Kyokushin Winter Camp 2014
My family and I have been training Kyokushin Karate for many years now and try and participate in as many functions as we can from competing and volunteering at tournaments, to attending summer camps and such. Well, this year my wife Sue and I took the opportunity to go to our first Winter Camp. Even though we had been to several Summer Camps, we both still felt some anxiety about what to expect. We arrived early on the Friday and got set up in the cabins; my wife with the ladies and me with some great friends I haven’t seen in a while.
I have always been interested in martial arts from a young child on. I watched Kung-Fu theatre and Bruce Lee movies and knew I was hooked. As a child, I used to take books from the library trying to teach myself karate. It wasn’t until I was in police training that I was exposed to actual martial arts training. Years later, as our kids grew, we looked for an activity to put them in. Following my childhood dream, we signed our kids up for Kyokushin karate. I admit I knew nothing about Kyokushin but it was reasonably priced and it was karate! I anticipated living vicariously through my kids as they trained but from the first or second class, Sensei Leo had us out of the spectator’s chairs and on the dojo floor training. We haven’t looked back.
I continue to say that one of the biggest things that has makes me proud to be a part of and stay with Kyokushin is the quality and caliber of the training and people associated with the organization; from Branch Chief Shihan Stuart Corrigal, Shihan Don Corrigal, the Senseis, Sempais and everyone else training to better themselves through Kyokushin Karate. Shihan Stuart’s fine stewardship echoes throughout the organization and his presence is felt in every dojo under his watch. This weekend was very special. I loved it! Focused training in the Bo staff, Tonfa, Kihon Kumites, Kata, Ido Geiko, Goshin Jitsu, man-oh-man, I was in heaven! One thing that stuck out with me was Shihan Stuart and his prowess in demonstrating the kihon kumites. Shihan, being a humble man, plays down his ability citing his age but I was in awe with the spirit, fluidity and speed of his techniques when he demonstrated the Kihon Kumites. The snap of his uraken ganmen uchi and chudan mawashi geri was inspiring. The strength and power in his kumite no kamae was undeniable. No disrespect to any of the excellent instructors and other classes but Shihan Stuart’s classes were my favorite.
The weekend was made even more meaningful during the outdoor Sunday morning workout lead by Sensei Curtis. As we said the Dojo Kun I felt a surge of energy. Even as I sit here typing away, the impact of the words still resonate with me. I have had different opportunities for training throughout my life and think that training outside adds an extra element. It puts us in touch with our environment. It’s organic. It nourishes our soul if you will at a primal level. What made this recitation of the Dojo Kun special is that it resonated even deeper with me. I think it was because we had already done some intense training earlier in the weekend and because I was in the moment. As I listened and then repeated each line of the Dojo Kun, I reflected on the training and words shared over the weekend. It was invigorating and enlightening all at once. For me, the Dojo Kun is a living mantra that continues to speak to you with new and evolving meaning as you reach new levels of experience and understanding. It is words to live by and aspire to. While we may not always meet the expectations that the words place on us, we can aspire to reach them by doing the best that we can, striving to stay the course of the martial way and get better each and every day.
I thoughtfully reflect on the Dojo Kun:
We will train our hearts and bodies for a firm unshaken spirit. Our training this weekend in a room with like-minded people training with spirit was electric. We train to be unwavering when faced with adversity. Adversity in our training, among other things, can be fatigue, injury, bad attitude, and laziness or lack of effort. “Osu no seishin” – Perseverance under pressure. Push forward when faced with internal or external pressure.
We will pursue the true meaning of the martial way. We come to understanding the martial way following the well-worn path of those that have travelled that same path before us. This pursuit is a forward moving journey along the path to enlightenment. Little epiphanies along the way that give us deeper understanding of why we do what we do.
So that in time, our senses may be alert. Days and years of focused training and teachings of our instructors will develop our senses of both of our surroundings and of ourselves.
With true vigor, we will seek to cultivate a spirit of self-denial. It is easy to do something that takes no effort and to give in to your whims and desires. What is hard is self-discipline. We must take a firm stance and refuse to allow ourselves to give in to that urge to stay home from training because we are tired or coast in our effort because our Sensei isn’t watching. When we exercise self-discipline, we are strengthening our conviction to improve. Cultivate your spirit of self-denial, and like a garden, your resolve grows where what was once difficult or seemingly impossible is no longer.
We will observe the rules of courtesy. In a world of rush, rush, rush, courtesy can get lost. In training, courtesy demands that you listen to your teacher and work hard to show them that their desire to teach you is not in vain. With your partner, work harder than them because they deserve your effort.
Respect our superiors. Your superiors have walked a long path to get where they are. We come into the dojo and bow to the front in a sign of respect for those that have trained before us. We bow to the dojo for respect for those that are there to train and be trained. Listen and follow the instruction. Don’t contradict or question, just say Osu and do it!
Refrain from violence. It seems an oxymoron to an outsider looking in as we kick and punch, throw and beat the heck of one another. In our everyday life, unnecessary violence must be avoided. Defend yourself or someone else in jeopardy only using as much force is necessary to stop or deter the attack.
We will follow our religious principles and never forget the true virtue of humility. Whatever your belief or faith, be humble as you go. In the vastness of the universe, we are but a speck in the grand scheme of things. A humble man is capable and open to learning while know-it-all is not.
We will look upwards to wisdom and strength, not seeking other desires. We must continually aspire to attain wisdom through knowledge, experience and self-reflection. Strength, both physical and mental, comes with hard work and focus. Be strict in your journey to avoid things that will derail your goals.
All our lives, through the discipline of karate, we will seek to fulfill the true meaning of the Kyokushin way. The journey along the path to enlightenment is life-long guided by the structure, instruction, demands, and philosophy of the Kyokushin way. With courtesy and respect, we will do our best each and every day in all that we do. We endeavor to better ourselves and act as a beacon for those that follow us along the same path.
It’s with much respect and gratitude I thank everyone for the amazing weekend we had. I feel truly blessed and fortunate to be a part of the Kyokushin family.
On Friday March 14th, 2014, 60 Kyokushin Karate-ka made their way to Silver Lake Forestry Camp, our home for almost the next 3 days of what would turn out to be some fun, interesting, and definitely intense Kyokushin training.
The focus of the weekend was made very clear by Shihan Stuart right from the very first training session…proper kihon. Throughout the entire weekend the words “proper kihon” could be heard at every training session. After a while you could begin to see everyone checking themselves to ensure they were doing techniques properly.
One of the highlights of the weekend was the introduction, or re-introduction for some of us, of the 8 Kumites. Eventhough there was only time to learn the first 4 of 8 we all had a great time learning them.
As well, the weekend is host to the much anticipated (and probably dreaded by some) dan candidate board breaking.
This year was much different for myself, as well as a few others. In previous years I have been on the board holder side. This time I was on the board breaker side of the afternoon.
Admittedly, when I approached the first set of boards to be broken I was a little nervous. As with all of us, I have broken many boards before and always had fun with it, but this time it was different, this time the breaking had something important behind it. Having Shihan in-front of you giving you the commands to break definitely helped to keep the focus on the task at hand.
Sunday morning, the last training session of the weekend truly brought out the Kyokushin spirit in all of us. From beginning to end everyone trained, and pushed themselves as hard as they could one last time.
Lastly I would like to thank Shihan Sturart, as well as, Sensei’s Larry, Terry, Brad, Dean, Laszlo, Steve, and Curtis for taking time away from their training to instruct us. Sensei and Sempai Kathy for checking us all in, taking photos and running the Kyokushin store, and the Silver Lake staff for feeding all the hungry campers.
Winter Camp 2014
There are only a few opportunities for students to get instruction from all the various instructors from across Western Canada, and Winter Camp is amazing for this. With only 60 participants and many of them being the most knowledgable instructors, you are guaranteed some valuable personal instruction! My biggest regret at Winter Camp is that they have multiple classes scheduled at the same time, so it wasn’t possible to attend every lesson! The ones I did attend were amazingly helpful, good training, and not just a little bit of fun!
I attended two Goshin jutsu (self-defence) classes with Shihan Stuart and learned new uses for techniques that I never considered before. I also got exposure to the returning Kihon Kumite, which put great emphasis on stance shifting and movement. The step by step progression showing how to use the stance changes to pull your opponent off-balance and create openings, while defending yourself, were very enlightening. I found myself remembering these lessons when doing kata later as well!
The Bo and Tonfa training with Sensei Laslo were also extremely impressive! Sensei Laslo not only taught us the kata but also general movements and progressions to gain more familiarity with the weapon. The demonstrations he and his students did were incredible and inspired me to find more time to practice with the weapons. It showed everyone the complexity and depth that these weapons have.
The Kata class I attended by Sensei Terry, Sensei Brad and Sensei Larry went over just the basic katas (the taikyokus and the pinans) but it was amazing (and somewhat horrifying) to discover how many things I needed to fix in my techniques and stances! They pointed out things in the flow of the katas and how to combine the techniques with hip movements and stance changes that I didn’t even know were part of the kata. Coming back to regular class, I found I had far more to think about and concentrate on when performing them!
In addition to these specialized trainings there were the joined trainings covering everything from basics, self-defence, kumite (fighting) and general hard training! On top of all that, this event is a great opportunity to get to know other people in the organization, talk to them, eat with them and train with them! There were also open opportunities to ask Shihan Stuart and the Senseis questions about anything in Kyokushin or the organization that you don’t know!
Winter Camp is a great place to learn, train hard and have some fun! Be sure to sign up quick though, with only 60 places available it fills up quickly!
March 18th, 2014
A Quebecker point of view…
Nous entraînerons notre Cœur et notre corps en vue d’acquérir un esprit ferme et inébranlable.
The IKOK-C winter camp is an event in itself; the training schedule is tight, the accommodation rustic, the training is hard… But if you manage to find the appropriate state of mind it is meant to be rewarding.
Nous poursuivrons toujours la vraie signification des arts martiaux et nous garderons nos sens en éveil.
The main stream of the camp is to reinforce your basics. It is a reminder that your Kyokushin journey will be a lot easier if you apply those fundamentals.
Avec vigueur, nous chercherons à cultiver un esprit de privation personnelle.
The accommodation is rustic, far from civilisation, far from ‘’artificial’’ method of communication… Yet it brings you back to the essentials in life.
Nous respecterons nos supérieurs ainsi que les règles de courtoisie et nous éviterons tout acte de violence.
It is meant to facilitate the creation of bonds between the members of the organization. It is where you have the opportunity to train with other instructors. It reinforces the true meaning of respect. Without respect there is no trust, without trust there is no proof, without real fighting there is no proof and real fighting is the heart of our karate.
Nous suivrons notre maître et n’oublierons jamais les vraies vertus de l’humilité.
It is where the first phase of the grading starts for the candidate. The requirements are high, the assessment demanding and the outcome is uncertain therefore it requests you to have confidence in your sempais and to be humble when the path is more difficult than expected.
Sagesse et force, ce sont là les seuls buts vers lesquels nous devrons nous élever.
It gives you an opportunity to let go and abandon yourself to training. I believe that ‘’letting go’’ is the key to wisdom. With wisdom comes strength.
Toute notre vie durant, grâce à la discipline du karaté, nous tâcherons d’obéir aux exigences de notre chemin de notre cœur.
This camp is not meant to be easy. This path is not meant to be easy. But remember it is the path we have chosen and it will bring you modesty, ambition and serenity therefore happiness.
Telle est la voie du kyokushin.
This is the true meaning of the Kyokushin way
Winter camp 2014
Having joined the IKOK-C 2 years ago, this is the first time members from the Prince George Dojo attended the Winter Camp.
We had three Ni-Kyu members attend the camp, myself included; being Ni-Kyu and a potential Dan candidates in the future, I can say that the experience of observing this portion of the Dan testing, and being able to interact with the Dan candidates during social times, was immensely valuable. It is humbling and at the same time very encouraging and inspirational to get a very real sense of the next stage of the journey in our training.
The training was so excellent. The fighting training that we did with Sensei Brad and Sensei Dean was so incredible in how much it expanded my own awareness, due to the emphasis that was placed on strategy, and the psychology of fighting. And of course, the techniques demonstrated were absolutely awesome!
Doing Kihon in the snow in the early morning darkness I really enjoyed, it added another dimension to training, and trying not to slip when the snow underneath turned to ice was a further challenge.
I am very pleased that so much attention was given to Bo Kata training, and delivered so excellently by Sensei Laszlo; it is very inspirational indeed to see the unity that he has with the Bo while executing the movements.
This letter would not be complete without my saying, and I know that I speak for all the members of our club, what an absolutely huge encouragement it has been for our club to be affiliated with the IKOK-C, both for our training and the relationships that we have built within the organization. Thank you so much to Shihan’s Don and Stuart, and to all the Sensei’s and Sempai’s that have given so much to further our Kyokushin training.
Steve Weinard, Ni-Kyu,
Prince George Kyokushin Karate Dojo
2014 Winter Camp report
by Alex Kleschelsky
Every Winter Camp to me is a perfect getaway from the rainy Vancouver to the spectacular winter wonderland of the Silver Lake Forestry. Staying in a log cabin and kindling the fire only add to the sensation of adventure.
The training took place in a large beautiful hall with its windows overlooking a frozen Silver Lake that was covered by a white carpet of snow and surrounded by a thick wall of trees. The highlight of the first class was Shihan Stuart’s Ido Geko, which left everyone feeling perplexed. Instead of making a regular turn after the command Mawate, we had to make six different variations of that turn in a specific order. That was quite a mind bender.
On next day the classes were split. The participants were given an opportunity to choose between fighting techniques, tonfa / bo and katas. Although all classes were run by highly skilled instructors that offered a vast variety of fun, I chose kata class. Back to my dojo, as a sempai I look for mistakes in my kohais’ techniques. But how often do I get someone to correct mine? I have to admit that the class was a total humiliation. My katas were taken apart and criticized by Senseis Terry and Brad. I felt like a white belt again—literally, since we had to remove all our belts. That was quite refreshing—not only for body, but mostly for mind.
A special kata class with focus on Bunkai was run by Sensei Larry. He was able to easily link together more than five moves in one Bunkai in such advanced katas like Seipai and Passai Dai. That was an eye opening experience. I wish we had more classes like that.
The pinnacle of the camp was the board breaking by the Dan candidates. The spectators watched with excitement, the expression of the focus on the fighters’ faces as they were gathering their body and mind in one. It felt like the calm before the storm. And then one powerful strike put the boards out of their misery. Ichi Geki, one strike—a victory. Job well done to all the candidates, and best of luck in Summer Camp.
In the first part of the final class we continued learning Kihon Kumite, where kuzushi (hook and trap) is the key essence. Sosai used to teach those moves at the very beginning of Kyokushin, and we are lucky to have Shihans Stuart and Don to pass on this knowledge to us.
The final twenty minutes of the camp totally belonged to Sensei Brad. It was an up-beat (excruciating), and spirit lifting (will crushing) high pace endurance marathon consisting of jumping squats, jumping push-ups, jumping kicks and myriad of variations of only one kata – Taikyoku Sono Ichi. And I thought I knew that kata . . . Everyone was exhausted, but our spirits were high.
In conclusion, I’d like to express my gratitude to all the instructors for their hard work and dedication that made 2014 Kyokushin Winter Camp another successful event.
Thoughts of Winter Camp 2014
Arriving at around 3.30pm Friday afternoon with my son George, Wired on the coffee after 8 hour drive from Calgary. I had a lot to think about on my way down this camp it being a portion of my Shodan testing, turning into the drive and down the slushy track to the camp ground. Hoping I would be early enough to get a good bunk by the fire. I was greeted by familiar face’s I had not seen since Summer Camp
First training and dinner passed without mishap then off to the bunk house, Armed with ear plugs and tired from the drive,sleep came easily to me. But all too soon it was 5.15 am , waking and dressing for morning warm up, no run because it was too icy, no lake because it was too warm, OH joy! That only left snow training! With the precision of a Roman legion we proceeded to form a training area, some in silence and some laughing up to their knees in snow. It must have been a funny sight, seeing 60 students in there dogi’s stamping the snow down then trying to stand and train on the patch of ice they had just made. Some of the local wildlife thought it was a “hoot “any way.
After stretching and kihon breakfast time arrived. This gave me a little more time to think about what was to come, the realization that the afternoon was a big part of my Shodan testing and the dreaded board breaking do or die time was looming.
Bo training took my mind of the fast approaching test. Immersed in my lesson and trying my best to avoid contact with my neighboring training partners. The time ticked past, unlike other years at Winter Camp, this year felt different, anticipation was building.
Lunch time came and I found myself uncharacteristically not hungry, but I forced myself to eat. Sempai Julie banned me from coffee, pointing out I was probably jacked enough at the moment anyway. (Thank you Sempai Julie!)
Then it was time, board breaking, standing with the other candidates trying not to look nervous! I realized I was not, my heart and breathing was steady and I had a job to do, I had a plan and it was all going to be just peachy!
I chose my boards then sorted them out as if I knew what I was doing and waited my turn. Then with a deep breath I stood to face the boards, it all went swimmingly! One mistake I did make though and this proved I was not thinking straight, was when Shihan Stuart asked if I wanted to keep the boards I had broken, I said “No”. OH whoa what was I thinking? The fire in the cabin had gone out and it would have made great kindling!
After I broke I sat down , the relief was massive, I felt a great weight lifted from me, I hardly noticed the other candidates break their boards, though I was watching and hoping it all went well for them.
Another training, Goshin Jitsu, always lots of fun, lots of new and interesting stuff to learn, remember and practice.
Then I was facing the interview. I had chosen not to wear my suit and tie, even after several recommendations from some of my more trusted friends! Thanks you for your advice.
The interview was not what I expected, I thought I would have been grilled or roasted a little It seemed to be a low key event though with everyone seeming to be happy with me looking uncomfortable in the hot seat.
I had been studying hard for written test (honest).It was a particularly unwelcome area of testing for me because that sort of thing I usually avoid like the plague. When Shihan Stuart happily laid the test in front of me I looked around at the others. They all looked calm and confident. I was wondering, if I asked Shihan Stuart to let me break some more boards or something he would take pity and let me off! Not sure if that would have worked though. I looked down at the papers and my worst fears were realized straight away, the test was written in Klingon! Then I looked again and noticed it was actually in English what a relief. I read the test through “That’s what you are supposed to do right?” Everyone else was scribbling away. The world was closing in around me but I heroically carried on. By the time I had finished everyone else had left except Sempai Isabelle, who smiled as she stood and left me all alone in the class room like the only boy in detention “again!”
It was done. I left the room and was greeted with a kind smile from Sensei Kathy. Could she have known the trauma I had just suffered? She slipped my test paper into the envelope and that was it, my lot was cast.
I spent most of that night not sleeping but contemplating the test. I realized that perhaps the test was not the most important part, but the studying I did before. Not knowing all the answers on the test, does not take away from the knowledge I gained leading up to it. If only Shihan Stuart had asked the right questions! But alas no one is perfect. That at least allowed me to get some sleep anyway, rationalization is a great gift.
Winter Camp 2014 was a part of my Shodan testing looking back it was a good time for me I got through it with most of my dignity intact, I broke my boards, I was reacquainted with some friends and made some new ones. I learned new karate and enforced some I had learned before. I even performed a Kata without making everyone else in the room laugh, Life is good
Now I am looking forward to the rest of the years events.
This year’s IKOK-C Winter Camp did not disappoint in terms of the intensity of training as well as variety of different activities to choose from. After an eleven year hiatus from attending this event it was nice to once again visit the familiar grounds and get together with close friends and members from other Dojos. As always my expectations were the same: work hard, keep an open mind and experience the opportunity to train with people I normally don’t get to train with.
The event was well organized with every detail including meals taken care of so the participants could solely focus on training.
On our arrival on Friday night we started off with the basics, Kihon, Ido Geiko and Kata. Even though I have been practicing for over twenty-five years I am always appreciative of fresh perspectives and methodologies of performing those fundamental routines. Furthermore, as I persist in my Karate training the importance of the basics resonates with me more and more on how it parallels with fighting and Kyokushin training as a whole.
While the winter camp morning training has its challenges, in that you are paving the path to the training area in snow that is knee deep and you are practicing aspects of DDP Yoga outside with no gloves, it is still quite rewarding and a pretty great way to start your day.
Apart from fulfilling my dan grading requirements I got introduced to DDP Yoga, Tonfa and Bo training as well as expanded my training and teaching capabilities of the basics. I would like to thank Shihan Stuart and all instructors for putting on a great training and I hope to see everyone at the summer camp or maybe a little earlier than that.
Edmonton Kyokushin Karate Club