For the third year running we were invited back to be in the parade and to do a demonstration in the main square for the Brandon community and visitors from all over Norfolk & Suffolk. Every year I have come up with an idea of what to wear in the parade, and this year I wanted to do something that no one has ever done before. I had been working on some ideas and finally came up with an idea, whilst at the cinema with my son Kieran.
The only problem was that I had to get it specially made abroad and it had to arrive in time. It took a long time to find the right company, and I did not find them until a couple of weeks before the carnival was about to take place. So it was fingers and everything else crossed hoping it would arrive in time.
Thankfully it did arrive in time and looked really great, so I was all set with customised balloons, car stickers, lolly pops to give away and my biggest surprise ready to reveal on the big day to all my students and spectators.
It was a very early start on a lovely Sunday morning to pick up the van to collect the mats from my Brandon club for the demo team demonstration in the afternoon. Once collected it was down to the main square to set up the gazebo, banners with the fantastic help from the Curtis & Filippou families.
Once all set up we had time to relax and enjoy seeing everyone else set up their gazebos. The town crier officially opened the Brandon Carnival in the main square, which was done very professionally. We all headed down to the sports centre, so I could get ready in my new outfit that I had made for me specially. The students met us there in their gi’s, so we could meet up with all the other groups that were in the walking parade.
Everyone was amazed by the Ninja Turtle costume that I was wearing, and the children loved it. The only downside was that it was going to be a hot day, and I was going to sweat a lot. I suppose the only good thing was I was going to lose a few pounds by the end of the day.
After waiting for a while it was time to join the parade and walk down the main high street to the main square. It was an amazing sight to see the streets lined up with hundreds of adults and children cheering and waving to us as we walked past.
The children really loved to see Leonardo walking in the parade, and it was a great feeling to see them so happy. Whilst we walked down the students gave out balloons to children and car stickers. One child I went to give a balloon too jumped into his dads arms at the sight of Leonardo coming towards him. He did take the balloon and gave me a big smile the second time I tried.
There was a funny moment when the fire engine broke down so the demo team and Leonardo had to push it down the road to a safe place so the parade could carry on to the main square.
Once we got to the main square it was time to walk around with the help of Terry & Bambos just in case I stood on any small children. Every minute I was asked to have a photo taken with a child and many adults as well. There were some great moments and funny moments with little toddlers and lots of high fives along the way round.
As it was such a lovely day the square was getting really busy, and there wasn’t much room to move around the main demonstration area. When it came to our demonstration we had to try and get the crowd to move back so we could get the mats down. It took a while, but we got there in the end.
I decided to take out own PA system and wireless microphones which worked really well. This gave me the opportunity to talk through the demonstration and also join in at the same time when I was needed.
Instead of doing a traditional demonstration, I talked through a mini lesson. This worked really well as the crowd could see what goes on in a lesson and the different abilities within the class. As we also had a few British Champions in the demo team we also did a few competition fights, which the crowd really enjoyed.
To finish off my demo team did a display that they have done at many different events during the year. It went brilliantly and the crowd loved every second of it especially when they were beating me, terry and Bambos up.
Once all completed it was time to relax and enjoy the rest of the Brandon carnival and the lovely weather.
I would like to thank all my students from my Brandon Club and members of my Thetford Saturday class that supported this great day for Ishin Ryu.
I would also like to thank the following people for all their tremendous support in making the day a success, my wife Tracy, Terry, Bambos, Jo & Kelly.