Sunday, March 24, 2019


If I were a leaf
I'd be a thief
Stealing sunshine from air.

Some other plants
Would envy my grants
Others wouldn't care.

For when I pass
Down I dance
Carrying gifts from toil.

My days in the sun
Now I've won
Nutrients for the soil.

New leaves grow
They will know
From where their bounty came

From sun and air
The soil we share
Life is renewed again.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Ishinryu Summer Camp: 5 days of karate

I was too knackered to post about the other two days of the 25th Annual Summer Camp. We had our usual Monday session in the dojo last night, except it wasn't usual because the founder of Ishinryu, Sensei Ticky Donovan was there watching our mistakes.

I guess we couldn't have been too bad because he awarded Sensei Tony his 8th Dan, Sensei Alison her 6th and Sensei Leighton his 5th. All richly deserved in my humble opinion. Sensei Ticky is based in the UK/Thailand and his visits to Australia are increasingly rare. It's been maybe four years since the last time.

Anyway, that capped off five days straight of karate. Thursday and Monday in the dojo, Friday and the weekend at Wollongong.

I did almost every session, except for the competitions and the tai chi/yoga when I was helping with the kids' blocker competition scoring. Alex's team came second in that one after getting gold last year. He missed out on medals in the team kata competition, where an experienced teammate pulled out to join another team and another was felled by injury, leaving him with a single, younger, but enthusiastic teammate.

Alex didn't compete in the kumite. There weren't any others in his age group even if he did want to give it a go.

He did come second in the beach run! I'm just happy that he participated in the events and most of the lessons.

Us seniors tend not to compete. It's a pity as I wouldn't have minded doing kata if I wasn't so utterly exhausted. Not the kumite, not against the Fijians and the giant ex-rugby league player who trains at our dojo.

I feel like I learned a lot at the camp, though it can be difficult to quantify. Some of it is more "aha" moments than new concepts. In partnering with someone from another school I realised how line really affected the technique we were practising. I also watched the very fast hands of Sensei Ticky and Sensei Ryan and how their movements flowed. Not sure I can ever replicate that.

What was somewhat frustrating were the corrections on technique. Some Sensei Ticky has changed since he was last at the dojo, others were small things I have probably been doing wrong all this time. there is a lot to unlearn and it must be done because as we rise through the ranks we demonstrate to the younger students. We must know how to do it right to teach it right.

Apart from that Alex and I had a swim in the pool and played tennis between sessions. B came up on the Saturday and they played mini golf together.

Despite being exhausted at the end of each day I haven't slept well, especially as Alex had me getting up at 5.30 am and training my body for this bad habit of his. I was close to my limit when I drove back on Sunday night and then we had Monday...

A couple of days' rest now and then it begins again on Thursday.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Ishinryu Karate Summer Camp 2019 Day 1

We've only had one session and already I'm confused. Everything I learned about Pinan Yon has been changed by our master Sensei Ticky Donovan.

It's that time of year, the Summer Camp. This year it's a 25th anniversary special with Ishinryu's founder attending.

I'm not in the most receptive state for change. It's been a bugger of a week at work and the two weekly karate lessons were exhausting too, along with a changed Alex routine due to this weekend interruption to our normal programming.

Today was hard too. Washed clothes, vacuumed, ironed on badges for the new gi (they are already coming off), baked brownies, shopped for food to take and finally packed the car. I was slightly late to pick Alex up, but his teacher came out to tell me what a wonderful student he was, so attentive and ready to participate that it made it all worthwhile.

Then off in a packed car to the Wollongong Surf Leisure Resort by Towradgi Beach. No sooner had we carried in the bags of gear brought down from the dojo in our boot and we were put to work laying out the mats. We barely had time to drop off our own bags and change into our gis before we were back doing karate on those mats.

It was a nice dinner at the pub across the road, meeting a fellow karateka with the first name Rhythm, along with many of the usual suspects.

Our cabin is smaller than last year but better for our needs. An early start tomorrow, so time for bed. Q

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