18th November 2019

Week commencing 18.11.19

Back in the real world, this Saturday was noteworthy for a couple of reasons. The day kicked off with an advanced training session for a couple of hours and was followed by a Black Belt grading for Lucy, and 3rd Dan gradings for Roger and Lee.

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The session was, as usual, a brilliant example of how to apply kata moves (in this instance Jihon) to real life simulations, otherwise known as bunkai. This is an opportunity for Sensei Dave to reveal how he thinks about the science of combat in the context of attack and defence using hands and feet. 

One of the many interesting points for me, is how the response to a particular attack hinges almost entirely upon whether the attack is initiated from a left leading arm or right, or whether one chooses to block with left or right. One small element changes everything. Of course, all of this is beside the point when it comes to kumite, because everything is happening so much more quickly. But what if this is not the case? Perhaps as we become more proficient we begin to subconsciously make those tiny adjustments like switching the leading leg or showing fake ‘tells’ to mislead the opponent. This is perhaps an example of why repetition of drills is of such importance.  When the body finally has to act instinctively, there is a chance that the reaction to the attack might just be  sufficient to take the aggressor by surprise, and allow us to overcome.

Watching the subsequent grading, I was struck by how performance anxiety affects physical tiredness. Because the participants were being scrutinised, their stress levels were higher than usual, even though they were not really performing a great deal more activity. Not surprisingly, because of the high quality of teaching, all three rose to the occasion and pushed themselves to that extra level, as did the other students present, who were required to make up the bunkai and kumite. Consequently we witnessed some fiery sparring which was really exciting and made the event more ‘real’ - special thanks to Daz, Corbes and Steve……..

So, congratulations to you all! It is great to have another Black Belt on board in the form of Lucy, a truly dedicated student - remember, the Black Belt is a beginning and not an end, so we expect great things from you in the future! (no pressure then!!).

Roger, you are an inspiration and a credit to us all. Lee, I always prefer watching you to fighting you!! your speed and athleticism is a joy to behold.

Well done all of you, see you next session! Oss!

Enviro Blog Extra

Week commencing 11.11.19 

Talking of water, the weather seems to be deteriorating, or rather, our perception off what constitutes temperate weather appears to be becoming more difficult to manage. Once again, it is a matter of perception. We seem to struggle when weather strays outside of ‘the norm’ Decades ago, a downpour of rain would just happen, I remember clearly, heavy rainfall in various places around the world, but it never made the headline news. These days we have roving news crews beaming at us from under umbrellas, anxiously reporting the rising water levels in towns and cities unfortunate enough to be flooded. This of course is awful and alarming when you consider the consequences of water systems overflowing. Unfortunately it would appear that it is not simply a result of the media capturing more data and reporting it, statistics are telling us that we are encountering record breaking levels of rainfall.

Simultaneously, there seem to be more and more reports of fires from all over the southern hemispheres giving the impression of the planet being drenched and parched at the same time. 

We reap what we sow. The industrial revolution and population explosion have led us to the position we are now in. Unfortunately a large proportion of the human race have been in denial about this to the extent that even Prince Charles, hardly a left wing revolutionary or member of Extinction Rebellion (to my knowledge) has said that we have approximately ten years to turn the whole thing around. 

If I may be indulged a flight of fancy for one moment, the analogy I would propose might be that my Grandparent’s generation went to a hotel with a restaurant and booked in. Later on they gathered at tables and gazed at the menu, then ordered loads of expensive food and proceeded to eat it. They repeated this every night for decades, without paying the bill, ever. Simultaneously they had  children, who went on to do the same. Fights broke out amongst the children and all the other species of animal in the grounds of the hotel were slaughtered. The children, in turn, had more children, all of whom continued to gorge upon the food, whilst throwing the same amount away because they couldn't eat it all, and continuing the slaughter of the animals, all at no cost. 

That final group of unfortunate children were woken up one day last year by a 16 yr old schoolgirl called Greta, who calmly informed them that the hotel was burning down and they had a bill to pay, which was so enormous, that no one knew of a number that could describe it. 

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