Senshin: The Enlightened Mind

Martial Arts Blog

normrobitza On June - 23 - 2016

13465981_10157029143545032_633719955836722478_nFrom the start of my karate training when we were part of the JKA/ISKF, I heard the stories of Master Camp and the 6 am runs. Two thoughts would come to mind; would I get that high of a rank and good enough to go and how scary it would be. I would never do that because those 6 am runs sound like torture. In 2014, I finally decided that I must get to camp, when I realised I had a childhood friend in Haliburton, near Camp White Pine, that I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. I don’t know why I hadn’t realised this sooner but it was too late to join camp that year by the time I had made the connection. 2015 Camp/World Cup was in Toronto but 2016 camp was back at Haliburton so here was my chance. Even more then seeing my old friend I had also signed up over the last year for the Kenshusei program so it would be very important for me to get to camp to get my course credits.

Camp info came out and I didn’t know with the dog, work and a child writing exams if I would be able to go. My husband Norm Robitza, as a yondan, head instructor of Mount Allison University dojo and webmaster for IKD we decided that he should definitely go to his 1st camp to get his Kenshusei credits. Norm’s papers were filled out and sent before the early deadline. I am a Nidan and took my sweet time getting there having started in 1999 but life happens that has slowed my karate but never took me away from it so I figured next year. My 15 year old kept saying she and the dog would be fine so I finally booked my time off work and mailed out my camp registration. I was later able to make arrangements for her older sister to come home from NB and spent at least the weekend with her.

13450033_10154191637283326_1099826292824519114_nWith my spot booked for camp now all the fear and excitement set in. As a fussy eater, a some what shy person when it comes to meeting people and a light sleeper that gets up for the bathroom during the night, the questions started running in my head. What will the food be like? What will my roommates be like? Will I have a cabin near the bathrooms? Will I pick a top or bottom bunk? I was very lucky and surprised to find out that Shuseki Shihan Woon-A-Tai had solved a lot of those worries by putting me and Norm in the “hotel” building together with a bathroom. Now I was just worried about food so I packed lots of snacks. I am happy to say I didn’t really need all the snacks for more then my long drive there and home because I was always able to find something I liked and always full. Ok so now camp life problems were solved. What about the training?

13509119_10157152500220492_5047761935667270631_nTraining this year was oyo and weapons so I knew everyone would be having trouble with the new training like me but still you worry. I wondered, how will my skills compare to others? What will others think of my skills? After a couple of classes I had this feeling of justification. What do I mean you wonder and it is hard to describe but I will try. It is like all your worries about your skill and if you are good enough to go to camp fade away. You see that everyone is united in the language of karate and since technical instructions are given in Japanese, our national languages are not an issue. It is so easy for people that don’t practice karate to put you down, asking why you waste your time and don’t view your ranks as the great accomplishment they are. These people don’t realise how hard karate is and how much work needs to be put in to it. The more I trained, the more I realised that camp is no different then my clinics at home when we have Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island come together and you get partners you don’t know. Camp justified that, yes, I have worked hard at my skills, I have indeed earned my rank and I belong at camp.

13466299_10157154704985220_7138761200564355945_nOverall how was camp? Camp was like Shuseki Shihan Woon-A-Tai threw himself a party with a few of his close friends knowing everyone by name. I knew some Shihan and trained with them before but I now have several more Shihan and instructors that know my name. I haven’t decided if that is good or bad as it makes it hard to hide in the crowd. What about those 6 am runs that camps gone pass are famous for? I’m happy to report 6 am was basic training on the tennis court. My favourite part of camp was the bonfire, when we all introduced ourselves and found out what bought everyone to their karate life. The stories around the camp fire were also great networking because I found out that a girl was planning to come to Canada for her Masters. She hadn’t decided on a university so I reminded her that my dojo was at a university and she should check it out for her program.

13450160_10157152492800492_6933584766550922470_nWhat did I think of oyo and weapons training? It turns out the “free” bunkai we have been doing for years is actually oyo. We learned some new take downs as part of oyo and we can have fun over the next year breaking down more kata moves. Weapons training, some parts of it I understood but other parts I didn’t. I definitely like the bow better then the tonfa. For the parts that Norm and I understood we plan on getting the weapons and doing much practice over the summer to try and work out a demo to help attract new students in the fall. While we don’t think weapons will be a big focus we will do a few classes a semester. Again camp was great for networking talking to other instructors and getting their training ideas like using pool noodles in place of expensive weapons and to prevent injury.

13442212_10157152495580492_8376851347943124077_nIn closing, coming to camp should not be feared. It is like your home dojo only asking you have an open mind, to try and have a passion for karate. If circumstances allow me the freedom to come next year, I will definitely come back. I invite you next year to come be a kid again with us and re-live your childhood camp days while having fun learning karate.

  • Sensei Jolene Robitza is the wife of Sensei Norm Robitza. She helps teach at the Mount Allison Shotokan Karate club. She has been training in Shotokan Karate since September 1999. Currently, she holds the rank of Nidan, is a “2E” IKD Instructor/Judge and is enrolled in the IKD Kenshusei program.

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