause”, that they made a contribution and that “our Karate demonstration would help the Charter”. They felt that by attending “they were able to raise awareness and help others”. For all of the youngsters it increased their awareness of Mental Health – “it helped me understand mental health issues” and the importance of “being physically healthy and mentally healthy”. Karate strives to develop both the physical and mental character of its students. The maturity and sense of responsibility to others that was evident throughout the conversation was heartwarming.
Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones said “I am very proud that the Club were able to participate in this launch. The importance of physical activity to improve mental health cannot be underestimated. Karate is a martial art that not only helps develop physical fitness but develops mental attitude increasing concentration, confidence, self esteem and can help to alleviate stress. All of our youngsters present can be proud that they acted as ambassadors for the Charter’s launch.”
Photo: #thisgirlcan - the KUGB supports the initiative to get more females into sports so we took the opportunity to take a photograph of our Karate girls whilst at the Kia Oval.
All those representing the EKC/KUGB on the day thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the event and a particular thank you goes to the organisers, the Sport and Recreation Alliance for inviting us to be part of this special occasion. Certainly the fact that it was reported on both national television and in the newspapers demonstrates the importance and attention this initiative deserves.
Footnote: For those interested in seeing the Television reports you can visit our Club’s Facebook site.â€‹