23rd September 2019

Week commencing 23.09.19 

Unusual as it is for me to make a blog entry on a Saturday, I simply had to follow up closely on the heels of the last one because of news from the rugby world cup in Japan. Unbelievably, having beaten South Africa in the last tournament group stage, Japan have gone one better and  beaten the number one seeded tournament favourites, Ireland. This is a rather seismic (excuse the somewhat unethical adjective) event in world rugby, possibly more explosive than what they did last time around, as teams now know they are capable of causing upsets. 

Having made an analogy last week, of Torquay Utd beating Manchester Utd, I struggled to find another pair of clubs until I remembered Europe, and came up with Torquay Utd beating Real Madrid. This, however, still feels unsatisfactory and so I should perhaps just say that Japan have gone and beaten the team that, at the start of the tournament, were expected to be in the final alongside New Zealand. There it is then, whatever they do next, they will be remembered, again, for a simply brilliant display, in which instead of a bunch of talented guys playing together, they are the epitome of the word team, producing a situation in which the ‘whole’ is actually a stronger structure together, rather than  just the sum of its parts. 

So when the team is effective, despite having far fewer famous names in it, it is stronger than the team of famous faces who are not operating effectively as a team. This is also known as Gestalt Psychology, developed in the early 20th Century in Germany and applied to various spheres including sport.

Whether this exciting news from Japan was all the more poignant because my Son Max is actually out there watching it, I cant say. However, I skipped off to training today with a spring in my step that was soon to be amplified by the rubber floor of our Saturday morning Dojo at St Peters Sports Centre Torquay. 

To say today’s session was good was to do it a disservice. Sensei Dave, seemingly effortlessly, produced a near perfect session of combat training: a basic set of one and three step fight drills, performed at speed with real energy, followed by a competitive kata routine and all rounded off with a few rounds of ‘dojo kumite’ in which we swapped partners in a kind of ‘speed fighting’ scenario. The three Ks, Kihon, Kata and Kumite: or put another way, basic drills, katas and light touch fighting. 

These are the ingredients for a classic session and I mention it because once again, I want everyone who reads this to understand and remember that its not like this for everyone. Not all Karate Sensei are as good as ours, so don't take it for granted. To ensure we keep on learning from the best, we need to keep attracting new members to the club, for when the old crumblies like me cant do it anymore!! To sustain the club we need to build a team and to do that we need to attract new people, so wherever you may be, try thinking about if you can find an opportunity to  spread the word and attract new members: school, college, place of employment, wherever you are, consider if it would be feasible for people to make the journey to the club, and then get them in!!

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