This years annual KUGB Karate Summer School and Karate Kids' Summer Camp took place from 3rd to 7th August at Lancaster University. In attendance from Chelmsford were Club Instructor Richard Naylor-Jones (5th Dan), plus family members Pamela (2nd Dan), Ben (1st Kyu) and Eddie Pickwick (purple belt).
The course started way back in 1981 and is also known as 'Train with the Champions' as the Instructors are all former International competitors. Those in attendance had the opportunity to train with the following Senseis: Andy Sherry (9th Dan), Terry O'Neill (8th Dan), Bob Poynton (8th Dan), Bob Rhodes (8th Dan), Billy Higgins (8th Dan) and Frank Brennan (8th Dan).
Photo: Train with the Champions - Lancaster 2015 Group Photograph - look for the Chelmsford four!
(Photo Courtesy of KUGB)
The level of expertise, knowledge and experience of these Senior KUGB Instructors was a fantastic opportunity not to be missed. It did not matter whether you were a beginner or a Black Belt, once fully immersed in Karate for a week with these incredible Instructors the learning process was continuous both in and outside of the Dojo.
Of course a lot of people know this, and so, not only were there Karate students from all parts of Britain but also overseas, including our good friend Edgard Lucena from Brazil and some new friends from Nigeria.
The majority of attendees arrived on the Sunday, with many staying on campus, ready and excited for a week's packed programme of events.
Early Monday morning the course began with the first training session. Large numbers of students eagerly arrived and following the warm up classes were divided into groups according to their grades and students eagerly began increasing their knowledge and application of karate. This was followed by a 2 hour break (with a much needed brunch to restore both mental and physical energy) before the second training session. It was to be the pattern for each morning of the course. As each session arrived the Senseis rotated classes providing each group the opportunity to train under each of them.
Photo: Eddie Pickwick (right) working on Kihon Ippon Kumite with his partner (Photo courtesy of the KUGB)
All the classes placed emphasis on the correct learning and development of the three fundamentals: Kihon, Kata and Kumite. However, each of the Senseis has their individual style and this ensured that students had to adapt quickly to the demands of each class. This also provided the stimulus to keep the learning process fresh whilst demonstrating both the breadth and depth of Karate and its' application.
Photo: Ben Pickwick in Kamae position ready to face his opponent (Photo Courtesy of KUGB)
For those planning to take Dan gradings in the near future, there were also additional training classes on Tuesday and Wednesday with Sensei Sherry and Sensei Brennan. For those attending from Chelmsford this was not applicable but it did not stop Sensei Richard taking the time to watch and study the teaching methods of Sensei Sherry and Sensei Brennan during these specialised classes.
Photo: Pamela Pickwick working on Kata Goju Shiho Dai (Photo courtesy of KUGB)
Aside from the Karate Training sessions, there were plenty of other activities. These included Bo (Japanese Fighting Staff) training taken by Sensei Ian MacLaren. He also did a seminar on Karate History, Sensei MacLaren is an excellent speaker and as usual he had a lot of interesting anecdotes to amuse the audience. There was a Social event for people to meet up with both new and old friends. It was great to meet up and have time to talk outside the Dojo with our friends from local and those further a field. Plus there was a 'Super Stars' competition to challenge student skills including Basketball, football, running and 'Sumo'! Sensei Richard decided to get involved in the 'Super Stars' event and wearing his Superman t-shirt helped the 'Dan Grades' win the Tug of War competition against the 'Kyu Grades'.
Photo: Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones working on Kata Sochin - (Photo courtesy of David Craggs and KUGB)
With such a packed programme the week flew by and the course came to a close on the Friday with both a Kyu Grading and 1st & 2nd Dan Grading for those eligible.
It was fantastic to see so many enthusiastic students aged 5 years up, ranging from white belt to 8th Dan. Immersed in Karate every day allowed everyone to increase their karate skills, knowledge and fitness whilst enjoying the local area with friends and families. It is easy to see why for many of those who had the opportunity to experience this course it becomes a regular event in their calendar.
The dates for 2016 Lancaster course will be published very soon. Look out for them on their website www.kugb.org