I realise that this report has taken along time to write, but you must understand that when you get to my age, the memory isn’t quite what it should be and I have only just remembered that I attended, you might wonder why bother to write the report now and the fact of the matter is I said I would write one and so here it is, as the event was nearly a year ago, I’m sure you will forgive any omissions.

Holly and I set off, for the lovely County of Devon, unfortunately, I bought some Famous Five tapes for her to listen to on the way down, and this seemed to make the journey longer rather than shorter, mistake number one.

Thankfully the weather was better this year, and the customary afternoon training session on the beach was able to take place, unfortunately I had consumed a large curry and was unable to take part, mistake number two, (so far I’m not doing very well, however, mistake number three was to be my real undoing), so I took over camera duties. The training was enjoyed by all, and plans were made for the following days training at the local sports centre. The following days training started with a good vigorous warm up to warm all the muscle groups, and to make sure we were all ready for the training that was to follow, a lot of the days training was partner work, which was great, as it gives you the opportunity to assess your speed and accuracy against a moving target, also it helps the karate-ka get used to having someone try and “attack” him/her, and although the training was hard, judging by the smiling faces at the end of it all, everyone seemed happy.

This was followed by another beach session, which I again managed to miss, due to an ankle injury.

Sunday’s training focussed on Kihon and Kata as there was a Kyu and Dan grading to come on Monday, this gave everyone who was grading the opportunity, to sharpen up the little things, that can mean the difference between failing and passing a grading, and all those who weren’t grading the chance to correct the small mistakes that creep in whenever complacency raises it’s head, so another useful session for everyone !.

Another beach session followed, and this was where I made mistake number three, I had been asked to attend the session wearing my Gi, even though I was not training, what I didn’t know was that it had been decided that maybe I had enjoyed myself a little too much at the expense of others, and while I was laughing at the guy’s in the freezing water, I failed to notice four black belts heading straight for me, I only became aware of their intentions, when they had hoisted me off the ground and headed for the sea, now I know why my mensa application was refused, and I was unceremoniously dumped in the sea, much to the delight of all watching !.

The final day’s training, again focussed on basics, when we were all again pushed to try and improve, there’s always some improvement that can be made, and finally to the grading itself, and I’m pleased to say a successful grading for all concerned, a good way to end the course.

Looking back on the weekend, I found it very enjoyable, although physically very tiring, I think the main plus points are the training with different sensei’s, and different partners, and the socialising within the association, definitely a good weekend, and I’m sure 2008 will be just as good.

Richard Ward