Thank you to Wayne Lottering for the following article about training on the 'Train with the Champions' week long residential course in Torbay earlier this month.
Train with the Champions - yes, it really does mean that. This special KUGB week-long intensive course is taught by senior KUGB instructors who are all karate champions. Some were champions as far back as the 1960's, some in the 1970's and some more recently, so their success and experience is deep and varied. You know when you have completed the first session that the course will be hard and challenging but, more importantly, it will be a great experience.
As has become the norm now, a large number of Chelmsford SKC members and their families went 'on tour' to Paignton in Devon (28 students plus a large number of family members) for the week, being the largest attendees from any one club. Some members and their families travelled down to this part of the country early so that they could have break before the course started, whilst most arrived the weekend before.
Just before 8 o'clock on the Monday of the course all the Chelmsford students lined up in front of the senior KUGB instructors with students from many other clubs in anticipation (and with some nerves) of the first class starting. The classes are split by grades (junior belts, brown belts, first Dan and second Dans and above) with each having one of the senior instructors, all of whom rotate through the different grades throughout the week so that everyone has the opportunity to train at least once (and usually twice) with them. No two classes are the same, as each of the senior instructors has their own individual style and format for passing on their vast knowledge; in fact no two classes with the same instructor are the same. There are classes that focus on basics, kata and sparring, plus the instructors often spend time explaining small points and detail to their classes. Some of the classes also cover 'bunkai' - the application of kata - with some outstanding displays by the England squad members that you can watch on the KUGB Facebook Page. There are also two very demanding classes for those intending to take their first or second Dan grading at the end of the course with Sensei Sherry and Sensei Brennan, where the pace and intensity of the one-and-a-half hours is high and not for the faint-hearted.
Midweek the club students and their families have (as we do every year) a break for an evening of fish and chips at one of the local restaurants - this year they actually closed the restaurant to the public as there so many of us!
Then on the Thursday afternoon there is a very competitive kata competition for junior grades, brown belts and black belts. Again Chelmsford students did very well, with many getting through to the semi-finals and Chelmsford students Anya Dunbar winning the brown belt category and Jamie Lottering the black belt category. Alexander Lockett also did very well as one of the youngest black belt competitors (aged 10) by winning a medal for fourth place.
The week finishes off with a final session early on the Friday morning and then a grading for students taking their first or second Dan's under the examination of the KUGB's Chief Instructor, Sensei Andy Sherry and Sensei Frank Brennan. Seven Chelmsford students tested themselves and all successfully passed their gradings - Matthew Gilbert and his father Ian both passed First Dan as did Benjamin Pickwick, whilst all four students taking their Second Dan (Lisa Ironman, Wayne Lottering, Megan Naylor-Jones and Connor Payne) all passed with flying colours.
Many of us attending the course returned home with some aches and tired bodies (some bruises as well) but a strong sense of achievement in having had the opportunity to train and learn with champions.
See you next year....