The club hit the road in May for a course hosted by our friends from Newcastle Shoto Budo. Nine of us made the trip for what turned out to be a very fun weekend of socialising and training.
After dinner and drinks on Friday night, we had a leisurely start on Saturday with training starting at 1pm. Well, technically it started at 1:15pm due to some horrendous traffic between our hotel and the course venue, caused by a driver running out of fuel. I won’t repeat some of more descriptive phrases used about said driver.
Hugh was leading the course, using some of the techniques we have been working on for a while around movement and staying safe. He built up from some our pummelling drill practice, into moving an opponent and then into some strikes. This was a good practice, with some good learning for me. At one point I was training with Adam from Newcastle, who’s a lot bigger than I am but I found ways that I could still move him and retain control. It’s good to have a lightbulb moment.
Come Sunday and we started in a similar vein, only this time wearing shorts and t-shirts rather than the traditional gi. This is always interesting as the control points on your opponent can change when you don’t have a handy white karate suit to cling onto. We moved to 2-on-1, with one opponent grappling and the other holding a pad that you need to try and strike. It’s always an interesting practice, to find a balance point to deliver a strike without opening yourself to be moved. One thing I learned is not to always try to “win” and go for the pad if it doesn’t present itself
We then added in hip throws, and then a shrimping movement as a means of staying safe when you land. This was followed by adding a tripod sweep, and after a few weeks in the club plus the course, this simple but effective take-down is really starting to flow.
Finally, Hugh called pairs of us to demonstrate everything put together. I was paired up with Michael and after some grappling and movement, he took me down with an excellent single leg. Admittedly not what we had been doing over the weekend, but it was very good!
Sunday morning also saw a grading for three adults, Andy and Hannah from Newcastle both did well, and our very own Morag moved up to green belt. She did an excellent job and I’m sure she’ll appreciate the photos of her looking exhausted by the end. Well done everyone on your richly deserved new belts.
So, an excellent weekend all round. On a personal note, I enjoyed it immensely and was delighted to be able to train for all six hours without any ill effects. The recovery continues! There was great training and information provided by Hugh and you could see how much everyone enjoyed the course by the laughter and big smiles throughout the weekend. Lots of thanks to Newcastle Shoto Budo for hosting the course and their hospitality and to Hugh for putting together the practices. Looking forward to the next one!
It’s been a long time since my last blog entry, March 2018 to be precise. I reflected on a recent National course and being injured, with the last line being I would take time to recover and then “it will be time to get back on the horse”. It’s hard to believe that course was over a year ago and getting back on that horse turned out to be a much bigger challenge than I expected.
To cut a very long story short, after getting back to training I then had a stint in hospital over the summer and by December 2018, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. As someone whose main interests all involve physical activity, this felt like my worst nightmare and there have been many low mood moments over the months since then. I genuinely did not know if I would be able to return to training, running or hillwalking.
I started treatment in February and slowly, but surely, I’ve been feeling better. In May returned to the club and took some tentative steps back to running. A few months ago I thought this would never happen and it feels great!
My left leg is a bit wonky (a medical term) so I can’t run or kick as well as before, but my movement, balance and stamina are improving. I saw an MS specialist physiotherapist who tested my balance. When I explained that I trained in martial arts, the response was that this was more effective than any exercises she could give me. That gave me the motivation to continue!
Guidance from my excellent MS nurse is to continue training as much as possible, so that is what I intend to do. Things have been feeling good over the last three months or so, and whilst I don’t know what is around the corner with this unpredictable condition, I’m going to enjoy training whilst I can. As a result, I ventured to Newcastle with the club as part of a course hosted by Hugh which was a fantastic weekend. I’ll put a course report and some photos up here.
The wonderful members of BMAC have been a tremendous support to me through all of this, with many encouraging messages and visits as well as a very warm welcome back to training. I appreciate this support so very much. We often say we are a BMAC family, and it feels like that more than ever.
So, with normal-ish service resumed, I hope to get back to updating the blog with my progress. It might have a slightly different slant to it than before but getting back on the mats has been so huge in dealing with this new reality.
The BMAC blog began in 2013 to chart one member's journey to black belt.