HDKI Denmark Summercamp 2018
By Morten Kjaer, HDKI Denmark
When this is written the HDKI DK Summercamp 2018 has been over since a few weeks now – but still I sit here with a smile on my face when trying to recap the 4 days.
First a few words on the overall Summercamp thing…
The facility in Denmark was already known from the year before where we had a more local Summercamp with Scott Sensei as the main instructor. As both we (Odder Karate / HDKI DK) and Scott Sensei really enjoyed the complete package (surroundings, catering, rooms, dojo etc.) we decided to try and expand this in 2018 by adding more instructors and open the Summercamp to everyone.
Our “mission” is to do a family friendly camp with room for both kids and adults to have a good time together – all within a framework where some very good karate can be taught.
In between the karate sessions (ie. the free time) we hope that the surroundings and generic layout of the facility itself inspires people to meet up with old and new friends (ie. the ones you have just been sparring to in the classes) and to relax their body and mind in the area.
If this all works out or not I would have to let others say – but at least the above is the mission.
Below is my recap of the 4 days of Summercamp:
DAY 1 (Thursday – arrival day)
After pick up of the England/Ireland group in the airport (including a delay through passport control – and including sorting out a lost hand-luggage issue = a bottle of Whiskey) we finally got all attendees transported and signed-in to the Summercamp (1:15 min drive). Due to the delay’s in the airport and traffic the first training was up very shortly after arrival – so a quick bite of quite late lunch for the new arrivals was organized – and then quickly over to the Dojo for the very first session.
Scott Sensei started the camp with a quite high intensity session with something which isolated seen should be quite easy drills to do – but later showed tremendous hard for us all to do in practice with our partners when put into the right sequence. Anyway, now we were started – and based on the number of “sports-taped feets” I noticed already from the start on the next session all had done their outmost from the very start to do their best.
After our dinner Simon Sensei devoted his evening class to the kids – and during his session he introduced several funny “reaction” drills done in a Kumite context. These drills was then made in smaller break-out groups of 3 – and new friends were made.
At the end of this DAY 1 Simon Sensei – who would be in charge of the following days “morning training” – instructed us wear Shorts and T-Shirt for that training – no Dogi.
DAY 2 (Friday)
We all gathered outside of the dojo at 7:15 sharp – and Simon Sensei instructed us to run “in Japanse Style” to a special place at the beach which was found especially good for doing Kata’s. Simon Sensei had selected Hangetsu as the main theme for the morning training – and we started doing this kata at the beach – but first with in depth instructions for the ones who didn’t know the kata. Again we did break-out groups of 3 to check each other while doing the Kata – but from there it evolved… Simon Sensei had gotten into the water while instructing … and then further into the water… and finally he asked us ALL to join him in the water and to do the Kata there! Of course we did – and this initiative really woke us all up … this was extremely funny and refreshing and for sure one of the moments which I will remember forever in my now long list of Karate Adventures.
BUT, when you enter the Ocean – things can happen…. and not only did WE karate-ka’s wake up when we entered the water – also a sleeping Lions Mane Jellyfish woke up. It obviously spotted some red hair on one of Dónal Sempais legs and apparently it thought this was an intruder Jellyfish. It sneaked up on him and brutally attacked his leg in a submerged and stealth mode. Or maybe Dónal Sempai just walked into the poor bastard…? But personally I like the first version better. Luckily this was the only Jellyfish-attack reported on the camp – and a small tube of antihistamine cream which I had in my camp survival pack finally cured Dónal Sempais leg.
On this DAY 2 the training sessions was divided into “Brown/Black belts”, “Colored belts adults”, “Colored belts kids” AND only by adding Jan Th. Eriksen Sensei (Odder Karate), Ross Stewart Sensei (HDKI Hombu Dojo) and Audrius Janusauskas (AJ) Sensei (HDKI Hombu Dojo) to the list of Instructors it made this sort of split possible. A big Thank You to these 3 gentlemen for offering this service at a very short notice.
During DAY 2 I attended the Scott Sensei training session before noon and then translated for Simon Sensei in the afternoon (Kids Class) – so I cannot comment on the other parallel tracks. Only thing I can relay is that one of the attendees from our Dojo here in Denmark who joined one of the parallel sessions I did not attend ranked that lesson as “within TOP-5 of best teachings she ever had” – which to me was at least a good sign … 🙂
In the Scott Sensei session we focused on “first reaction” – where what you do is all about your first instinct / based on immediate impulses rather than waiting to your brain have analyzed inputs and given a well thought through karate instruction of correctly done moves – where in many cases the “thing” is already over. This theme was amongst others trained with a 9-step Kihon drill which had some build-in disruptions placed within the flow/pattern. During the drills we changed sparring partner several times and thus got to know many new friends. All in all an excellent session by all aspects.
As mentioned I attended in the afternoon the “Kids Class” as a translator for Simon Sensei – but this session was heavily impacted by both the heat (hot day), the activities we had done during the day and the fact that we had just finished a 1hour intense indoor hockey game ~45mins before the class (Adults vs Kids – a no-mercy match which the adults only barely won by one goal). All the kids were simply tired.
So not very long into the session Simon Sensei told me that he had now completely discarded his original training ideas – and instead he on the fly created a sequence of karate related competitions and drills – but all in “disguise” as games. Amazingly well done by Simon Sensei given the circumstances – I’m fully convinced that all the kids had a very good class and never noticed the tremendous effort Simon Sensei put into this. This was the job of a professional. Deep respect, OSU.
DAY 3 (Saturday)
7:15 – morning training by Scott Sensei – this time the pre-instructions was “Dogi Trousers and T-Shirt” – meeting point at the beach (same place as the day before)
The session was “Breathing Kata” in complete Silence. Imagine this: Bare feet’s in the sand, sun rising over the sea, concentrating on doing the breathing kata, sound of the waves washing to the shore – total Zen. FANTASTIC … and now here was the 2nd “I will remember this forever” Karate Adventure …
For the two sessions on this DAY 3 the set up was as the day before – group was divided into similar groups – and this day I did not do the translation job – so I attended the 2 sessions mentioned below:
Session One – before noon:
Simon Sensei opened the day with what showed to be a “Black/Brown belt Kumite day” by guiding us through basic drills and keeping us mindful on the art of Kumite by building up slowly the complexity during the session. Many different Kumite aspects was touched, sharpened and refreshed – and it all acted as a perfect bridge to the afternoon session with Scott Sensei.
Session Two – early afternoon:
Scott Sensei continued this “Kumite Day” from where Simon Sensei had left. During the session Scott Sensei the 3 basic styles of Kumite (Kihon Ippon, Jiyu Ippon and Jiyu) where trained via several drills – and later they were combined – which was so confusing that quite a lot of “push-up’s” was needed to “remind” us all of when to use “Kihon Ippon” style and when “Jiyu Ippon” style.
Finally it was all made into a small “competition” in break-out groups of 3 (two fighters and a referee) – and everyone gave it all it took.
Now a really tough training day was coming to an end for most of the attendees BUT not for all – as for some of us a GRADING was coming up … oh dear, oh dear (panic)…
After a very quick re-arrangement of the dojo (15-20min max) – the grading started.
7 candidates was lined up: 4 for Shodan, 1 for Nidan (me) and 2 for Sandan
The final result was 2 new Shodan, 1 new Shodan after 3 month extra training (Kata to be approved), 1 Shodan candidate to try again, 1 new Nidan (pffff), 2 new Sandan
After some quick pictures for the family album many rushed to see the World Cup Soccer Match (ENGLAND vs SWEDEN – and after this Scott Sensei + Simon Sensei did a Facebook Live Q&A. Finally it was BBQ/PARTY time.
DAY 4 (Sunday)
No morning session… but just one training session which was then divided between Scott Sensei, Simon Sensei, AJ Sensei and Ross Sensei.
Scott Sensei did basic kata training (Heian kata’s) with emphasis on important details per kata.
AJ Sensei introduced to us some of the very intense “interval drills” used in the famous morning trainings in Hombu Dojo – like 8 sets of punches for xx secs + yy secs rest followed by front kicks, side kiks and you name it. Extremely tough – and the attendees were sweating like h….
Ross Sensei followed up in his session with some Oi-Komi drills – and finally ended up in the same concept of AJ Sensei by repeating this Oi-Komi drill in 8 sets also by time. Also extremely tough – and the sweating was now doubled!
Simon Sensei’s session I missed to see (I was arranging transport to the airport for an attendee leaving early) – but from what I could see when I returned – it was a game which involved acceleration, running and fun.
Scott Sensei then rounded it all up with a 15 minute partner massage.
And that was it… quick lunch – then off to the airport with people – and CU next year.
What I noticed during the days was that the kids group got more and more integrated as the days went – and that new friendships where made. Email addresses and “Gaming alias’ ” was exchanged when leaving – and also I could hear that a lot of English was spoken by the Danish kids all day – and they mingled more and more freely with each other around on the campus area – just great!
From my side I can now only add that if these fantastic and pleasant HDKI members I now met represents the HDKI which is out there – I’m home.
So dear reader – that is all why I sit here and smile.
Super instructors, great karate and fantastic people.
Thanks to all who joined – and looking forward to see you all (and many more) in the future.
Deep bow and OSU to all.