Blooming Browns

Big congratulations to Fiona and Stephen for passing their Brown II today. A gutsy 2 hour performance of stand up techniques and grappling, groundwork, trapping, kata, escape rolls and close quarter integration of pushing/sticking hands, hubud, grappling and boxing. Finished with the usual 8 rounds of various sparring, including 2-vs-1. Some very sharp techniques, adaptations and nice individualism shown throughout. A really good standard and combative. No broken bones but lots of bruises, sweat and (at the end) smiles. Thanks also to those that came and supported. Well done!

Come On In

Nice to see so many newbies come along for a bash tonight. Reminds me of my very first session although those years ago. Lack of technique made up by lots of enthusiasm. Only simple stuff but that’s always the best. “Never forget your beginners heart” as Shorinji would say.

Sweaty Start

Lovely first session back. No thrills or spills, just sweaty and tiring. We did circuits on pads, conditioning and sparring for 45 mins and then put the aching limbs through some techniques. A bit of turkey basting but good to see everyone keen to fight the flab. Great to be back!

Happy New Year for 2014!

Akemshite Omedeto – Happy new year! A new year and a fresh start and I hope you all have a great and better year than 2013. As usual we follow the Japanese celebration of kagami biraki (“opening the mirror ceremony”), where you reflect on the past year and enter a new period of your life to try and achieve a perfect self-reflection.

Another chance to review new year resolutions…How did you do for 2013? In my New Year message last year, my tantra was “build it and it will come!”, knowing hard work pays off eventually….the strong survive and the lazy suffer. Work hard, smile in the face of adversity and never give up. Last year that all seemed to ring true. I started the year from a very low point, unable to train due to 3 debilitating injuries, plus difficulties with work and my personal life. Yet again I was reminded that perseverance and patience pays off. I slowly built up resistance against my injuries, started training hard and got my life in an extremely busy but very efficient form of order. Never in my life have I been able to achieve so much as once. Over the Autumn I was training 3-4 hours a day, spending every spare minute rehearsing an hour long speech, looking for a new school for my daughter, fighting some local developers, plus dealing with the usual busy workload and time-consuming family life. With little sleep, lots of willpower and a ridiculous stubbornness I was eventually rewarded…receiving my black belt in JKD/Kali under Bob Breen. The most challenging and most rewarding achievement in my 29 year martial art career.

JKD Grading

To think at the beginning of the year I couldn’t even sleep more than 3-4 hours because I was in so much pain and by the end of the year I had reached a level of fitness I hadn’t experienced for nearly a decade. However, as I look back over the video of my grading I am both elated and saddened. I was very satisfied with performance and my level of fitness. However, I also see a person whose body has suffered too many knocks and unable to achieve the speed and dynamism he could 5-6 years ago. There are moments when I simply struggled to get off the floor. I remember thinking at the time “jeez this is tough”, but as usual I knuckled down and got stuck in as hard as I could despite the pain. I now realize I will never be the agile person I once was and I must now work harder to achieve less. In the old days when my body said no I would push through…now I have to listen to it and train within its limitations. It’s my time to train better and fight smarter.

Bushin took a few giant leaps forwards with the seniors continuing to grow in standard and our inaugural summer camp which went extremely well. Yet again, we lost some good fighters but gained some a pile of new faces with great potential. Despite its ups and downs, the style and standard continues to just get better and better. This year I want to concentrate on bringing the standard up more and developing a new group of committed fighters.

Looking forward for 2014, I plan to keep working with new efficiency to keep a full diary, training hard but fighting smarter. All about quality time in training, with family and at work. Being organized, planning, setting goals and having the strength and commitment to meet them.

So, let’s kick off another year with renewed spirit and energy. We are back at it on Tues 7th Jan for some trademark turkey busting. Be there to start with a bang!