Category Archives: Training Intensive

Day 7: 15th Jan

Todays 6am class was very hard to get to. I thought I was a morning person but I’m beginning to realise I need more sleep. Weather it is throughout the day or more in the morning I don’t mind. To contradict that though I am going to miss training everyday once this intensive is finished.

Morning class:

This morning we had a focus on bo. 3rd Kyu students and above worked on Ryukyu bo numbers 1 to 7. After doing sets of 10 on each sequence we split into 3 mini groups where we broke down each sequence into great detail. There wasn’t a lot of time so we only got up to number 5 but I did take a lot out of it. As noticed in last nights class, I need to accelerate from my hip right from the beginning of the technique.

Once I got home I slept for about 3hrs and then went to the beach to let the waves beat around the muscles in my legs and hopefully help with the tightness.

Little Champions Class:

This afternoon we split into two groups straight away; was intensive students on one side of the dojo and everybody else over the other. Sensei Martin got us to begin with slow and controlled front kick. We held it out for the count of three and then pulled back. Once we did a couple of laps we got faster. The fast pace stayed for remainder of the class. We did 6x laps of front kick, increasing by one kick each technique every lap (first lap = 1 kick each leg, second lap = 2 kicks on each leg, etc… ). Following this was 6 laps of jumping front kick. After just this one cycle I was exhausted. But we weres only 1/3 of the way through. We repeated this with side kick and also round-house kick. Safe to say my legs felt like lead for the next hr.

“Will it be easy?


Worth it?


Karate Kids class:

I started off this class still barely being able to lift my legs from the last class but during the warm up, in my competitive nature, I had to help my team be the fastest! It is all good fun until you push a little too hard and overheat. About 20 minutes into the class I felt dehydrated and went quite dizzy while doing more sweaty activities. A short drink break fixed me up for a while.

At about half way the intensive students began to do some more bo. We focused more on Chito-Ryu bo. After going through the kihon kata we formed a line and did 100 consecutive kirikaeshi (hope that is how you spell it) in shiko dachi with the person in front and behind us. This was yet another physical challenge which really burnt the leg muscles. Again another activity that tested the mind and body strength that we all worked together to complete!

Adult Class:Adult Class:

I had some really painful stomach cramps at the start of this class so I sat out and observed for about half an hour. There are so many ways to learn and it is good to change it up sometimes. While watching them training I began to understand a little bit better how to generate power from the ground up into my punch. It is all about the tension throughout your body.  Also in yesterdays blog post I spoke about getting the illusion of tearing the paper with your feet and squeezing the thighs. I tried to put this into practice and it was real effective throughout the class and all the other ones as well!

Hopefully throughout the next couple of blogs I can talk more about techniques and body awareness but for the now, it is still proving to be a very mental and physical challenge. Thankyou everyone that is training alongside me

Pushing Myself

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!

Morning Class

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…

Little Champions

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.

Karate Kids

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!

Day 6: 14th Jan

Over half way there and I’ve never felt more motivated to see what i can earn for the rest of the week! This morning was the only class this week that I wasn’t able to make due to work but I’m 100% the afternoon classes put all of us through our paces. No photos tonight as it so full on!

Little Champions Class:

This class is such a fantastic class to figure out the theme of the night and set the basis of how the rest of the night’s focus is going to be. In this class the brown and black belts were taken aside to do some chito ryu bo kata and basics. Last week we had a sai focus and I spent he week learning the basics and beginning to generate power and kime through my body. With the bo we did all of the Chito-Ryu bo Kihon kata sequence and also kumi bo. More of a physical challenge this was because there was one section that we repeated 90x with multiple partners. My knees were weak and my arms were heavy but I knew that if I could switch my mind back to one of the sessions last week about perseverance and getting the job done I knew I could finish it off strong!

Karate Kids class:

The previous class had already made my legs jelly and I was already pretty hot and sweaty. Nothing could prepare any of us for what was about to be presented to us seniors in this class. The blue belts and above were taken over to the side to do some kata. With a twist though! We had to do as many kata as we could pump out, but after each kata we had to do a combination of 10 push ups, 10 sit ups, 10 squat kicks and 10 burpees. The day was extremely hot during the day and I forgot to eat properly… so this was extremely exhausting and it got the better of me after 5 sets. I had to sit out and was immediately beating myself up over it. Was such a fantastic physical and mental challenge though.

The advanced kids class we revisited the bo. We focused on kime and how to use our body to generate it. While sharing our thoughts with each other we concluded that it was to do with the tension (push and pull of out pullback) and generating the power from our hips/the ground. Personally I tried to get the feeling of getting the power from the ground up. I made the illusion of squeezing my thighs and making a ripping the paper feeling with my feet. I got the power and the kime towards the end of the class but I didn’t have consistent speed throughout the entire technique; I started off slow and then finished fast. More to work on tomorrow night!

Adult Class:

Tonights 10 minute break was well deserved as the session was intense from the start. Again we did a lot of speed training and I know that I am not the fastest senior on the dojo but tonight I was the slowest. It didn’t overly bother me as I knew I would just push and finish what I started without any shortcuts. The entire nights training was exhausting so I thought the adult class would be more technical than physical. I was so wrong! Again the seniors in the class were taken to the side and we did the kata/conditioning challenge again. We had half an hr to complete up to shi ho hai. My muscles were aching, my head was telling me negative thoughts because I didn’t complete it the previous class. But I pushed all of that aside and I did it. It was the most amazing feeling knowing that I could turn it around and just do it. Yes I was the slowest, yes there were instances where I did the wrong move in a kata, yes I collapsed a few times during pushups, but nothing stopped me and that’s the attitude I want to retain with me throughout the rest of my training.

Halfway There

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.

Renae couldn’t make it to training today, but we couldn’t leave her out…

Little Champions

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.

Posted by Sam Phillips on Saturday, 12 January 2019

Karate Kids

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.

Posted by Sam Phillips on Saturday, 12 January 2019
David definitely caught me by surprise!


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.

Posted by Sam Phillips on Saturday, 12 January 2019

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.

Posted by Sam Phillips on Saturday, 12 January 2019

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!

Still Going Strong

Only a short day in the dojo today since squad training hasn’t started back yet (1 morning class 2 kids classes), but still a very productive day.

Morning Training

Today the morning session was unexpected. We were told to think about something that we will work on today whilst we sat in seiza. We stood up and got told to do your own personal training and work on the things we thought about in our head. I am personally not a big fan of this way of training but when I think about it, it is a very good learning tool because you get to work on what ever you want to or need to, where as in a normal directed class, the focuses are supposed to be aimed towards everyone but sometimes it will not suit every students individual needs.

In last night’s post I was talking about how I am trying to mainly focus on my posture and breathing. To practise this I spent most of my time doing basics, kihons, and kata. By the time I had finished everything there was around 10 minutes left and Savannah grabbed to help her try to remember the sequence to the first sai kata. Having a go with the sai with the focus of posture and breathing did make me think quite hard about what I was doing but it ended up feeling way better after this.

Little Champions

I was feeling very refreshed at this stage in the afternoon because I knew that there was less than two hours to go!

Posted by Sam Phillips on Friday, 11 January 2019

After doing some sai once again, the girls had to create an obstical course for the boys and vice versa. We are all very competitive so we tried to make it hard for the other team. It was great to have some fun making each other sweat!

Karate Kids

To start off the last session of the day Savannah, Bailey, William and I did a weapons performance for the karate kids and went straight into a game to warm up (not that I needed to warm up haha) which definitely involved lots of noise but great fun!

Posted by Sam Phillips on Friday, 11 January 2019

For most of the class we did lots of kumite drills and I must’ve been pretty tired because I forgot what a reverse punch was and accidently did a front kick instead… oops haha!

Posted by Sam Phillips on Friday, 11 January 2019

Posted by Sam Phillips on Friday, 11 January 2019

The last 10 minutes of the class and everyone was worn out… well at least I was, and this was when we all got introduced to the 300 kick challenge. We had to choose a partner and each do 300 kicks on a bag each and finish in 10 minutes. Claire went first and got to 50 and needed to rest, but I wanted to show her that it is possible to keep going so I when I went I went all the way through, 1 to 300 kicks in a row. I was hoping that this would help so that she realises that she can push beyond what she thought was possible, and that’s exactly what she did. With about two seconds to spare we both finished all 300 kicks in just under 10 minutes. Let’s just say there were lots of high fives and to finish Claire got her new belt… Great reward I’d say!

One more day to push through tomorrow and then a well deserved rest on Sunday ready for week 2!

Day 5: 11th Jan

The final day of the first week was probably my favourite class yet! I must admit I snoozed my alarm thismorning 3 times and got to the dojo with 5 minutes until class. But yet again, I felt great during and after the class. Some days when it is hard to get to the dojo, I give the class 10 minutes and by then my complete attitude has changed and I just want to train!

This morning was the only class I attended today because my family and I have gone on a weekend get away. The class was entirely self paced but before the seiza Sensei Martin got us to think about what we want to get out of this class.

While in the 5min seiza I reviewed the week entirely and what i have struggled with the most. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to work on body balance and using my left and right sides equally to generate power. For about 10 minutes the dojo was silent and then i began to kiai. The power of a Kiai is almost infectious and soon the dojo was no longer quiet. The first half an hour I did a lot of stepping/punching and advanced kata. I really focused on my overall balance and generating the hard and soft throughout a kata. To do so I tried to use less muscle and more hips. I think this helped and I will play with it more throughout the rest of the intensive.

The second half of the morning class I was working with one of the yellow belts. We did a bit of bunkai and then kicking on the bags. Again I focused on not wobbling my head and getting that twist at the end of my blocks/punch. With the kicking we used the bags, we started off slow and controlled and then evolved into a faster kick with a target. I loved just letting loose and using all on my power. Was good to just sweat!

This evening my little sister and I found a grassy patch on southbank river and had a bit of a kick around. I got her to play with her balance while stepping and then to use her leg strength as we did a few really slow controlled kicks. Was just enough to get our minds ticking before we got dinner!

When I first starting writing this blog at the start of the week, I believed it wasn’t going to do very much for my training as I already have a training diary. But I found that reflecting in more detail by myself and writing down my experience has grown me. Not just as a karate student but as a person as well!

I have had some very positive feedback from students and parents at the dojo who have been following me on this intensive journey. Even a few from overseas, thank you so much. See you all Monday!

Day 4: 10th Jan

Day 4 done! I am finding out where my fitness and flexibility levels are at now. This week is still proving to be a very mental challenge but I believe I am handling it with competence.

Throughout the last 4 days I have participated in 2x 6am classes and also 2x 5am shifts at work. I am really benefitting from these early mornings as I always feel refreshed and ready to fight any battle that is thrown at me throughout the day. Throughout the intensive programs that I have participated in, at the beginning of each new class, with new fresh students, I find their enthusiasm and presence invigorates me to give 110% again. I love feeding off of others energy and I also love sharing my own energy and building up the dojo with a kiai!

Advanced Kids Class:

In the advanced karate kids class tonight we did a lot of partner conditioning exercises. One exercise specifically was an ab workout. As pictured below, one partner had to raise their legs in the air and move them in a scissor motion while the other partner jumped in and out of the legs. We only had to do this 40 times. each.. I found that this exercise didn’t hurt my abs too much as my focus was on trying to avoid my partners feet as he landed… really close to my legs…

Also in this class we finished 10 minutes early to do another exercise that tested everybody’s mental strength. We had to hold a push up position for as long as possible (10 minutes was the goal) without our bottoms being higher than our head at any time. I got my first and final warning that my back wasn’t flat at 5 and a half minutes, and then my second warning at 7.5 minutes. I am proud that I was one of the last students to sit up but I believed I could have gone longer! Always aim to exceed your personal expectations, it’s all mental.

Adult Class:

In the teens and adult class tonight we continued on the flexibility and conditioning road. We began the class with a very deep stretch which helped settle down my muscles and stop them from crying a little bit. HAHA. After this we did a lot of kumite drills. I am really enjoying these as it always lifts my speed and intensity which carries throughout the class and helps everybody else grow too. While doing speed training and kumite drills are extremely exhausting, it only drives me to put more in.

All of us doing the intensive have been doing a minimum of 4 lessons per day, usually one right after another. It does become more challenging as the week goes on but why do we continue? we all fight through the pain, the muscle soreness and the mental challenges because we know what outcomes there can be. After the intensive is finished, you always have a feeling of success and on top of that a more vast knowledge of the basics that have been in practise.

As it comes to the end of the week my body is holding up fairly well (that’s being generous) and I am proud of what I have achieved so far. I’m not going to lie, I am looking forward to a weekend to relax and recharge but there is one more day to get sweaty!

Motivation is Kicking In

Starting to get the wheels turning again and finding it easier to accelerate in my training as I get back into feeling fresh again. The main things that keeps me going are my goals, both short term and long term. I know that if I don’t have any goals ahead of me it can feel hard for me to train since I would be working towards nothing. So, I am always keeping in mind why I am here so I am able to keep pushing ahead.

Morning Training

It wasn’t a fast pace session this morning, unlike the morning sessions over the past couple of days but we did a some bunkai and got to work with some partners that I don’t usually work with. It was great to learn from others and be working with different body types as bunkai is always different with other people.

Kids Classes

In the little champions and kids classes, training wasn’t really that physically challenging until the end of the intermediate kids class where we had to hold a plank for as long as we could and I was so determined to not give. At around four and a half minutes my whole body was aching and shaking, I was also starting to find it hard to breath. At that point my body physically couldn’t not hold itself up and I dropped… I was disappointed in myself because I knew in myself I had done way better previously and about half the class was still on their hands and feet. But I thought, if it wasn’t my mind that gave in and it was my body, then I should be so proud of myself that I never actually gave up… If I continue to push myself to 100% every time I train, I will have no choice but to get stronger.

Teens/Adults Class

I don’t know what changed in this class, but my mindset had changed since the last class. I was making sure that every single thing that I did was at the best version of me.

For this session I was really focusing on my posture and my breathing which I feel is necessary at the moment in my training because lately I have been thinking about too many things at once, so I want to bring my attention to more specific things.

During the class I was helping out newer students, which wasn’t just beneficial for them, I also did benefit from it as well as I had to communicate my understandings to them which really made me have to think about the techniques more deeply in my karate.

We had a small amount of time to work on more sai tonight. Some very useful feedback was given to everyone as a whole which really made sense when I thought about it with the application. This feedback made the basics seem a lot clearer in my head and made it easier when I was practising too.

After a long class it was definitely time for some fun playing a very competitive game of scissors, paper, rock…

Who said the big kids can’t have some fun?

Fresh Starts

Quick Review of the past 3 days

2 lazy weeks off training and finally back into the dojo for a 2 week training intensive… Changing from being in holiday mode to a normal schedule again usually likes to take its time and I would usually feel unmotivated to do anything. Since I have participated in these training intensives in the past a couple of times I am starting to see the positive impacts it has on me both mentally and physically, so it wasn’t so hard to get moving again for the new year.

Even though it hasn’t been as hard for me this year, I still struggle to wake up in the mornings as I am not a morning person. Although I find it difficult to get up early I know that the hardest part about the morning training is waking up and turning up, but I know I have to push myself out of my comfort zone otherwise I will not achieve great results if I don’t turn up and give it all I’ve got.

On the first days of the intensive program I was having trouble getting through the afternoon because of the early mornings because by the time it gets to the afternoon it has already been a long day but, there is no point going to train if I’m not putting 100% effort in.


In the dojo so far there have been a range things that I have been working on. The thing that has stood out the most to me is the amount of stretching and conditioning we do. I think that it is a great way to kick off the year and it is helping me get back to being more physical as I did not do much over the Christmas/new year break. The conditioning that we are doing at the moment is probably more mentally tough than physically because of the repetition and it isn’t the same type we would usually do either. It feels great to try new things especially after a long break.

Being back in the dojo means reviewing everything lots! Pretty much every class we will go through our basics but, it never gets boring because there isn’t only one way to practise which makes me feel engaged when I train. Just going through all the kihons and kata in different ways makes it a better learning experience for me. Going through it everything really fast and pushing ourselves or even slowing it right down to focus on specific main points like breathing, having good posture etc.

In some classes over the past few days we have briefly covered some kumite. For this we mainly only practised one combination and the focus was to have good distance at the beginning and the end of the technique, plus having as little gap in between the two punches as possible to create maximum speed on our combination. For me this wasn’t a too hard to execute when practising on the bags but as soon as we moved to an actual partner I was already finding it difficult to adapt. Doing these drills helped me realise what I need to really try hard to work on making this a great learning experience.

Last night and this morning we did some sai training. Since I haven’t done this in a while it was great to clear some cobwebs out of the way as well as learning new things as well. Last night, we went through the sai basics, kihons, and the kata. For me, I already knew the first sai kata but last night I learnt the second one too with some help from Bailey.

Happy 10th birthday Lachlan!

Oh yeah! We can’t forget Lachlan’s 10th birthday. Always great to see all the karate kids bringing a positive attitude to the dojo with big smiles and always supporting each other.

Great getting back into the swing of things and can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for the year to come!

Day 3: 9th Jan

So much feedback tonight, I am still absorbing it all. Tonight’s sessions were both physically and mentally exhausting, I don’t think they were any more difficult than the previous days, the lactic build up around my muscles and the physical exhaustion was a real contributing factor though. In times like this it is when you really need to dig deep and remember what motivates you. When I feel like giving up and my head is feeding me alternative thoughts, I have to remember why I started and what I’m working towards. Putting in that little bit of extra effort now will result in big gains.

If you think that you’re already giving 100%, dig a little deeper and give another 10%. By proving you are capable of this will not only grow yourself, but will influence upon everybody else around you. Tonight I really tried to show this and hopefully I can continue this throughout the entire two week intensive. When you think you have reached your limit, it is just a thought, pushing through the mental barrier of pain and doubt is what will get you to your next level or goal.

Feed off of everybody’s energy to grow yourself