Senshin: The Enlightened Mind

Martial Arts Blog

normrobitza On June - 22 - 2016

First I want to apologise for not being able to supply a daily post. The camp had limited access to the internet and I had limited data on my phone.

2016campTraveling to Ontario

IKD World Honbu Camp began on Friday but the trip started early Thursday morning for my wife and I. Jolene left our home early to deliver our vehicle to my eldest daughter, Katilyn. She lives approximately 2.5 hour trip from our home. An hour later, I was picked up by Shihan David and Sensei Janice Pyke along with Carol Gould. We travelled to Fredericton where we picked up my wife and continued on. Our trip was comprised of retelling stories of previous training events and tournaments, reminiscing about former students and taking several pit stops for bathroom breaks and meals. We concluded our first day of travel in Brockville, ON with a quick stop at Swiss Chalet and then to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. Early the next morning we woke up, had breakfast and headed off for the final leg of our journey.

Friday at World Camp

We arrived in Haliburton and went to Foodland. Our stop was two fold. First we picked up water for the weekend. Also my wife got to have a quick visit with an old childhood friend who she had not seen in many years. Then there was only one final stop before Camp White Pine. Lunch was not provided on the first day of training, so we stopped at a fish restaurant. The food was really well priced and great portions. You could tell we were in a relaxed community. It is not very often you see a seaplane land in a lake across the street from a restaurant and the pilot get out and walk over to get some lunch.

Shortly after lunch we reached our destination. Camp White Pine is amazing. I bet that the children that visit this camp for months in the summer have a blast. I would walk you through the different activities but I will instead post a link to the camp so you can look at their web site. CAMP WHITE PINE

Our first stop upon arriving at Camp was to enter the registration office. We were greeted by Shihan Maureen Woon-A-Tai, Shihan Bernice Hughes and Sensei Michelle Woon-A-Tai. We received our information sheet and walked to the building to find our room. My wife and I were lucky enough to have been assigned a room with a double bed in the “Hotel” building.

143e9fc4a65ee9cb7cb985b7189b6ed6The first official class of camp was all ranks in the Pinetages building. It was the main dojo for Nidan and up. Pinetages is a beautiful building with nice hardwood floor. The class was taught by Fuku Shuseki Shihan Dr. W. Dexter Shim. It consisted of agility ladder training and work on proper rotation of the body. It was a very basic class that showed us different ways to develop stronger and healthier students both physically and technically.

Class ran over time because of a typo in the schedule. We were all very late for dinner forcing some to eat their gi. Before the meal was served, we were told the rules of camp by the camp manager. He told us the procedure for the meal hall and other rules that needed to be followed for using the facility. The meal of stir fry and rice was great. The camp makes sure that there are also vegetarian options available. It was announced that the evening classes would be only an hour and a half. After dinner, Shuseki Shihan Frank Woon-A-Tai pulled me aside and invited me to a meeting following lunch on Saturday. We would be developing a new Virtual Dojo and I would join several other web savy karateka in helping to develop this great tool. Keep you eyes on INTERNATIONAL KARATE DAIGAKU or this site for more information on this new project.

Shortly after dinner the film, “The Real Mr. Miyagi” was shown. This is a documentary about martial arts legend, Fumio Demura. I had seen the film a few weeks prior to camp and enjoyed watching it a second time. I will do a review of the film after I get a chance to sit and watch it a third time as I want to have it fresh in my memory before I write about it.

Lights out was at 10:30pm but it took my wife and I much longer to get to sleep. We discussed the class and some of the techniques that were taught. Many of the concepts are exactly what Shihan David Pyke teaches us in Amherst, NS and what I have been teaching my students in Sackville, NB. It was a nice, however, to hear it in different terms. We were able to enjoy the different way of explaining the same concept and it may click with students using the different terminology.

Saturday: the First Full Day of Camp

Saturday morning was a black belt training class for me on the large tennis courts. The class was conducted by Shihan Josef Woon-A-Tai with Shihan Hector Sotomayer providing the warm-up. Shihan Keith DaCosta and Shihan David Pyke assisted during the session. It was a very basic class. We worked on Jutte with Shihan Josef Woon-A-Tai and some basic sparring drills. It was enjoyable. We also did our choice of kata and performed the techniques over and over. I chose to do Meiko. I have been working on Sochin for over a year in preparation for my Godan exam. Today, I decided to work on Meiko for better or worse it was not performed to the best of my ability. I was very disappointed with myself but this weekend is about learning. I don’t believe that you should worry too much about making mistakes ever. Karate is a lesson in personal growth. Test your own limits and refrain from trying to be better than or the same as others. Your only goal should to be better than yourself.

While the black belts were training on the tennis courts, other karateka were doing their Dan exams along with some of the higher ranking black belts who were testing for their Instructors/Examiners testing. But what many people don’t realize is that kyu levels are also training at camp. The numbers of kyu ranks (color belts) was very limited.

As training ended, a brief amount of time was given for cleaning up. Within an hour the cook was calling us to breakfast. Have you ever seen and old western movie? The camp cook uses a big triangle to sound the dinner bell. We all answered the call of the bell for pancakes and sausage in the dining hall. The breakfast discussion at our table once again had an international flare. Karate students from around the world expressed their love for the training and karate in general. Following breakfast, we had a little time to relax. I took the time to write. It was amazing to see how many people came up to me and said that they enjoy this blog. I didn’t realize so many of the IKD were coming here and reading my work. I want to take this time to thank everyone in the IKD and beyond for reading my work, the simple ramblings of a humble karateka. It is an honor to be able to provide my thoughts and to have so many complimenting what I am doing.

We then went to our second class of Saturday. This class was on Oyo with Shuseki Shihan Frank Woon-A-Tai. Oyo is the use of kata techniques in a free fighting/self defense setting. We did some basic techniques from Heian Katas. Years ago, Shuseki Shihan Woon-A-Tai showed a series of techniques from the katas and we called it free bunkai. That was the beginning of Oyo. We also incorporated some joint manipulation and throws into the mix. I worked with instructors from Saskatchewan, Sensei Karl Woolery from New York and Sensei Arthur Bird from Antigua.

We then prepared for lunch, chicken nuggets and fries were on the menu. Again, the camp provided a delicious meal. Meal time at camp is a chance for everyone to enjoy others company. We sat at a different table this time and I got to meet Sensei Andrew Rudder and Sensei Ian Benjamin of Trinidad.  We were also sitting with Sensei Michelle Woon-A-Tai and her son as well as Joannie Levesque from Quebec. I am sorry if I missed anyone that was also at the table. I am horrible with names, just ask my new students.

Following lunch, I attended a meeting for the team working on the new Virtual Dojo. We saw a mock up of the portal and discussed what the plans are for the project. I don’t want to talk too much about the project because it is in the developmental stages but it is going to be great. At the end of the meeting, the team working on the project were asked to attend the IKD Annual General Meeting. I was honoured to have the opportunity. In the Maritime IKD, all of the instructors sit in on organizational meetings but I never expected that I would sit in on a meeting of the highest ranking members of the International Karate Daigaku.

13450723_10157152491110492_7475558574260179502_nWe then headed to our evening class where we worked on Tonfa and Sai training. The IKD has introduced, Kobudo and this was a great introduction to the weapons on traditional karate. I had purchased tonfa but I had no idea how to use them. I looked at some books and videos but they were not very well done. Before camp, I ordered Sensei Fumio Demura’s DVD on Tonfa Self Defence and it should arrive shortly after I get home. We did basic tonfa training, learning how to use the weapon. We also covered basic sai training. We then practised with the tonfa, defending against sword (bokken- wooden training sword). Many people were getting bumps on their hands and forearms as they did not fully understand how to use the weapon. Following class, my wife proclaimed that she did not like the tonfa.

As I walked back to our cabin to get ready for Dinner, Shuseki Shihan Woon-A-Tai asked how I was enjoying camp. I told him I was having an amazing time and that I regret not being able to attend before. He also asked how my wife was enjoying camp. I told him she was having a good time but she was not a fan of the tonfa.

After class we went to dinner. Sitting with Sensei Janice Pyke and some students from Puerto Rico, we discussed some of the events of the day. The spaghetti was devoured in minutes and we had to return for more. Also we had the chance to talk about the tonfa and other aspects of our training. At this time Shuseki Shihan Woon-A-Tai gave the results of the dan exams. He also introduced the Shihan Kai, IKD Executives and then the Canadian Provinces, American States and other Nations that were in attendance. At the end of the meal, I ran to my cabin. I have a deviated septum and had to run to deal with a minor issue regarding that medical condition. I fixed the issue but when I arrived back to the dining hall, the AGM was underway. I slipped in trying not to disturb the meeting and joined Andrew Rudder and Jill Lampi. Together, we will be working on the Virtual Dojo for the IKD. I can’t speak much about the things in the meeting as I was only an observer and have no official capacity to be able to pass on information from this board. Following the meeting, I was approached by instructors and Shihan Kai members and received great compliments on the IKD website. I am honoured to have their feed back. This was a great weekend for not only learning new things in my training but for networking.

Following the meeting, I rushed down near the lake where some karateka were still enjoying the annual bonfire. One of the rituals of this bonding exercise is telling your karate story. I was the last one to tell mine. I told the youth that I was just like them. I started when I was young but they did one better than me because they had continued. I told them that it took until I was an adult to rejoin karate when my daughter decided to start classes. If I had only stuck with my training as a kid, I would have much more knowledge in karate. I told them never give up no matter how difficult things get and not to let things get in the way of their training.

Sunday: the Second Full Day

Sunday arrived faster than I expected. IKD World Camp is almost over. The morning started with training on the tennis court. This time class was taught by my instructor, Shihan David Pyke. He taught stuff that my wife and I have done forever. His concepts on things are very interesting. We worked on hip rotation and his ideas on the beginning of Bassai Dai. He has been teaching us in Amherst, that you need to move your leg before you progress forward in the first technique to make the application work better. We concluded the class with defence against a knife.

We returned and cleaned up for breakfast. Eggs and ham was the main course and consistently throughout the weekend, the food was very good.

13507119_10157152497660492_8433224011796175201_nImmediately following breakfast, it was announced that the store was opening and stock was limited. I looked at Jolene and asked her if she wanted anything. She told me she wanted to go size up a tonfa. From someone that said she didn’t like the weapons training, she wanted to size a weapon. We started to head to the store and were joined by Carol Gould, one of our travelling companions from Nova Scotia. She also wanted to know how to size the tonfa. I went down with them and told them how to pick a size. I was envious, because the size and feel of the tonfa that were available at camp were much lighter than the tonfa I had purchased from a popular Canadian distributor. Jolene and Carol each picked a set of tonfa and I was sent to get money to pay for Jolene’s purchase.

We had a short break and Jolene decided that she wanted to write something about her camp experience. She was very nervous and worried about what she would experience while she was here. She loved her time at World Camp and will be coming back. Her camp story will be posted here as a supplement to this post.

The second class of the day was Oyo 2. We continued with the previous day’s training as well and adding some new stuff to our Oyo repertoire. Oyo is something I am very interested in. I have a great deal of interesting in application of kata and hope to offer any help I can to the Oyo, Bunkai and Weapons departments of the IKD.

That is something that is also new this year. It was announced at camp that the IKD will have several departments, Oyo, Bunkai, Enbu, Tournament, Legal, Academic, etc. I am interested in helping with any department especially, Oyo, Bunkai, Weapons, and kata.  Finally, I am on the department in charge of the internet and the new Virtual Dojo.

Lunch was pizza and Caesar salad. I enjoyed the company of my new friends, Ian and Andrew. Ian, jokingly, invited my wife and me to his home in Trinidad. He insisted that he was not joking. He will have egg on his face if we show up at his door. Just kidding, my friend, I hope that someday, we will be able to journey to Trinidad and spend some time training side by side once again. This expression of brotherhood was also extended by Sensei Luis Aguero of Venezuela. He extended and invitation for me to visit his country once the turmoil is over.

During free time, I set up near the beach with my net book and continued to work on this review of my time at camp. As I sat, once again I was approached by several people thanking me for my work on the IKD website and on this blog. I was also approached by Shihan Bernice Hughes who talked to me about the camp and my upcoming Godan test. During this time several karateka were swimming and others were playing a two person tug of war on crates. I greatly appreciate the comments from everyone. At the end of the free time, the women of the IKD gathered for a photo. It was taken near the beach in the woods.

We then headed off to our final class of the day. Before the class, everyone gathered early to take the World Camp group picture. We may not be able to see some of these people for years. We will cherish this picture of our new friends together.

13507272_10157152499990492_2255753341797756557_nClass was taught by Sensei Andrew Rudder. He conducted a session on bo staff. There were many struggling with the bo but it was amazing. My wife loved it and we will be purchasing dowels to begin our practice of bo staff training. It was an amazing class with much education on the use of the weapon and simple training exercises.

We headed to our final sit down meal. We enjoyed Chinese-style rice and breaded chicken balls. During the meal, Shuseki Shihan Frank Woon-A-Tai announced that Shihan Bernice Hughes, Shihan Freida Shim and Shihan Clive Hinds were admitted into the IKD Shihan Kai. The meal was again very good. We sat with friend from Ontario, Nova Scotia and Puerto Rico. Jolene met a young lady from Puerto Rico that is planning to come to Canada to do her Masters degree. Jolene told her that our dojo is at Mount Allison University. I guess that she had not decided what University she was going to attend. Perhaps we may see her in Canada in the near future? We gave her our contact information and told her to check out Mount Allison University. It would be great to have an IKD student from another Nation.

Before we finished the meal, we all wish Shihan Maureen Woon-A-Tai and Shihan Josef Woon-A-Tai a happy birthday. It was also announced that Shihan David and Sensei Janice Pyke were celebrating their wedding anniversary on the final morning of camp.

We then headed to see the last movie of the weekend. The Man of Tai Chi, starring Keanu Reeves, was being shown in the Student Lounge. We sat with Shihan Keith DaCosta and Sensei Ken Woon-A-Tai. It was not the best movie but it was worth a laugh. Then it was time for lights out. Before we went to bed, my wife and I started to pack some of our stuff. We wanted to make sure that everything was packed as small as possible. We had to make room for another traveller to return with us. Michel Gaudet from Moncton, NB would be travelling back to Atlantic Canada with us.

We went to bed anticipating out last class.

Monday: Farewell IKD World Camp!

13509119_10157152500220492_5047761935667270631_nThe last morning of camp was very interesting. We trained with Fuku Shuseki Shihan Dr. W. Dexter Shim. The class was on conditioning for youth and others. We reviewed some of the things from Friday’s class as well as new ideas, including drills that will seem more like games for youth to take part in. These activities teach karate skills but in a fun game like setting. One of the games was explained by Shihan David Pyke. It is an activity he does with the youth class in Amherst. It involves a series of jumping jacks followed by a drop into push up position, roll to one side, do a push up, spring to your feet and jump into the air. Then you start again with one less jumping jack working your way down. Sensei Arthur Bird’s daughter was standing beside Shihan Pyke and looked at him with a face that will forever be burned into my memory. It made the entire room break out in laughter.

Following class we rushed backed to our cabin and finished packing. Breakfast this morning was a takeout. After packing everything up, we carried our bags out to the vehicle and then headed to breakfast. It was an opportunity to say good bye to our new friends, old friends and Shihan. Hugs were exchanged and email addresses were passed back and forth.

Traveling Home

The trip home was much like the drive to Ontario. We drove for the entire day with stops to get fuel, food and use the washroom. We discussed the experience at camp and talked briefly about upcoming events in Amherst. Shihan Pyke will be conducting a clinic and exam starting on Friday. Several times in our conversation, the young Miss Bird’s facial expression from Monday morning’s class was brought up. I really hope that it was caught on camera by Jill Lampi, who was filming for the new IKD Virtual Dojo. We stopped in Edmunston, NB for the night. We were all very tired and bed was the only things on our minds. Tuesday morning we had breakfast then left the hotel. A few hours later, Jolene and I were standing next to my daughter in Fredericton, NB. We transferred our bags from the van to our car and continued home.

Conclusion

Now this post was a “brief” overview of what I experienced while attending my first camp. This is very similar to what you will experience if you ever attend a camp. I did not write a lot about the training because it will be available on the new IKD Virtual Dojo. I wanted to speak mainly on the events of the day. I hope that everyone will like what I have written.

In conclusion, what were my opinions on the camp? I loved it! It was an amazing experience, especially for my first time attending the event. I am a Canadian. I was born here and lived my entire life in Nova Scotia. My father, however, is from Austria. I have family back in Austria that I have never met. My cousins and Aunt have never seen or spoken to me, ever. I have finally compensated for not being able to see my international family. The IKD is a family and now I have international family members that I can not wait to see again. Anyone can attend camp. There are classes for all ranks. Camp is not about being the best. Camp is about wanting to be better. As I was about to enter the van for the drive home, I took in one last breath of camp air and tried to hold it in as long as I could to hold onto the experience. Next year, I will be a veteran of IKD World Camp with new faces experiencing it for the first time. I hope that my words here will inspire you and make you want to come to camp. If this post inspires you to attend camp next year, please come and speak with me and tell me. I will love to hear what you think of camp as well.

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