BMAC’s Big Summer Bash in aid of MS Society Scotland took place on Saturday 6th August at the Allander Leisure Centre. We’d prepared, we’d trained and now nine hours of training lay ahead of us.
Sandwiched between two heatwaves, the Bash happened on a much cooler weekend. This was a good start to the day, as the Allander’s Sports Hall gets incredibly warm.
The day began at 8am, with 12 of us. The first task was to decorate the hall with the balloons, bunting, posters and collecting buckets that the MS Society had provided. Blowing up balloons certainly supplied a different form of breathing exercise. We took the first of our hourly team photos and prepared to warm up properly.
With the hall a sea of orange, it was down to business. Scott started things off with a warm involving some cardio, squats, shadow punching and active stretching. We then went into some pad work. Initially practising in pairs with arm and leg techniques we then moved to groups of 6, with one person taking a turn in the middle. Usually we “affectionately” refer to this as the circle of death but with the length of the day, we kept each person’s stint to 30 seconds or so. Some light kata followed the pads and just like that, the first hour was complete. Eight hours to go.
The second hour was a kata party, our name for any training session that focuses on kata. We split into three groups for this, working on some grade-appropriate kata. Michael led a group of black belts, working on nijushiho, Jamie took his group through Bassai Sho and Scott covered Heian Shodan and Nidan. The hour culminated with each group doing a demo of their kata for the others. A round of applause for each group and it was onto hour 3.
Next was our first split session. Fergus trained a group of our junior members whilst Hugh guided the rest us through an hour of parrying practise. This was a good intense hour, focusing on some movement and some take downs.
Hour 4 was another split session, this time with Hugh leading on kata application whilst Scott and Emma took a group of newcomers for their first taste of martial arts. We had three people for this taster session which involved hitting some pads, some disengagement tactics. The hour culminated with an introduction of breakfalls. Balance can be an issue for people with MS so learning how to fall safely is an important skill. One of the participants was Laura Ingram, who chairs the MS Society’s Scotland Council, and it was good to get support from the charity.
The halfway mark was approaching, and Barry took over to lead us through a weapons practice. We tease Barry regularly for his love of weapons but recognise his skill with the bo, shinai and bokken amongst others. This hour introduced a wide variety of moves for staying safe even when an attacker is carrying the proverbial big stick.
Another split session started at 1pm. This time, Emma and Rachel hosted a taster session for our upcoming Women’s Self Defence Class. We had 7 people attending and signing up for our longer course that starts in September. Emma has moved away from the area recently, so it was good for her to come back and take part in the day. Hugh took the rest of the group through an hour of groundwork. We also had our second visitor as local MP Amy Callaghan came to watch and support us which was much appreciated.
At 2pm, we had 1 newcomer for another taster session which Emma hosted whilst John was instructing us on what we like to call “Marley Specials”. These are quick moves that can be used to get out of a jam but aren’t necessarily complicated to execute. This turned out to be a real high energy hour, with focus on dealing with multiple attacks. After 7 hours of training, we managed to maintain the pace of the practise.
Into the second last hour with Jamie and Michael taking the lead for an hour on distance control and movement. This was an excellent hour, with some innovative drills to help with proper distancing from an opponent. At the same time, Fergus coached his second kids’ hour doing an excellent job.
From there it was the cooldown hour. For reasons best known to himself, Scott included a breakfall kata in this, although fortunately only one. Afterwards the pace settled into some slow moving kata, using each step as a stretch. Scott then led a full body stretch, with some moans from everyone as those tired muscles were stretched one more time.
And with that it was over. 9 hours of training, 25 BMAC adult and 8 junior members took part, along with 12 people getting their first taste of martial arts. Of our 25 members, 10 were crazy enough to do the full 9 hours. However, it was great that everyone was able to take part, whether for one hour or nine. It was such a team effort to deliver. The energy levels were high all day and we never dropped below 14 people training at any one time.
A massive thank you goes to everyone that supported us. Between online donations and money on the day, we have raised over £2600 for the MS Society, an amazing total that exceeded our target. An equally massive well done to everyone in the club for making our first Big Summer Bash such a success and a great day for BMAC.
The Big Summer Bash is here. At the time of writing we are just a few hours away from our day of training in aid of MS Society Scotland.
There’s been an air of excitement about the club as the date has got closer, with everyone enthusiastic about the upcoming challenge. In 2020 we held our Virtual Lockdown Knockdown as a way to keep the club together in the early days of the pandemic. Life may not be back to entirely normal but now that we can train in person it seemed an opportunity to do a fundraising event. Scott suggested we do an all-day event in aid of MS Society Scotland, with us donning orange belts to show support.
With the initial idea in place, it was time to get interest from the club. Happily, everyone was up for the challenge, including Emma who has moved to Yorkshire and Madeleine who is in Edinburgh at University coming back to take part. With considerable persuasion / guilt tripping / literal arm twisting, most of the club signed up. We should have 25 people taking part, with only a few members on holiday and not able to be there.
We had some planning sessions to work out the schedule for the day. One was in the pub but that isn’t as ominous as it sounds. It was a Sunday afternoon and the round consisted of two beers, four cups of tea, an orange juice and an alcohol-free beer. Rock ‘n’ roll! This session produced an outline of the day and who would lead.
In a pandemic flashback, we had a follow up session on Zoom which nailed down timings and what would be involved. By this point, we had a date and a plan. Now for some logistics.
The Allander was booked. In an ideal world, we would have held the event on 13th August. More people available and right before the start of the new school term might have encouraged more participants. Unfortunately, the 6th was the only date we could get all day.
Next up was to let the world know. There are so many avenues to promote events. Everyone in the club was encouraged to share our Just Giving page with friends, family and colleagues. We made use of various community Facebook pages. The local Community magazine published an article and photograph about the day.
The MS Society provided a press release and announced the event on their social media channels. Going old school, we put up an event poster in the Allander and some local shops. Hopefully, this blend of channels will generate interest from the local population.
Encouragingly we hit out initial target, and a few days later we hit our second. We’re hoping we can hit a third target of £2000 raised for MS Society Scotland. A huge thank you goes to all our supporters; your generosity is much appreciated.
With that, it’s time to get our gi ready, pack the Deep Heat and Lucozade, and prepare for the day ahead. Nine hours of martial arts await. Come on BMAC family, LET’S GO!!!!!
You can support our Big Summer Bash by visiting www.justgiving.com/bmacbash.
On Saturday 6th August, BMAC will be hosting our Big Summer Bash in aid of the MS Society. We’ll be training at the Allander Leisure Centre from 8am to 5pm,
The first question anyone asks when you tell them you do martial arts is “are you black belt?”. Indeed, this blog began as a way for Scott to chart his journey to black belt. Today, quite a few of us are black belts but for the Big Summer Bash we’ll all be donning orange belts. As the event is to support the MS Society, we thought it would be cool to adopt their colour as part of the day.
When Scott first suggested the orange belts, he wasn’t sure how well it would go down. People work hard to get each belt and we don’t have “belt snobbery” when it comes to training with each other. How would people feel about wearing a belt that stands for a lower grade?
Fortunately everyone was receptive to the idea. We’ll make sure to take lots of group photos so you can see how we look in our MS Society colours.
Now some of us haven’t worn orange belts for a very, very long time. There might be original belts still in drawers somewhere that hopefully will still fit. However not everybody still has their orange belt, having long since discarded it assuming, quite reasonably, that it would never be needed again.
Of course we also have newer members who are still working towards orange belt. It’s the third belt on the way to black and we should have people grading for orange very soon.
So to make sure everybody looks the part, we’ve ordered a supply of new orange belts.
As a certain telecoms company used to say, the future’s bright, the future’s orange. For one day, 6th August, BMAC will be orange too!
If you would like to join in the Big Summer Bash, take a read here and sign up for the events at on our Facebook page.
You can support our fundraising by visiting www.justgiving.com/bmacbash.
On Saturday 6th August, BMAC will be holding our first ever Big Summer Bash. This all-day sponsored martial arts training session aims to raise money in aid of MS Society Scotland. We’ll be training from 8am to 5pm at the Allander Leisure Centre in Bearsden.
Nine hours of martial arts will be a challenge. We’ll need to balance our training with pacing so we can last the day. It’s highly likely that this is going to hurt. The day after might hurt even more.
So why are we doing this?
The club has members who are either directly or indirectly affected by Multiple Sclerosis. Scott was diagnosed in 2018, Madeleine’s dad has MS whilst Julie’s late mum also had the condition. MS affects more than just the person diagnosed. It has an impact on family and friends who may find themselves taking on a carer role. For us, we have a very direct link to MS and therefore supporting the MS Society is a very personal cause.
Scott wants to help the MS Society to Stop MS. We all live in hope of a cure and the Society helps to fund necessary research towards this goal. Scott still wants to challenge himself physically, testing the boundaries of what he can do since diagnosis.
Madeleine's dad has MS around 20 years ago but it’s only been in the last few years that it’s started to have a larger impact of his daily life, which has made it all the more important for her to keep helping fund the amazing research that the MS Society does, so that we can keep trying to minimise the effects MS can have in someone’s daily life. Madeleine has previously completed the Kiltwalk in aid of the MS Society.
Eric wants to show support for this worthy charity and raise awareness and cash.
Jamie notes that BMAC has been serving the local community for over four decades, providing a safe space for young and old to learn practical self-defence for young and old. BMAC is looking to contribute further by using our art to raise money to a charity close to the club’s hearts. MS has affected several of our members directly or indirectly, and so it is a great privilege to take on this challenge to support a charity doing such amazing work to combat this debilitating condition.
Emma wants to show people that BMAC is inclusive and accepting and that martial arts is a sport for all, regardless of how fit or able you are. Emma particularly likes helping people find a way of doing something regardless of their limitations so they feel they achieved the point of the lesson rather than feeling they can't do something
Hugh is taking part in this event which will raise money for research into the condition is a worthwhile exercise. On a personal level Hugh wishes to show support for Scott in particular and the MS society in general and am pleased to be part of something which raises funds for such a worthy cause. It is good to see that participating in Martial Arts as well as being good fun helps people with MS improve coordination and balance.
Speaking about the event, Scott said "I really appreciate the support of my friends at BMAC and I’m immensely proud of them for taking up this challenge".
We all have our reasons for taking part and we’ll be sharing more details of the day in the lead up to 6th August.
If you would like to support BMAC’s Big Summer Bash, you can visit our JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/BMACbash. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated.
The BMAC blog began in 2013 to chart one member's journey to black belt.