Saturday, December 21, 2013

End of Year 2013

Well, the dojo's are now closed until 2014. Despite the fact that I need the rest so my foot can heal, this is going to be difficult for me. I find the more classes I teach and the more training I do, the more mobile I am. Give me a week off - let alone two! - I tend to seize up.

The cold, wet windy weather doesn't help either. So I suppose I will be a happy bunny (if I can ever be described as 'happy') when the dojo doors open in 2014.

Looking forward to events next year especially the DAN gradings throughout the year as we should have quite a few students ready to take it. Not forgetting the Curry on 25th January!! Nom, nom!

On other fronts, may well take a back seat with regard to 9752 after this year. As I said before, "It's not fun anymore". Still have my others to attend and visiting is always an option. Will get out and about more in 2014 on the Geocaching front so if anyone wants to join me, you will be most welcome.

Have a great Xmas and a Happy New Year!


Monday, December 02, 2013

Busy Month - One way or Another

November 2013 - maybe not a hectic month as far as karate is concerned but I have been kept pretty busy nonetheless. At the beginning of the month we had the 10 year Anniversary Cup which was held at Burgess Hill Leisure Centre. A huge thank you to all those students who represented TSKC and those who managed to get medals as well. Congratulations.

My son Chris returned home after nearly 5 years away. Didn't realise how loud HE was!

Grace is learning to drive and partying a lot - not at the same time I might add.

then we had a Shodan Assessment on 14th followed by hosting a Regional type Course at Honbu on Thursday 28th where we had invited Ueda Sensei to take a course for us. Ohta Sensei assisted as interpreter. We had students / instructors from Reading, Oxford, Harpenden and Tilehurst in attendance and a great time was had by all.

To finish off the month, JKA England had a National All Grades Course and DAN grading at Bath University on Saturday 30th. Only a few more weeks until we break up for Christmas - that time already? - and a well earned rest.

Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you and a Happy New year for 2014.


Monday, October 14, 2013

DAN Grading

In the months leading up to the JKA England Autumn International Course, I have been working hard towards taking my Yondan (4th) grading. The course originally was going to take place at the K2 Leisure Centre but had to be switched to a new venue, Burgess Hill, due to a double booking.

Things were going well until 9 days before the course and my back went! With a little bit of tender loving care, I believed that it would be okay for the grading.

The 3rd day of the course arrived and despite a bit of pain, downed the pain killers and participated in the 3 hour course beforehand. Was then called up to ratify my D licence Referee qualification by performing a kata. Decided on Jion as that was the kata for my grading. I think it went well and the feedback I received was positive.

2 hours or so later, the senior DAN grading commenced. Unfortunately, the painkillers were wearing off. I did the best I could which resulted in Kata only next time. Must admit I was happy with this - enough to celebrate with a curry back in Wing!

Got my feedback on the grading and have a little inkling as to what I need to work on for next time.


Pleasantly Surprised.

JKA England are holding their Annual Instructor & Referees Qualification Course the weekend after next and I am happy to say that we have 9 TSKC members attending the course. This is excellent news for the club.

My vision with newly qualified Instructors means that the club will benefit from having the chance to be taught by other assistant instructors who may be able to inject a new view or aspect into learning our art.

Amongst the established Instructors attending, we have complete novices hoping to get some qualification they can put to use in the dojo in the future.


Saturday, September 07, 2013

Busy, busy, busy!

It appears to be a pretty busy time for TSKC this month. Having just attended the JKA England National Course in Burgess Hill, participated in the Annual General Meeting afterwards, we now look forward to bigger things to come. Training this month is centring on kata performance and kumite for the upcoming competition. As soon as that is over, we must switch back to the grading syllabus for the Kyu and DAN grades as the former have a grading in October and the DAN grades just one week after the competition. Not forgetting the Shodan assessment on 14th.

The International course starts on Friday 27th September and finishes on Sunday 29th September. It looks as though we may have at least 3 students going for Shodan, 1 for Nidan and one for Sandan. Good luck to all those who grade.

Besides the Kyu grading on October 20th with Sensei gary Stewart, we have JKA England Squad Selection on 13th October and Instructor / Referee Qualification Course at Egham on 27th.

Happy times!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Good 'Ol Days!

Well they weren't really - not in this case. Yesterday we delivered leaflets to nearly every household in Bierton. I remember doing this on my own back in 1999 and must say I did not relish the thought of having to revert back to this form of advertising in order to market to the younger generation.

"Why not publicise through the schools?" I hear you ask. Well that has become n expensive option nowadays. the Summer School was marketed that way for 3 years. It appears as though the school funds are not what they used to be and they are looking at every opportunity to raise funds too. One school said they would distribute the leaflets for a 'donation' of £50. Ha!

Anyway, Day 2 in Bierton was like a breath of fresh air. With the Inkley family (3); Butler family (4); Luca and myself - Bierton was done in 1½ hours as opposed to the 5-6 hours it took way back in "the good 'ol days!"

Big congrats to Michaela who leafletted over half of Winslow on Monday.

Prelim congratualations and thanks to the Perry's and Irvin's for the imminent delivery in Drayton Parslow.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Squad Selection

Whilst flitting through the various pages of the website - and what a great website it is - and blog articles, the Squad Selection date came to mind. Seeing as it's not really that far away, a week before the next kyu grading, I haven't received any requests to try out.

Hopefully our current members will continue.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

It's the Students!

I have more or less come to the conclusion that a successful lesson is not totally dependent on the teacher / instructor. More of it is to do with the students. They make the lesson. Please don't say "Oh has he only just realised that?". I have known it for quite some time.

"So why are you mentioning now?" I hear you ask. Simple. I never had a blog before and at my age, by the time I get home from one of these great classes, have tea and wind down - I forget! Not tonight Josephine. Class at Honbu was buzzing with energy, down from my DAN grades to the white and orange belts. Time flies by and it just happened to be a night I needed to finish on time to pick up one of Grace's friends from work as they are off to Brighton for Grace's birthday and as I'm off to Newcastle in the early hours, timing was of the essence.

Fortunately all was okay and I got back in plenty of time for them to set off for Brighton. I now have 3 days off from teaching but not training. So enjoy my absence peeps. Back strong on Monday!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Best laid plans

Why is it when you sit down and meticulously draft and plan out what you need to say, after publication and distribution you discover you managed to put in the wrong date! Hahaha! Hopefully, not too many people got the wrong info and managed to read the follow up email as well.
The leaflet drop is due to take place on Monday & Tuesday 2nd & 3rd September. Please let me know if you can help us:

Online Form. Click Here!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Summer Camp so far!

Little stars! That's what they are. All different and all with their own little quirks! - And that's the helpers!No resignations yet which is a result. I think I'd lost two at this time last year. Speaking of which, 4 out of 5 of the helpers are previous Summer Camp attendees.

Having a lot of fun and a great feeling of pride watching them evolve in front of your eyes every day. What on earth will happen tomorrow?


Monday, August 05, 2013

Day 1 TSKC (Tairyoku Summer Karate Camp)

All Students turned up on time and after the nerves had settled, were ready to learn. We managed to cover a lot of things today, including;
  • Straight punch
  • Stepping
  • Turning
  • Stepping punch
  • Counting to 5 in Japanese
  • How to make a fist
  • Yoi / Yame / Mawate
  • Kiai!
  • Ranking system
  • Downward block
  • Three distinct sections of karate - Kihon / Kata / Kumite

    Need to cover Origins of karate; Why we do karate; When we do karate; Part 1 of Kihon kata; Rising head block amongst others tomorrow.

    My fantastic helpers today were Hannah J; Rachel K; James A; Emma L and Jennifer G. Oss!
  • Sunday, August 04, 2013

    Just another few tweaks!

    Spent this morning fiddling around with the website. The last time I did this, I broke it and it took me an hour and a half to find out what I'd done wrong and fix it. Don't think I broke it this time though.

    A few CSS3 additions made to enhance the sidebar; fixed some links regarding the videos opening in correctly sized windows and finally, added additional information for the kata's which opens in a new window - from the Kata list page.

    Need to go and eat now.


    Friday, August 02, 2013

    Honbu -Thursday

    I'd like to report that the Pelvic Thrust lesson went well but unfortunately somebody had alerted the Vice Squad as to the lesson plan and they had staked out the dojo with specialised covert officers posing as new members, surveillance cameras, recording equipment and a 4 year contract with Vivid Entertainment Group!

    So instead, I forced myself to take the high grades through Tekki Nidan whilst the lower grades practised their Kumite and Kata.

    Good lesson despite the absence of pelvic Thrusts.

    Tuesday, July 30, 2013

    Tonights Lesson - A twist!

    Little bit of a twist tonight guys. I am extending the knowledge I have by sharing it with you. We will need to work together in order to move forward. Probably 95% of you would not have done this before.


    Saturday, July 27, 2013

    TSKC Leaflet Drop

    I have thought long and hard about the proposed leaflet drop and have decided to defer it until the last week in August / first week in September. The reasoning behind this stems rom the fact that hopefully, more people will be back from their holidays preparing for the new school year and therefore will receive the flyer with interest, rather than picking it up off the mat with numerous other flyers, after returning home from holiday.

    The next thing to decide is the best method to instigate the distribution. I was thinking of arranging 3 to 4 groups of people, each group with 4 or more people, meeting at different dojos on the same day and doing a mass drop. This is instead of a large group hitting just one area.

    I will provide street maps for the group leader and as roads are completed, they can be marked off on the map so if that area is not completed, we will be able to see at a glance what is left to do.

    What are your thoughts?

    Enjoyed Class

    So why on earth did a basic lesson actually feel so good?

    Todays lesson was focussing on Brown & Black belts in a way. Firstly, we tried a few combinations to get the basis of what we were going to do first. So what did we spend our time on doing? - Ushiro geri! So much detail is involved. The Junior grades concentrated on proper technique for Mae geri and Yoko geri keage from Kiba dachi.

    The second part of the lesson concentrated on Tekki Shodan to count - preparing some of the students for the Instructors course in October. The Junior grades concentrated on the katas for their grade.

    Felt really good.

    Friday, July 26, 2013

    Kata Fest

    Totally different! Decided what I was going to teach at Winslow this evening and set off for the dojo. Got there way too early but that's not a problem, I canary out what I want to put into practice later.

    Students arrived and it dawned on me 3 minutes before the lesson was about to start was that I needed to drastically change my lesson plan. So I did.

    Turned into a bit of a kata fest! Boy did they need it. I'm sure a lot of good has come out of that lesson.

    Thursday, July 25, 2013

    Bierton - Honbu

    Not a huge turnout this evening but those who turned up, trained hard! I cannot ask for a lot more. 13 students split 6 / 7 between big grades and 4th kyu and below. The lesson started off after a great warm up by Carlos but I don't think the students were expecting the basics they got. Ramped it up a bit for the lower grades and something totally different for the high grades - just like Tuesday and Wednesdays classes.

    Everyone was lead through a version of Taikyoku Nidan / Sandan and having got halfway through, left the lower grades to work the rest out for themselves. Meanwhile, the high grades were taken through Ji'in. Thankfully, due to the weird combinations I made them go through at the start of the lesson, this made teaching the kata so much easier. Only one of the students had done the kata before but this was years and years ago.

    Ji'in is important for the execution of many simultaneous techniques and the often-repeated stances, enabling swift changes of direction while maintaining balance, power and steps of equal length. It has, however, been removed from the Japan Karate Association teaching and grading syllabus. Despite that, it is such a nice kata.

    Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    Winslow class this evening

    Thought I would try something a little different tonight, just to see if it works and whether the students take to it. 

    Hmmm. Feedback was good but whether I can apply this every lesson is another question. 

    Really enjoyed the class though. 


    This weather gives no inspiration to train. OI can understand why students don't want to train in either this heat or humidity but more so I understand the students who do turn up and train.

    Thank you.

    Monday, July 22, 2013

    Who actually goes to the Website?

    There are days when I think I am the only person in the whorl (with the exception of Lloyd and Nick) who actually looks at the website!

    Bierton Combined School

    Why do they appear to be the only school in Bucks that will not hand out flyers / leaflets to the students whether its free, for payment or a donation. I can't understand, either, why they complain when you stand outside their school and distribute to the parents. Surely they caused the situation in the first place by not accepting to distribute the leaflets.

    So I spent 45 minutes handing flyers for the Summer School to the parents before I was confronted by a very young female teacher. Just the right person to confront a very large man handing out flyers. Took them long enough to be 'vigilant'.

    I was called in to see the Head which I agreed to do. I explained to him what was happening and his response was: "Well we wouldn't distribute your flyers anyway as we run our own Summer School".


    Sunday, July 21, 2013

    No more Updates!

    At 5.45pm on this glorious Sunday afternoon - glorious because it's not too hot - I have finally decided that there is nothing else I can do to update the website.

    I have added IFTTT to update Twitter and FB whenever a TSKC event is about to start which I suppose is totally pointless unless you're less than 10 minutes away from the event!

    It's technology and I need to utilise it. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

    Anyone else completed my online form? I'll go looksie!

    TSKC Website

    I am sure I spend far too much time on the website!

    Almost daily I am either updating the site with news; training updates; fixing errors or, mor recently, making small updates to the sites look & feel.

    I get a lot of pleasure from 'tweaking' the site. Whether it's just adding a fixed logo to the site; hiding content on the site; creating a blog - I just find it fun to do. The problem is, it tends to either

    • Keep me up to silly o'clocks in the mornings
    • Break the existing site in some way which takes me another hour or more to fix! (Secretly, that's probably one of the most exciting bits!)

    So what are the latest updates?

    1. Branded Logo that stays in a fixed position bottom right.
    2. Easy access to the Top of the Page via always visible link
    3. Dynamic floating menu at top of the main pages
    4. New Kata page consisting of videos of Enoeda and Ohta Sensei's
    5. Updated Events list
    6. Embedded Google Calendar of events
    7. Reminder Post-It note on main page re Summer School
    8. Change of Members Details form to update club records
    9. FAQ link on main page
    10. Updates of forms on Downloads page
    11. Not as recent: addition of Promotional Video
    12. Twitter account created and Twitter Feed added to Website
    13. NEW Blog
    14. Updated Interactive Noticeboard / News feed
    15. Club Mailing List
    Is there anything you think should be added / removed? Let me know.

    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    Annual BBQ

    Whilst we are on the subject of "do's", last years attendance at the Annual BBQ was pretty poor compared to previous years. It could all be down to the fact that we had bad weather.

    TSKC is holding the BBQ again this year, in the same spot in Wendover Woods.

    Are you going?

    Christmas Do

    Any ideas what we can do for Christmas this year?

    Summer Training

    Why are class numbers down so much during summer? Obviously students go away on vacation / holiday but this doesn't account for all the missing students, does it?

    Are students too lethargic with the hot weather?

    Do they find something else to do rather than train?

    Competitions: What IS the problem?

    JKA England in the past has not been a great supporter of competitions. It has also gone as far as to 'lump' both the National Black & Brown Belt Championships and the Kyu Grade Championships onto the same day.

    Fortunately, we are also having a 10yr Anniversary Cup this year and hopefully, something more permanent in years to come, giving us 3 comps over two days each year.

    In preparing our students for these, Sensei David Paulus and I have agreed to host a friendly Interclub competition between TSKC and Yushikai. This year, it is to be held at Hertfordshire Sports Village, Hatfield and is aimed at encouraging ALL our students to experience competition karate in a less formal environment.

    I have created an online form for ALL members - of both clubs -to complete letting us know who wishes to compete or not, as well as assisting in the running and officiating of the competition.

    We have nearly 200 active members, so why after 4 weeks of promoting the competition, have I only received 12% of replies?

    Why are people so guarded against entering a friendly competition?

    Welcome to the TSKC Blog!

    There are times when I would like to 'rant & rave' about things and I thought this might be the place to do it.

    Hope you enjoy!