Second day so far and I feel like I am already starting feel like I have mostly caught up on sleep from the long day yesterday.
Since we hadn’t really seen much yet, Senpai Anne took some time this morning to show us around Penticton so we would be able to slowly find our way around.
First stop today was to Budget, to hire a car. This was a nerve-racking experience for the both us since we are both used to driving on the left hand side of the road, but now everything is the opposite. But after starting to get our head around things, we decided to go and check out the tournament venue.
After taking some time to check the tournament venue out, we went down to the local mall, Cherry Lane. Here we found some food for lunch and also a quick new treat to try. Whilst we were out, we also found a store called Coles just like the one back home, but this one wasn’t a grocery store, it was a book shop!
Feeling hungry at this point, we headed home to get into our lunch and after that I had a small-ish nap. Feeling refreshed from my nap, we had some dinner and Senpai Anne took us for a short evening walk along the beach and then back home to meet some chickens with a pair of funky crocks hahaha.
At this point it was already night time and the sun was still out! This was really different for us, as we are used to the sun setting much earlier back home. Here is a picture of the sun starting to set at almost 9pm.
The air started to cool down, so we decided to head inside for bed. But before we settled down for the night, we had to try this cool machine.
Although, we didn’t get any training in today, there will definitely be some waiting for the rest of the week starting tomorrow morning!
Day one of the trip was amazing! The first flight to Vancouver was surprisingly good apart from the having to sit there for 13 and a half hours and the bad plane food, it wasn’t all that bad.
On the plane I did try to get some sleep, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to, so I ended up watching a total of 7 movies before we finally landed.
Although there wasn’t much to do on the flight, I did find it really cool how we landed a couple hours before we left.
After landing in Vancouver for around a 10 hour stop over, despite the lack of sleep, we managed to tour around for the day.
For the day, we enjoyed a 12-13km walk around Stanley Park. As it was a Sunday, only few shops were open, so the city wasn’t too busy and there were light showers going on all day which was probably also helping with the fact that it was fairly quiet all day. Although the walk felt like it went on forever, it was also a beautiful walk whilst also learning about some of the history. We didn’t finish the whole track, but on the way back we treated ourselves to some lunch at Subway.
After this, we headed back to the airport where we still had around 4 hours til our 2nd flight into Penticton. In this time we had a small wander around the airport and then we just sat down and waited. In one of the stores when we were wandering around, I found Maltesers! That’s some pretty exciting news.
When we were waiting for the flight, I was trying really hard to stay awake, even though I hadn’t slept in over 24 hours at this point… I ended up just sleeping. I also ended up sleeping through the whole flight.
Finally after two flights, we have made all the way from Brisbane to Penticton! Now for the next 2 weeks before the rest of the team makes it here, we will be staying with Senpai Anne and her husband Wayne with lots of adventures to come!
This morning the annual beach training was beautiful and a great way to finish up the 2 week intensive on a good note. My favourite part was definitely getting out of my sandy gi and into the water. Well done Sensei Matt for teaching as well, great session!
There is a scholarship in our dojo held every year usually to go to Japan, but because of the Soke Cup it will be in Canada this year. When applying, I believe that there are only few requirements to make the cut for being a good candidate. First, we had to of course take part in the 2 week intensive which is held at the beginning of every year. Second, we had to write blog posts on our experiences and our training throughout the intensive. At first I thought this would be difficult, but being able to document my thoughts is just like having a training journal and has been very helpful to make me think about what I have been learning. Lastly, I believe having a great training attitude is the key. The scholarship is open to anyone 3rd Kyu and above and I recommend this to anyone looking for some improvement in their training.
This year there were only two of us who applied for the opportunity to go to Canada for the training scholarship, both Renae and myself. I feel like if either of us were to win the scholarship I would be happy because I know we have both been working very hard, especially over the past 2 weeks for this amazing opportunity.
I think Renae would be a great candidate for the 2019 scholarship to Canada. First of all, being able to train with her always feels like such a positive environment to be in with lots of energy. As well as seeing her training, but training along side Renae makes me get to see how hard she has been working and lifting others around her as well. Even though she hasn’t been able to get to every session due work commitments, I can see the effort she puts in and makes the most of every session she does get to.
If I were to be selected for the scholarship, it would be an amazing opportunity because in the past year or two, I have started to work even harder and push ahead more than ever. This trip would not only be amazing to get to train with new people, but it would help me get so much closer, if not achieve goals in my karate.
Overall, this 2 weeks has been a great experience to get the wheels turning for the year especially with the others who I have been so fortunate to get to work with closely for the intensive. Thanks and congratulations to Renae, Savannah, William, and Bailey for being great training partners and everyone else I have gotten to work with to start off 2019.
Even though this is the last official day of the 2 week training intensive, I will still be doing one more blog post tomorrow after beach training to wrap things up.
To kick start the morning, Timothy (one of the little champions) has been training for 2 years, and today he was presented his little champions black stripe belt! He is the 5th little champion in this dojo to achieve his black stripe belt.
In this morning’s little champions class all of us who are participating in the 2 week intensive took on a leadership role. We did some basics and us leader’s just had to be a good example. As well as having some focus time, we also had some fun throughout the class. At the end of the class as a part of the fun Tim helped build an obstical course for everyone to enjoy.
Since it was William’s last lesson for the intensive, it was only appropriate that William lead the warm up.
Throughout most of this morning’s kids class we did lots of stepping and punching. We were in groups and practising mostly rin ten, kaeshi and oshi zuki. For me personally, it wasn’t a great day for rin ten because I was falling all over the place! I did manage to get some good laps in though. When we were doing oshi zuki was alright today since sometimes I mix my hands and feet up a bit, but today I was trying to stop myself instead of stumbling back/forward after finishing my punch. I do find doing kaeshi quite difficult for me because my hands go faster than the rest of my body. So, when I try executing a punch they’re not always full punches or they’re not aimed towards the target before actually punching.
Lastly, in the karate kids class we went into teams and raced across the dojo and back…
This morning’s adult class was a bunkai focus with the seniors. We started by doing some niseishi bunkai, one slow and one like you would do at a grading. Then we chatted with our partner about what we need to work on most and do the bunkai again. With Savannah the focus was to be more scary and with Renae we focused on our posture. After a while just doing niseishi bunkai we worked on the block and how we should receive the punch. We just experimented a bit at first and I came to the conclusion that it works best for me when I have my eyes up, good posture, and having my arms placed in the correct position. After working on the receiving of the punch, we moved onto the basic throw. Everyone in the group when throwing someone tries to pull the other person down and we end up leaning back. So, we practised with the idea of throwing being exactly like a shiko dachi punch. Another habit a lot of us have is using our arms too much. To make sure we were not using our arms to much we were only allowed to use one receiving arm and rely more on our stance.
Everyone has done amazing to complete the 2 week intensive!
Second last day of the 2 week training intensive, with only three classes today. Today’s focus was pushing ourselves out of our ever growing comfort zone… We sure did! We are only getting stronger from here.
Yesterday’s morning session was brutal! In partners, we started with one person jumping over a a set of bags set up in a T shape, whilst the other person would hold a shiko dachi with a bo in our hands straight in front of our body. We did this twice… It felt like forever, but we got through it. Soon, we did some punching in three different stances, uchi hachi ji dachi, shiko dachi, and sonkyo dachi. All together we ended up doing 100 punches in each stance 3 times. My legs were burning after this… It’s a lot harder than it looks. To finish off the class we buddied up and we did lots of laps. One, we had to do 10 push ups, 10 tuck jumps, and then sprint up and back. I honestly don’t think I would have been able to finish it if I didn’t have Klaudia as my partner to push me.
Yesterday we did a short warm up with the little champions before more torture haha.
The seniors were separated from the little champions after this. We did a little bit of kicking which was good because I didn’t feel completely warm yet. We just did the 4 kick combination with one normal paced lap, and one lap as fast as we could. There was an odd number of people, so, the other person would be using the heavy metal bo whilst waiting for the others to finish kicking.
In this class we also did a small circuit with two parts. One, with a partner we had to jump over a row of bags and run back to the start whilst your partner is trying to catch you and vice versa. The other pair would be doing push ups with a medicine ball each. So, we would both do one push up at the same time, role the ball to each other and then repeat with the opposite hand. We went through this circuit twice and it was very challenging since we were on each rotation for quite a while.
The warm up for the kids class was a race. Since most of the people in our group had just trained we didn’t do so well. My legs felt like dead weight with every step I took and it looked like the others were feeling the same by the way they were running.
The front line in the kids class were sent across to train. When we started doing the punching and had to go into shiko dachi, I knew we were going to do the same as this morning again. Luckily we only had to do one set of this.
After this my legs were once again aching, but next we had to partner up and we were going to be doing squat kicks. We got to choose the number that we would do, and Miguel chose 50. We eventually got all the way to 125 squat kicks, and then we were told to start from zero and do the same amount we just did. This time we had to go low enough to touch the bag below us every time. As a team Miguel and I did 250 squat kicks all together!
The last thing we did in this class was one kumite drill. One very painful kumite drill. In pairs, one person would have a belt around their waist doing combinations across the dojo and the other person had to hold onto the belt and try keep them from going anywhere too easily.
Sorry I am only posting this now. After a challenging day of training I wanted some rest for another big day today.
To be honest, the morning session yesterday was not my favourite. I did find it very difficult, but the time was very well spent. All the seniors were separated from the rest of the class and partnered up. There was a small, yet very long circuit with only four stations. The first was the makiwara and we had to keep on repetitively doing 10 punches each hand until we moved on. Second, one person had to use the extremely heavy metal bo, whilst the other person would be holding a weight (I am told that it is very similar to a kongoken) in shiko dachi whilst rotating in circles. Third, we would have to use a chiishi and move up and down the dojo in sanchin dachi. And lastly, the time keeper for the rotations would be a pair going one lap just slowly stepping and punching.
For this whole class we worked with Sensei Helen. To start off, we were in groups of either two or three and this challenge was called the 200’s club. As a team, one person at a time would do as many push ups as they could in the time it takes the other/s to do either kihon dosa ichi, ni, or san as fast as they could. The aim is to finish 200 push ups as a team. After this we did some speed training and then slowed right down to focus on rinten and kaeshi to really try get good posture and alignment of the body whilst doing this.
We didn’t slow down much for the karate kids class last night. We started by partnering up and together trying to complete 100 push ups, sit ups, squat kicks, and burpees for the intensive people to the best of our abilities. We each had a few minutes to complete each of these exercises. After we got our heart rates up we moved onto some bag work and kumite drills… My legs were burning! But, of course after grabbing a quick drink and a short stretch, we went straight back into it again. This time we all had a bo each and all we had to do was hold a shiko dachi whilst holding our arms straight above our head. Especially after all that kumite, my legs were shaking and in pain, but I was determined that I would not come out of it. There were some spots I didn’t feel like I could do it any longer, so, I came up into a higher stance, but I would not let myself completely give in.
The intermediate kids class begun with a 10 minute seiza. I usually don’t like doing it for very long, but today I feel that it was well earned by all of us and it was a good time to catch my breath again. In this class we all had a conditioning quality control check for our push ups, sit ups, squat kicks, and burpees. Near the end of the class we went into small groups who we thought would push each other to do our best. In these groups we chose a number of push ups (Abi chose 32 haha) for our group and once we got to that we only had minimal rest and then as a team we would keep pushing for 10 more over and over again. Being in a team with both Savannah and Abi really helped me push out of my comfort zone because they were both so supportive and encouraging.
Compared to the rest of the classes last night, this session was a lot slower and steady pace. For a lot of the class we were working in partners. For the first chunk we did lots of punching, blocking, kicking, and stepping with different partners that I don’t get to work with that often. To shake the class up a little, we did more push ups, but this time only with our legs in a frog position. Although it was only 70 all together, my arms have definitely gotten a big work out throughout the rest of the afternoon. Loads of push ups last night! After this for the last part, we did some wrist escapes. I definitely got some great tips to help small people like me who may have bigger partners to deal with.
My muscles are hurting the most today than they have been since starting the intensive program. This doesn’t really seem to bother me though until after training. I get through it by knowing that the sore muscles only leads to stronger muscles.
This morning training was a very simple session with lots of basics and self paced kihons. The one thing that shook me the most was the punches. It was a pretty basic routine. When we got to the punches I was just thinking that I would maybe do around 20-30, but we ended up spending loads of time on continuously doing punches, one after another.
After this the session ended with a little bit of bo just doing some freestyle sharin (spinning). I was trying to focus on mostly keeping body aligned and straight. This helps for example if I tried to go faster or tried going backwards, and in general it helps with everything in the dojo.
To start off the afternoon we did some kumite going up and down the dojo but also did some partner work with the focus pads. It was great to just get back into some freestyle kumite after a while.
At the end of the class, since there were only five of us we each had to choose a conditioning exercise that we would do for 60 seconds each. I was glad we all chose quite different things so that the exercises weren’t all just fixed on one area of the body.
I’m sure we weren’t doing this for the whole class but I can’t remember what we were doing between the kumite and the conditioning.
We basically went straight into some bunkai this afternoon for the kids classes. The seniors in the class were sent to the side to do some kihon dosa bunkai and kihon dosa san bunkai. After a couple of times going through it we went into groups of three or four and would have the others watch to give some feedback. The people that were doing the bunkai had to give the other person a score out of 10. This score was rated on how scary it was for them when you were both attacking and defending. Personally I got higher scores when I was attacking rather than when I was defending. I think this was because I might be leaning onto my back leg and letting the other person take control over the situation.
In the intermediate kids class we continued on with the same theme, but instead this time we did some rin ten bunkai as well. Pretty much everyone on the defending side when doing bunkai won’t wait for the attacker and will set a rhythm in their head. Tonight we had to try and have an unusual rhythm so that the defender would really have to switch their minds on and be ready for an attack at any time. This was also meant to help because in a real life situation you have to always be ready.
Right from the start the brown and black belts started with a few basics and kihons. After this we went with a partner and first, we did long jumps across the dojo and back, but at each end we’d do 10 push ups. The aim was to try and catch our partner and push each other. The second thing we did were just sprints, and just having Sam as my partner made me work that much harder, push harder, and run faster. Third we did ninja jumps, which is where you would take three steps, jump as high as you can, and then land lightly with your knees bent with good posture and balance.
After this, we still stayed with our partner and now we each had to choose one conditioning exercise each and a number. I chose to do push ups with our legs in a frog position. I never chose a number, so, we kept on saying we would just do 10 more… We eventually got to 100 and stopped there. It was Sam’s turn now, and he chose to do sit ups with a medicine ball. He let me choose a number and I said “let’s do 50 and see how we are going”. By the time we had gotten to 50 I said I could do 20 more. Up to 70, but we had to add just 10 more… Thanks Sam for being a great training partner!
Still with the brown and black belts, but now just went through all the kata up to chinto, one fast and one with basic timing. The energy in the group was great, especially everyone’s kiai.
Near the end of the class we all came together to do some kumite drills on the bags with the focus of having good reach and zanshin before moving onto the next bag. Also with the bags we went with a partner and the challenge was to do 100 kicks as fast as we could and we ended up doing this twice. Having Savannah as my partner for these sorts of things are good for me because I feel like we push each other to do our best.
At the end to finish off the whole class was in a big circle and we were holding shiko dachi whilst everyone in the circle counted to 10 one after another a couple of times. I was already struggling a bit and then we had to take our hands off of our legs and keep our backs up straight whilst everyone counted to 10 once again. Luckily after that, that was all, and we were stretching for the rest of the class.
What keeps me coming back?
Personally I feel that the main thing that keeps me coming back for more is the people and the whole karate community. I love the energy that I am able to bring to the dojo as well as when others bring theirs too, to make it a positive environment to train in. Also, being a more senior level, I feel like I have to be a role model to the other students, and if I give up, I am not setting a good example to the others, nor am I setting a good example to myself. As I still do, I look up to not only the students more senior than me, but also my peers. But, when I was younger and I would look up to the “big kids”, now I guess I could say that I am one of the “big kids”, and this is what I have been working for, for most of my life, and it would be such a shame to just throw all of my hard work away.
So, I feel that being able to help others and being a good example is what I push towards every time I come to the dojo. Also, having the feeling like I am making good changes to other people’s lives is really why I love karate and keeps me coming back to make me and everyone else in the dojo just a little bit happier.
Definitely unexpected day today, but definitely worth it. Morning wasn’t highly physical, but the evening classes were.
To get the morning kicked off we played a small game involving three people. One person chasing, one person defending, and one person trying not to get caught. There was a count down and if the person got caught they would have to do the same amount of sit ups as the countdown was at when they got caught.
After this quick game we moved onto basics as usual and then the brown and black belts were sent aside to do some Ryukyu bo. Today we got up to number eight and then split into smaller groups once again to break down and get to talk about these, but only got up to number four. Was definitely a constructive use of time for all of us. At the end of the class we had the chance to have one turn at going through shushi no sho, this was great since I haven’t done this in a while.
I thought I had woken up by the time the class was over, but I sat down and that obviously wasn’t the case…
Straight into it this afternoon, all the people doing the intensive had run laps of the dojo and every lap we would do one more push up everytime. Usually I wouldn’t have as much trouble as I did today, my arms were aching from all the conditioning we did last night. So, every push up I did, felt like 10. Of course after doing many laps of that it felt like I had done 100.
Finally, we could stop,but soon we were starting to do some kicking. At first it wasn’t so bad, but we kept on having to add on more and more kicks every lap, until we had to do five kicks before our foot could touch the ground. Jumping kicks too, and lots of laps. When we had finally finished we would stretch and all of a sudden we would be on our feet moving onto side kicks this time instaed of front kicks. Everytime I had thought we were done, there was more, because straight after that we did it all again, but instead this time with a round house kick. Luckily by the time we had completed all this the little champions class was over. Saved by the bell I’d say.
Even warming up in the kids class was difficult, my legs felt like extremely heavy weights. After warming up the class split up and the seniors were sent across to the hot side of the dojo and did some speed training we were all hot and sweaty and worn out, but next we did a similar thing to the start of the little champions class. This time instead of push ups we had to do sit ups, and instead of running up and back we had to go up and do one sit up and come back to do one sit up. All the way up to 15 which meant we had done 240 sit ups all together. I was glad to be done with that, but yet again there was more.
This time we were in groups of three, one person on the bag and two people partnered up. The person on the bags had to do 80 round house kicks at head height whilst the other two would go slowly, turn for turn exchange kicking and holding. It is definitely a lot harder than it looks.
Finally, we had the chance to slow down a bit (not for long) and stretch out our bodies. Now we had moved onto doing some kata and tonight we did a lot of repetition on kihon dosa yon. Going down the lines, we each had to count the whole way through the kata. After doing 10, we were asked if we think that we improved, stayed the same, or got worse throughout. To be honest, I felt I got worse everytime, so, to change that I had to stop focusing on how exhausted I was, and just say that I can do it. We did this 20 times more, and despite the fact that I was so out of breath and my muscles were sore, just changing my mindset was all I needed to be able to finish off strong.
I could tell that the intermediate kids class was quite slowed down compared to the previous classes. Except for the fact that we started off with a very competitive game, but after that the intensity was brought down quite a lot.
For pretty much the whole intermediate kids class we did some Chito-Ryu bo. All the kihons, kata, and basics. We also took some time to think about the application of the techniques for number 14 in a group context. At first I was finding it difficult to get my head around, but I was starting to get the hang of it after a while practising.
To finish off the kids class before our break,we slowed right down to literally lay down and breath for a while, practising correct breathing.
After a quick food break, we were back in doing a few stretches before joining back in with the rest of the class. We started off with just basic timing of all the kata we know, which was great since we haven’t really slowed down that much yet tonight. We did plenty of stretching after that which felt really nice on my sore muscles. For the rest of the class we did a big review on bunkai right from the start and as far as we could, until it was the end of the session.
Even though I wasn’t enjoying the kids classes at the time it felt great to just be able to have gotten through it all and the satisfaction of knowing that I gave it my all. I’m sure my muscles will be aching even more tomorrow, but it’s definitely worth it!
Second week, and today’s training has really made me break through limits I have never broken before. Every time I break myself down like this, I feel like my mental toughness is growing stronger and stronger.
Didn’t get any photos or videos today… Little bit busy getting sweaty!
To start off an early morning, the class was slower paced. Although it wasn’t very physically demanding, my mind was a bit out of it from my tiredness since it is an early morning after all. Little did I know, I was going to be in for a tough one tonight…
Last week we did quite a lot of sai practise, but today we did a quick review on some Chito-Ryu bo kihons and kata. Straight after that we partnered up and did some kumi bo and we repeated one part lots of times… My legs were aching! So, I guess in the little champions class we were doing lots of repetition and pushing ourselves just past what feels comfortable.
I was already feeling sore from the previous class and I definitely was not prepared for what was waiting for the seniors in the kids class. The task was to do every kata that we knew, but in between each one we had to do 10 push ups, 10 sit ups, 10 squat kicks, and 10 burpees… At first I knew it would be challenging, but I had no idea how difficult this was actually going to be. I started and about 3 katas in, I was already puffed… wow! I was finding it difficult to keep on moving, keep on breathing. I couldn’t think straight anymore. I had gotten to shihohai and about to start seisan when we were told to stop. This was a great relief to finally be finished, and it took me quite a while to regain my breath back again.
It was the intermediate kids class now and I was starting to feel slightly better. Back to bo, but this time we just went through the kata in front of a partner turn for turn giving feedback, but the main focus was kime. Spending most of the class on this was a good chance to get back to the Chito-Ryu bo in more detail since I haven’t done it in a while and we weren’t looking too closely into the details earlier on. With some helpful advice, I am finding that I am starting to get tight up in my shoulders and need to loosen up a bit at times. Getting to work with some great training partners over the past week and very grateful for the tips.
This session got going fast. We did a chunk of speed training and challenging our selves with a small amount of conditioning. Since we already did loads hard training in the kids class I wasn’t expecting to do much more hard training for the night. But, of course we repeated the same thing as the kids class… The kata and conditioning challenge, but this time I did not stop once and pushed myself 100 times harder than last time. I literally felt like I was going to be sick! This time instead of going to our highest kata, we were stopped after shime no kata… I never knew that I was capable of pushing myself beyond my first attempt at this. I feel the biggest thing that makes me want to accelerate that much more, are the people that are placed around me and their training attitude.
Over half way til the end of the intensive now and can’t wait to see what the rest of the week brings me!
I promise I will get a couple of photos in the dojo tomorrow… haha!
One week down, and one to go. Not going to lie, today has been the hardest day for me so far even though it was only a short day in the dojo. Surprisingly, exhaustion is only just starting to kick in now after a long week full of non-stop hard work. So, it’s about time for a Sunday rest day and then straight back into one more week of training to smash out!
These are photos with the small group who have participated in the 2 week intensive.
There was plenty of time in the little champions class for fun today. Lets just say it was probably harder work for the big kids. The little ones had to chase us around for about half the class and if they caught us, our job was to give them a piggy back ride, get them to be a wheel barrow etc. Despite how tiring this was, I would choose this any day over sitting around doing nothing. Being able to see all of the smiling faces of pure joy and innocent giggles is all I needed to keep me going today.
The kids class time was mostly filled with lots of partner work. We started off with kihon dosa bunkai and giving each other feedback on the key points that stood out the most. After this we took a look into a real world perspective in self defence, for example someone grabbing around your wrists and even ways of getting out if someones arms are wrapped around you. At first when I tried it with someone my own size, I was getting my head around that, but as soon as I had a lot bigger partner I was struggling quite a bit… I need some practise on that.
Wasn’t really feeling it today, so before the teens and adults class I stepped out for a short break and then we were right back into it. At the beginning of the session we spent a short bit of time doing some slow paced basics and I was really trying to focus on once again my posture and breathing, but this time I was also focusing on my body balance, especially with the slow kicking.
For the rest of the session, the brown and black belts did some Ryukyu bo practice. Even though we were doing this for most of the lesson we only did the kihons 1-4. This was a good opportunity to really breakdown each technique as we did them both slow and fast and we had our own time to work on all four of them any way we preferred.
Was a great and exhausting week and can’t wait for another full week of training starting Monday! This week we did 25.5 hours and next will be even more with beach training!