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The South West Karate Experience 2017 was held at Perran Sands in Cornwall. We had been a little disappointed with the state of the beach at Minehead the previous year, and so we moved the venue to the Haven caravan park in Cornwall, where we knew the beach was sandy and extensive. Anthony Blades, 7th dan kyoshi joined us to teach on the Saturday, with John Burke 6th dan renshi teaching on the Sunday. Sensitivity drills, finding the centre, balance, coordination, creativity, testing the spirit in the waves. Meeting jellyfish. There were so many things to learn on this weekend on the sand. We had hilarity in the pub in the evenings, and a shared pizza night to help us celebrate. What’s missing from the photos that follow is how nice the caravans were. The site was really nice. We’re going back in 2018.

The pictures here are a mixture of those taken by Jimmy Castle and Ian and Sara Pitchford. The exception is this shot by Kim Burke, looking at the group training from on-high.

Golden sands, secluded from the town, and down at the base of a steep cliff, the roar of the ocean on the north coast of Cornwall was the site of our training. Moving on sand can be hard work, but the oxygen and the wind is invigorating. We were proud to have so many of our members on the beach, and to be joined by members of the Atlantic Karate club and their teacher, Sensei Lee Phillips.

The training for the Saturday began on the sand. By the end of the day we were in the water. The camaraderie and togetherness of the group is almost more important than the training at events like these. And yes, we enjoyed ourselves.

The Lifeguard on the beach came over and introduced himself. He gave a short talk on safety on the beach and handed out badges to the members. We were alerted to the dangers of riptides and jellyfish and taking care of each other’s safety.

Mr Blades brings a different sensibility to events like these. He’s quite capable of drilling us through basics and drilling syllabus material, yet we were encouraged to explore the feeling of our movements from a different perspective. The “dancing hands” were testing in a way that perhaps some members were not expecting.

Dave Floyd, one of our senior Black Belts, was awarded the Godan rank (5th degree Black Belt). It was unexpected recognition for this gentleman that we have known for a number of years now. The senior grades also got some time with Mr Blades while the rest of the group trained applications with John Burke renshi.

Subject to the weather, we managed to do some indoor training on the Sunday morning. We could probably have gone ahead on the beach, but chose to play it safe. By lunchtime, the sun was out again, and we were out on the sand, and then as the day came to an end we were buffeted by the waves again. It can get quite emotional.

This book isn’t meant to tell you exactly what techniques were worked on, one step at a time. What we hoped to accomplish was to convey something of the feeling that we had being there. That we would socialise together, train in two sessions, each two hours long, on each of the two days would create an event that stays with us. That we would sweat together, and balance that with exploration of our art, and have time to get to know each other a little better, is what the weekend was all about. We call it The South West Karate Experience. We don’t think there is anything quite like it. Children, teens, and adults all got something different from the weekend. And that is how it should be. Thanks again to our photographers. Those of us who were there now have some great memories. If you’d like to join in with the experience, just get in contact. 01626 360999.

The South West Karate Experience 2017  

A photographic reminder for those who attended the SWKE2017. Our training at Perran Sands in Cornwall.

The South West Karate Experience 2017  

A photographic reminder for those who attended the SWKE2017. Our training at Perran Sands in Cornwall.