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British Summer Camp 2016

July 15 2016

Osu! 

This year’s British Summer Camp took place on 15-17 July in the north of England, near Matlock. Members of Dojos from across the UK gathered to attend this three-day event hosted in a very nice countryside location. From the Toyama Dojo, Romeo, Antoine and myself took part. 

We were honoured to be taught by highly ranked instructors over a total of seventeen hours. Shihan Daniel Lorente Spain IKO branch chief, was this year’s guest instructor. Shihan Daniel is an outstanding teacher who trained world-class champions including Sensei Alessandro Navarro.

Having the chance to be taught by such a renowned Shihan was an inspiring and humbling experience during which the focus was on very simple, yet essential points that Sensei Tohyama frequently reminds us of: the importance of maintaining a good posture, step work while keeping a correct stance, block and punch combinations, etc. It was striking to see how Shihan Daniel was able to communicate his enthusiasm and his vast knowledge about Kyokushin Karate primarily by demonstrating his points using his whole body: words did not seem necessary.

Over the three day camp, we had the opportunity to be exposed to various aspects of our martial arts, some of which were more familiar to us than others. We performed usual Kihon, Ido Geko, Kata and Kumite, but also practiced using Bo, learnt about sweeps, jumping kicks and other less often studied techniques. We also received a very interesting description of the new changes that have been brought to the tournament rules. These changes, in particular the return of sweeping techniques, will certainly make tournament Kumite more exciting and closer to real life fights. 

Finally a grading test took place during which students ranking from third Kyu to Ni Dan took part. Although a good spirit was shown by all, it was very clear that the quality of the Katas and Kumites executed by some of the students was not sufficient for them to reach to the next level. This should remind us all that although progression in Kyokushin Karate is far from easy, one needs to fully meet the correct standards to wear a high belt. 

On the last day of the Summer Camp, a few hours before the end of the event, Sensei Toyama arrived from London. Having fore-filled several important prior commitments, Sensei joined us on Sunday for the last onsite sessions. Shihan Daniel and Sensei Tohyama very quickly started a friendly discussion while the students were doing their last hour of Kumite training led by Shihan Mac Robertson. After attending a meeting with all UK Shinhans and Senseis present on the day, Sensei Tohyama kindly offered to give Romeo, Antoine and myself a lift back to London. We first had a very pleasant coffee break wearing Do-Gi (see photo) and discussed Kyokushin Karate in the UK and abroad and then went on a very smooth drive back to London. We had the pleasure of sharing a very tasty dinner in North London before heading back home with nice memories.

I would like to end by thanking the Shinhans and Senseis who lead the classes during this year’s Summer Camp. It was a very positive experience during which I hope I have improved my Karate. Attending this event also made me feel very lucky to be taught by Sensei Toyhama whose lessons, recommendations and expectations perfectly align with those of the best instructors present during the event.

Osu!

Pierre Fichelson