Brown and Black Belt Camp
Two years ago, last April I was extremely excited to test for 2nd kyu. Not because of the status symbol of wearing a brown belt, but for the fact that I was now eligible to attend events such as the Banff Conference and Brown and Black Camp in Armstrong. The buzz from senior members after attending these camps was finally going to be available to me! My third Brown and Black Belt camp has just finished and it exceeded my expectations once again.
Everything we train is related to fighting. Kyokushin techniques are based upon the concept of Circle and Point. This was the theme of the weekend. “Be mindful in your training.” Words I have heard before and have taken to heart. However, this weekend I was given a few more tools to polish that stone.
I find these camps incredibly informative. Shihan Stuart, Shihan Donald, Sensei Larry, and Sensei Terry took us through training sessions this weekend and I found myself writing many pages of information into my notebook at the end of each session. I was training many aspects within Kyokushin that I have trained before but with such an intimate group, there were many opportunities for the Shihans and Senseis to give personal instruction and things for me to focus on. This gave me the opportunity to break some bad habits and also build upon what I have learned over the last 6 years. I did my best to incorporate the theme of the weekend and the individual pointers I was getting throughout the sessions. At times, I must admit, I felt awkward and cumbersome in my movements. I felt like I had never trained a day in my life.
Shihan Donald gave an excellent talk about mindfulness; being aware of your entire surroundings without judgment. Being aware of your own body in its entirety as well as its parts and how you interact within that environment. The ability to focus on the “big picture”…….. I think perhaps my previous idea of focus in my training was incorrect…….. hmmmm???
In the sessions that came after this talk, I attempted to keep this “new focus” up front and do my best to let the themes of the weekend, as well as my individual instruction, flow. Be mindful of it all as a big picture without judgment. Like a flickering light, I found moments where it all seemed to come together. I was impressed with myself and what felt like graceful and powerful movements……. However, inexperience reared its ugly head and it was soon gone. So I will continue to train with these concepts in hopes that this feeling will become my new “normal”
At the conclusion of the weekend, I was feeling excited to get back to the “daily grind” of training. I have some new tools I need to work with. I found it interesting how everyone seemed to take the same weekend theme and have a new personal goal or enlightenment that they found from the weekend. So much to learn and my only wish is that I had started Kyokushin much earlier in life.
These camps are always so eye opening. I have found my training has benefited greatly by taking the opportunity to attend them. To Shihan Stuart, Shihan Donald, Sensei Larry, and Sensei Terry I say OSU!!! Thank you for being our instructors for the weekend. Thank you for always giving of your time and knowledge so freely to the rest of us. It is greatly appreciated. If you ever get the opportunity to attend Armstrong Brown and Black belt camp, I would strongly recommend a clearing of your personal calendar. You will find it a great recharge of your Kyokushin batteries. Plus, the Saturday meal and gathering at Sensei Larry and Sempai Kathy’s is fantastic. Coupled with the great company and conversation you may experience some new found knowledge. Osu Shihan Donald, upon the arrival of this winters freeze, I will take your advice…………..
Brown/Black Belt Camp
Armstrong, B.C -2014
I received my brown belt in 2013 so this is the first year I was able to attend this camp. I’ve heard my senior belts talk about how great this particular camp was and couldn’t wait to go. As it turns out, I was not disappointed at all. I have been to Winter camp and every summer camp since I was 5 years old (12 years now). Although I’ve enjoyed the previous camps, I really enjoyed this black/brown camp as the intimacy of a small camp allowed me to focus on my training, learning and comprehension of what I was being taught.
The running theme of the weekend was to be mindful of your surroundings, whether good or bad, just let it be what it is. We did an exercise which required us to either sit or lay down on the floor (I’m sure glad I chose to lay down) and relax to the state of total mindfulness. We were asked to be aware of the sounds around us and the pains we felt in our bodies and let them be what they are with no judgement. After allowing myself to feel everything in my body, address it, be aware of it and then “throw it away”, I think I may have fallen asleep!
In the classes that followed, focus and intention of movement was a priority while doing the kumite’s, Seienchin kata and kihon. While I tried to apply what I was taught with every strike and movement, my old habit’s reared their heads but at least now I can try to retrain my mind and focus on getting better. Even as a brown belt, I am still a beginner to Kyokushin karate and have a lot to learn.
Thank you to Shihan Donald, Shihan Stewart, Sensei Larry and Sensei Terry for all the great training sessions and finally, as good as the classes were I really enjoyed the friendships I have made at the camp. It’s so great getting to know my Kyokushin family on a personal level.
I would also like to thank Sensei Larry and Sempai Kathy for their wonderful hospitality to the Poco dojo group. You guys certainly made this a great experience for us and for that we all thank you so much.
Sincerely, Tanner Nordin