The day started early, which nearly went wrong due to the clocks going forward by one hour. Thank god Tracy woke up and readjusted the clocks, and we made it down to the sports centre by 8.30am to start setting up ready for the workshop – we had to be ready to go, before the infants started to arrive by 9.45, workshop starts at 10am sharp.
Dead on 9.45am infants started to arrive, eager and excited about what they were going to learn in the next two hours. As is always traditional, we lined up in front of our founder and chief instructor Soke Kevin Pell’s picture and the new dojo sign.
To get them warmed up, it was straight into jogging round the dojo, followed by numbers game. Once completed it was time for breakfall drills, front rolls and back rolls so they were nicely loosed up. All ready to go it was time to get them working on their groundwork drills. Now and again we stopped to let them know what they could and couldn’t do during the championship.
It was great having sensei Del there assisting alongside me; it brought back many happy memories from when he was my student at my Thetford dojo. The infants really enjoyed it when we started on the throws with hold downs on the ground.
Time was going fast, like it always does when the course is going well. We still had to give the students the opportunity of experiencing what it is like during the championship. So one pair at a time they walked along the safety area, stopped at the edge of the competition area. They waited for the referee, to invite them into the middle of the fight zone. They walked to the middle of the fighting area, turned and faced the referee, bowed turned and bowed to each other. The referee said the command “LOCK ON”; this is where they hold the competitor’s right arm with their left hand and the gi collar with their right hand. And their competitor does the same.
The referee shouts “AJEMI”, they have 90 seconds to get a throw, hold down or both. A perfect throw scores 5 points, once on the floor they have to do a hold down and stop the student back from coming completely of the floor or onto their knees for 25 seconds to achieve 10 points or WIN.
If they do a throw, but don’t take control on the floor, after about 10 to 15 seconds then it is stopped and restarted from the standing position. The fight ends once the time has run out or a student has won by 10 point (WIN). So they need to get either two 5 points or a hold down for 25 seconds to win the fight.
There were some great throws and hold downs, a few tears that were soon wiped away and forgotten about. It was great to see them get straight back into it and even win their fight. There were lots of cheers and clapping from the parents, who loved seeing their child using their skills they have learnt from their Senseis.
After two hours of intense training it was time for everyone to go home. We couldn’t finish the workshop without a game of Zombies and of course a great group photo of all the students from our Norfolk clubs.
With only an hour break before we had to get ourselves all ready for what was going to be a very busy junior workshop from 1pm to 3pm. As with the infants, by 12.45pm they started to arrive, once all signed in it was a busy dojo with all the students and many of the parents.
There was a brief talk on what was going to happen, then straight into a good warm up, of front rolls and breakfalls. We had so much to teach them, it was going to be an intense session from start to finish. It was into groundwork with chokes, strangles and locks. Once shown they got into pairs and practised what we had shown them and any techniques that they knew from their dojos.
I had to remind myself that we only had two hours to give them so much information about the championship. During one point we showed them what a fight would be like, which went down well with them and their parents.
I was amazed how fast the session was going, but as they say when you are having fun time flies by. It was great for them to get taught different techniques that I know and techniques that sensei Del knows. We then had to move onto throws as time was running out fast. They really loved seeing me throw sensei Del, especially when it was done at speed.
Due to the great session of throws with submission everyone was getting a great workout. There were lots of hot faces on many of the students, and sweaty faces from me and sensei Del.
It was time to give them the opportunity to experience all the etiquette and what it would feel like to fight. This is always a nerve racking experience especially when you fight a student from another club. As I thought, there were so many brilliant throws, hold downs and submissions. It was so great to see they had taken on board what we had taught them and used it in the fighting area.
The workshop was going so well that before I know it, the students were saying it was 3.15pm. the workshop was meant to finish at 3pm, I asked the parents if they didn’t mind if I carried on a bit longer which they were very happy with.
Sadly at 3.30pm I had to end the workshop as some of the parents had a long drive home, which many of the students were not happy about.
On behalf of myself and Sensei Del, I would like to thank all the students for their respect and hard work that they gave us over the two hours. It was a pleasure to teach student that wanted to learn, and put so much into it throughout the workshop.