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18/12/2010: Region 23 Beach Training
Beach Training Class in Region 23 is generally planned to be the final training session for the year – a chance for the whole region to enjoy training collectively, in one large outdoor dojo. Newly gained skills or ones developed over the years are tested in and on the most fickle of media – water and sand. Over 100 students and their instructors gathered in the cool, breezy morning of 18 December on broad sandy stretch south of the Port Noarlunga Jetty. The determination to do some serious training, but mostly enjoy some martial fun, was shown in attendance of classes from the Burnside, Mt Barker and particularly the Murray Bridge Dojo's. And while initially cool during class, the sun frequently broke through rapidly moving clouds, making worthwhile the precautions of hat, sun-block and sunglasses.
Regional Instructor James Gray Sensei in customary manner quickly delegated responsibilities – enrolling attendees, setting up the BBQ, overseeing and conducting activities. Kirsty Kane Sensei ran the beach program, separating students into various groups' based on age and kyu level' then allocated instructors to each group. Groups first went through basics – strikes, blocks, kicks and stances. Kicks standing knee deep in water proved a popular activity, though advanced students began their's in dry sand, much to the humour of Sensei's Twining, Learmonth and Burford. Combinations and kata followed, and despite always starting on firm sand, students seemed to always finish in the water.
Following that, a shift which reeked of conspiracy, took the wet students to self-defence techniques involving simple hand/arm locks and take-downs, in the soft, loose sand, much to the mirth of nearby mums, dads, husbands and wives or other guardians and partners, as well as siblings and friends. Any time it seemed a group had cooled down, they would embark on a raid of another attempting to distract or interfere with that group’s training, but risking similar retaliatory action.
For the younger groups/lower kyu's a series of games finished their day. Games involving karate techniques, or strength, coordination and agility are a little more awkward on sand, but still popular. Juniors with Chris McDonald Sensei did a tunnel crawl while standing in kiba-dachi. Carol Blackford Sensei organised a relay race of lunge punching in zenkutsu-dachi.
For the older students class finished with a return to sharp practice of simple techniques. Sensei's Dodd and Begley had their young charges punching strongly in low stances while 7-6th kyu students with Sensei's Cook and Hutton, performed basic combinations to left and right. Finally all groups came back together as a single class, finishing with straight punches at head and chest level, moving in forward stance.
Before the BBQ however, students and instructors deal with wet karate-gis coated in sand. For some the simple solution is to swim in the gi. Instructors warned their students to wear their bathers beneath. Others wash it off under street-side shower, wrap it in a towel or put the gi in a plastic bag to hose it down at home. A few risk tomato sauce stains, letting it dry as they wear it at the BBQ. With one sausage, then another, washed down with can of soft drink, talk centred around this year’s achievements, next year’s goals and plans for the holiday season. Many thanks to Sensei,s Mark Ingle and Steven Lavender, capably assisted by Clive and Rita Kelleher, for supplying and running the BBQ.
Thanks to John McDonald for the Report and Photos.