2013 was another great year in Chelmsford Shotokan Karate Club’s (CSKC) history. It was our 46th year since we were established, and our year was filled with Kyu Gradings, Dan Gradings, Championship successes, Demonstrations, Long Service Awards, Sports Awards and much, much more.
The year kicked off with the KUGB Junior English Squad Selection in January with Junior England Squad Coach Sensei Frank Brennan (7th Dan) at the Red Triangle, Liverpool. Eric Austin- Coskry and Sharky Austin- Coskry both attended and were both selected for the Kumite Squad.
Next, at the start of February, was the English Kata Squad Selection with Sensei Andy Sherry. Teah Pope attended and was successfully selected along with former CSKC members Holly Sterling, Jack Somers and Cristina Finta.
The following weekend Megan, Jane and Richard Naylor-Jones attended the Central Region Kata Selection with Sensei Frank Brennan (7th Dan). They were all selected and Megan did particularly well as this was her first squad selection and was one of only two Brown Belts chosen.
The very next day, Sensei Andy Sherry was in Chelmsford to take a Training and Kyu Grading. The day was successful with 39 CSKC students passing their examination. The day was well attended with students from Ipswich Higashi SKC, Shin Gi Tai SKC and Sudbury SKC also grading.
We then invited Sensei Frank Brennan to Chelmsford and he came to Dovedale to hold both an All Grades course and Black and Brown Belt course. It was great to have both Sensei Sherry and Sensei Brennan in February and really gave a boost to all of our students.
In March, our English Squad members Eric, Sharky and Teah traveled to Chesterfield to compete in the KUGB’s 1st Grand Slam of 2013. Sensei Jane went to support and to help with the finals. The event was very well attended by Squad members from England, Scotland, Wales, N Ireland and Ireland. All three from CSKC performed well and showed tremendous spirit in their first Grand Slam.
April saw the Annual KUGB Spring Karate Week Course in Paignton with lessons under Sensei Andy Sherry, Sensei Terry O’Neill, Sensei Bob Poynton, Sensei Bob Rhodes, Sensei Billy Higgins and Sensei Frank Brennan . Eight Chelmsford SKC members attended along with their families and dog: Jamie and Wayne Lottering, Romilly Pope, Pamela Pickwick, Ella Roberts, Megan, Jane and Richard Naylor-Jones. The course was excellent (as usual) and three of our Juniors who entered the Kata competition on the Thursday all won a Trophy! The week was excellent and everyone came away with a list of new combinations, kumite techniques and technical skills to work on.
Immediately following the residential course there was a KUGB Black and Brown Belt course and grading examination in Egham. Pamela Pickwick, who had been training in Paignton, took and successfully passed her Nidan Grading with Sensei Andy Sherry and Sensei Bob Rhodes.
In May, Chelmsford SKC attended the 47th KUGB National Championships at the NIA in Birmingham. We were well represented with 20 Students competing, two referees, a coach, Sensei Dot (our Chief Instructor) and a large number of supporters. Sensei Jane was again on the KUGB microphone and Richard Kheder was presented with his 30 year Long Standing Member Certificate by Sensei Andy Sherry. Sensei Sherry had recently been awarded his 9th Dan so this was a very special occasion for Richard.
In the finals, we had Jack Hillsden who won Bronze in the Junior Male Kumite (16-17), in the Girl’s Individual Kata - Teah Pope came 4th and Mia Hillsden second and our Children’s Team Kata of Aya Rainer, Mia Hillsden and Teah Pope took bronze. However, it was our Adult Team Kata of Jack Hillsden, Eric and Sharky Austin- Coskry that excelled in the final to take Gold and become National Adult Team Kata Champions for 2013 – a title we have not won since 1998.
As a team, Chelmsford SKC then built on this success when they attended the KUGB Southern Region Championships in Reading. We took a slightly bigger squad of 29 competitors and a larger group of supporters. Everyone performed magnificently. We brought home twenty-four Medals/Trophies including nine Golds and Mia Hillsden was awarded the ‘Tony Francis Memorial Trophy for the Most outstanding Competitor’. Mia was exceptional as she won both her Individual Kata and Kumite Events as well as being part of the Children’s Team Kata, along with Aya and Teah, that won Gold. The other Gold’s went to Alasdair Ward, Tom Jeffrey, Jamie Lottering, Teah Pope, Tony Brown and the Adult Team Kata (Jack, Eric and Sharky).
A few days after this success, Sensei Dot celebrated her 80th Birthday. Sensei Dot has been practicing Karate for 48 years. Sensei Dot has legacy second to none she pioneered the path for women into Karate and was taught by Sensei Enoeda and attended classes with Sensei Nakayama when he visited England. 80 years young she still going to the Dojo and ensuring everyone has a strong attitude.
At the end of June, Sensei Andy Sherry was in Chelmsford again to take a Training and Kyu Grading. The day was successful with all 39 CSKC students passing their examination- including three of our students who graded under him the previous day at Stoke By Nayland SKC. We were all very pleased to see him and congratulate him on his 9th Dan.
The busy calendar continued in July, as we traveled to Chesterfield for the KUGB Youth National Championships. Everyone who competed did well. We came away with two bronze medals and three Golds. Mia Hillsden was again in excellent form winning both her Kata and Kumite Individual events and well as being part of the Children’s Team Kata, along with Aya Rainer and Teah Pope that took Gold.
The following Friday, Chelmsford SKC performed a Demonstration at Boswells School as part of their 50th Anniversary Celebrations. The highlight was the Self Defence section where Eric Austin-Coskry had to fend of two assailants (Jack Hillsden and Sharky Austin-Coskry). They thought that two against one was not good enough so brought a knife as well. Unfortunately, it did not end well for them, Eric was on fine form and left them both on ground defeated. Later that evening they were all back on speaking terms again when we met together socially for a ‘Club Curry’ in Moulsham Street.
To ensure that the younger members did not miss out on a Social Gathering we held our Annual Family Party In the Park at Hylands Park. There were the usual ‘Team Games’ and fortunately, there were no injuries the adults tend to get a little carried away in the football game, especially with the juniors running rings around them. The weather was very warm that day and after a number of team games we settled in the shade under the trees to relax and cool down.
At the very end of July, we learnt that Mia Hillsden had been nominated as a candidate for The Essex Chronicle’s Young Sports Star of the Year’ Award. It was great that her recent achievements had been recognized by the Newspaper and everyone at CSKC were very pleased to hear the news.
August would normally see CSKC Students attend the KUGB’s Summer Residential Course in Lancaster but for a variety of reasons this year we were absent. However, locally we ran a couple of half day Summer Courses at Dovedale Sports Centre to allow us to focus on our technical skills and Kata.
During the Summer holidays our English Squad members Eric, Sharky and Teah were training hard to prepare for the second KUGB Grand Slam of 2013. This was again in Chesterfield at the end of August and all three performed well competing at this level.
In particular, Teah Pope did very well and a week or so later learnt that she had been selected to represent the KUGB England Team at the World Shotokan Karate Association Championships (WSKA) in Liverpool at the end of September. We were all very excited for her.
Mid September, CSKC students were competing again at the KUGB National Shotokan Cup. This annual competition has only individual events and Jessica Steadman was the star of the day for Chelmsford taking silver in the Girls Kumite (Aged 10-11).
Following this all eyes turned to the World Shotokan Karate Championships. Karateka from all over the World descended upon Liverpool for the Championships on the 28th/29th September. Jane and Richard Naylor-Jones were actively involved in the Social Media for WSKA and the KUGB and spent a number of days before covering the build up to the two-day event.
At the Championships, Teah Pope competed in the Female Children’s Kata for KUGB England and got through to the semi finals to be eventually ranked 5th in the World! There were a large number of CSKC members who made the trip to support her and the KUGB England Team that did so well. Congratulations also go to Holly Sterling, Jack Somers and Cristina Finta who were among the medals for KUGB England.
In October, Pamela Pickwick, Wayne Lottering and Richard Naylor-Jones went to the KUGB Referee and Judges Course in Lichfield. Pam and Wayne participated to do some Judging and work the Control table. This was an excellent course and will help them both prepare for the examination in 2014.
Later in October, Sensei Andy Sherry was in Chelmsford again to take the final Training and Kyu Grading for 2013. The day was successful with all 40 CSKC students passing their examination. Again the course was well supported and our friends Ipswich Higashi SKC, Shin Gi Tai SKC and Sudbury SKC also had a number of students who graded.
November started with a course with Sensei Frank Brennan in Chelmsford at Anglia Ruskin University. He taught both an All Grades Class and Black and Brown Belt class. As usual, his class was very well attended with not only Chelmsford SKC members but also by KUGB members from Brighton, Canterbury, Ipswich, Stock, Stoke By Nayland, Sudbury, Harrow and Liverpool.
The last KUGB National tournament of the year was the Student Championships. Rachel Cohen, Eric and Sharky Austin-Coskry competed and also entered as a Kata Team together. Together they won the elimination round and then went on to win the Final to become KUGB National Student Team Kata Champions.
Sharky and Rachel also added to their Karate CV by passing their KUGB National Trainee Instructor Qualification.
November continued to be busy for the KUGB and Jane and Richard Naylor-Jones took a trip to Portugal to help with the European Shotokan Karate Association (ESKA) Championships and KUGB’s Social Media. They spent a week with the KUGB England Team covering the build up to the Championship and the three-day event. Congratulations go to former Chelmsford SKC students Holly Sterling, Jack Somers and Cristina Finta who were all among the medals. Special mention has to go to Jack Somers who became European Senior Male Individual Kata Champion, he also added Gold in Team Kata to confirm the KUGB England Juniors were crowned both World and European Champions in 2013.
At the end of November, the Essex Chronicle confirmed that Mia Hillsden had polled enough votes to win one of this years awards for the ‘Young Sports Star of the Year’ – her final position to be announced in January 2014.
December saw the last Black and Brown Belt Class in Bath. Connor Payne took and successfully passed his 1st Dan Black belt under Sensei Andy Sherry and Sensei Frank Brennan.
The year came to a close, with our last training session of the year on Sunday 29 December and amidst the festivities 33 students were there to train and also to catch up with each other after class.
Looking back at 2013 it has been a fantastic year for everyone involved with Chelmsford SKC. The Club has had a busy calendar locally welcoming Sensei Sherry and Sensei Brennan to our Dojo and many of our students have traveled to Black and Brown Belt courses, Residential Courses, other KUGB Dojo’s and Squads to train with the KUGB Senior Instructors. This coupled with students progressing well in their Kyu and Dan Grades, excellent performances in Championships individually, as a team and as a Club – not only the medal winners but also all those who competed, Long Standing Member Awards and Instructor Qualifications.
Whilst Sensei Sherry celebrated his 70th birthday we saw our own Chief Instructor Sensei Dot celebrate her 80th birthday. Sensei Dot presence in the Dojo is a reminder that CSKC would not be on the map had it not been for her and Sensei Charlie moving to Chelmsford 46 years ago. Everyone who has trained at CSKC this year, whether beginner or Black belt, are part of the CSKC family and our success.
2013 has certainly been an eventful and enjoyable year. Everyone can look back on the year with pride and know both the standard of behaviour and technical Karate continues to be at the highest level. 2014 is a new year and there is already a busy and exciting calendar to look forward to and to be part of…