2021 saw the Club grow despite a slow, lockdown-filled start to the year. It was the year that saw us back to competitions, squad selections, and special courses! We gained new members, saw old members returned, and we all breathed a sigh of relief when allowed back to our normal training sessions!
Lets take a look back!
We started off the year in Lockdown, continuing our Zoom lessons several times a week throughout January and February whilst waiting for Government Guidance and better weather to train outside.
In March we said goodbye to our Founder Sensei Dot Naylor, who was a strong and beloved woman who inspired many both in and out of the Dojo.
Many of our Black and Brown belts will remember a time when she would sit at the back of the Dojo and offer words of encouragement, and a select few will remember her and Sensei Charlie teaching before Sensei Jane and Sensei Richard returned from living in the US.
Rest in peace.
On the 14th of April we were back in the Dojo! These classes adhered to COVID Guidelines, so only Under 16s could train in the Dojo, students were distanced and we were not practicing Kumite (sparring).
Classes restarted and were streamed via Zoom for adults, those who were self isolating or were more vulnerable. However, as the weeks went on we saw more and more students returning to the Dojo.
Although still in Lockdown, with the weather improving we began to hold outdoor training sessions.
During March we learnt of the roadmap to be back training in the Dojo in April so, eagerly awaiting our return, we continued our Zoom lessons with the hopes of getting back to in-Dojo training!
In May we saw the return of Adults into the Dojo in compliance with the Government roadmap.
As restrictions opened, Sensei Jane and Sensei Richard attended the first KUGB Dan Grading since March 2020 and both passed their 6th Dan Gradings under Sensei Higgins, Sensei J. Brennan, and Sensei F. Brennan.
They have now achieved the highest grade they can in Shotokan Karate and all further grades will be awarded to them.
In June we held our Superhero Training Course, where our Tiger's learnt how to train like Heroes!
We also held one of the first Dan Gradings of 2021 here in Chelmsford under Sensei Higgins, Sensei Brennan, and Sensei Harford.
Raquel Amaro, Noah Seed, and Jessica Pendrous passed their 1st Dan Gradings.
Jamie Lottering, Megan Naylor-Jones, and Mike Jeffrey passed their 3rd Dan Gradings, making them Senior Instructors.
In July we took part in the Find Your Active Campaign by Active Essex. Sensei Richard is an Active Essex Ambassador, and so helped get the Club involved.
Alex Lockett, Jess Pendrous, and Megan Naylor-Jones volunteered to come along for the day and also got to meet footballer Anton Ferdinand!
In July the KUGB hosted another Dan Grading, and due to lifted restrictions this also meant a training course beforehand for all those who were grading.
Under Sensei J. Brennan,and Sensei F. Brennan, Sensei Harford Damian Barrett passed his Shodan Black Belt and Matthew England passed his Nidan Black Belt.
We also held a Masterclass and Kyu Grading under Sensei F. Brennan where our students graded with the hopes of achieving a new belt.
Congratulations to everyone who passed!
In August we hosted our I am Team GB Open Day, where friends and families came along to watch and take part in our training session!
We also had our Summer Course, where some of our older Tiger's got to try Archery Tag.
On the 4th of September we took part in the KUGB National Championships, where we took home several medals including:
Ben Whiteman, Alex Lockett, and Callum Brew took Gold in Children's Team Kata
Jamie Lottering, Raquel Amaro, and Romilly Pope took Bronze in Adult Team Kata
Romilly Pope, Raquel Amaro and Maia Barrett Bronze in Female Team Kumite.
Ben Chang took Silver in Brown Belt Kata
Nick Nelson took Bronze in Male Kata
Alex Lockett took Bronze in Over 5'5 Kumite
Ben Whiteman took Bronze in Dan Grade Kata
In September Megan also released Tokyo 2020 Short Film, a film about a girl's Karate journey from white belt to World Champion.
We had a small premiere screening, but you can watching it now on Youtube!
We then took a team of Black and Brown belts to compete in the KUGB Shotokan Cup.
Alex Lockett took Silver in Dan Grade Kata and Bronze in Kumite
Amiya Featherstone took Bronze in 10-11 Kumite
Nick Nelson took Silver in Junior Male Kata
We held a Masterclass and Kyu Grading with Sensei Brennan, where many of our friends travelled to train with him.
Congratulations to all our students who passed!
We took a team to compete in the KUGB Youths and Students Championships.
Nick Nelson took Gold, winning the Male Kata
Ben Whiteman, Alex Lockett, and Callum Brew took Silver in Children's Team Kata
Alex Lockett took Silver in Dan Grade Kata
Ben Whiteman took Silver in over 5'5 Kumite whilst Alex Lockett took Bronze
At the end of November we held the Shotokan Tiger Nation Cup.
It was a great day and we saw ages as young as 4 competing! For many of our Tigers, due to lockdown, this was their first Karate Competition!
Well done to everyone who competed!
In December a large group of our students went to Bath for a Black and Brown Belt Course and Dan Grading.
Ben Chang, Ines Da Silva Correia, Alexander Morgan, and Hayden Thorneycroft all passed their Shodan Grades.
Callum Brew, Harry Brew, Cameron Pendrous, and Ben Whiteman passed their Nidan Grades.
This is now the largest group of Dan Grade passes at one Grading for Chelmsford Karate Club.
We also held a Masterclass and Kyu Grading with Sensei Brennan. Congratulations to everyone who passed!
We then ended our year with a Christmas Course full of fun and games to help get us in the festive spirit!
And that wraps up 2021! We are so glad to start to see a return to Competitions, Courses, and Gradings and so proud of how successful our students have been throughout this year despite the restrictions and despite only returning to in-Dojo training in April.
We hope you had an amazing 2021 and are looking forward to Next Year!
Here's to hoping for a great 2022!