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THREE GRAND CHAMPIONS IN THREE WEEKS TEACH AT ACADEMY
30 March 2020 9:32 pm
March 2020: The month three KUGB Grand Champions taught on three consecutive Sundays.
While the whole nation is facing unusual situations, so are members of Bristol Karate Academy - but for different reasons.
For the last three Sundays in a row, we've been delighted to host three KUGB Grand Champions! And in many ways the restrictions on contact across the UK were what helped make this happen.
Just 14 days ago, the KUGB's chief instructor, Sensei Andy Sherry (9th Dan) was in Bristol to teach a special seminar for members and guests, while also conducting a grading examination. This was to be the last of our face-to-face training sessions before new and necessary restrictions came in from the UK Government, following the outbreak of coronavirus across the country.
Sensei Sherry was the first ever KUGB Grand Champion in 1968. A Grand Champion is someone that wins both the kata and kumite disciplines at the national championships in the same year. A fortnight ago, Sensei Sherry was set to be our only guest instructor during March. But the next day, things changed significantly.
At 5pm on Monday 16
March, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all unnecessary social contact should stop. By 2am that night, Bristol Karate Academy announced that all classes had moved online, in a dramatic shake-up for the group that usually meets in Nailsea, Backwell, Long Ashton and Westbury-on-Trym.
After a successful pilot lesson only 24 hours after the Prime Minister’s announcement, the Academy’s online classes ratcheted up around 30 members joining for the first full session the following day. By the weekend, the Academy had quickly organised a special online seminar as a thank you to its members for the overwhelming positivity and suppoort for the changes. That Sunday, over 65 members and guests from across the UK and Ireland joined for the Academy’s first ever online guest instructor seminar, taught by former ESKA European Champion, Sensei Matt Price.
Sensei Price - the KUGB Grand Champion in 2002 - ran through a host of different drills, all from his home dojo in Harrogate. Each drill was designed to work well in a confined space, given that many of us are now training in our living rooms, as opposed to the larger venues that we're used to. Two Sundays of instruction from two of the biggest names in UK Karate.
And it didn’t stopped there. Yesterday saw a similar number of karate exponents come together for a special online class with KUGB Grand Champion, Sensei John Bruce.
Sensei Bruce - who is the most recent male to be crowned Grand Champion, in 2010 - ran through a series of drills to encourage hip synchronicity and rotation to develop more powerful movement.
In just 15 days, Bristol Karate Academy has moved to the forefront of the UK Karate’s new movement to online classes. And for this we have our members to thank. Those of you that have had the motivation to avoid using lockdown as an excuse to waste away on your sofa. Those of you that have tinkered with TVs, tried different cable combinations and battled with IT to make sure you're able to get yourself set up in your only little 'mini dojo'. And most importantly, those of you that are continuing to push yourselves to improve, when others may not be doing the same.
Here's to you. Because
are Bristol Karate Academy. And by virtue and industry, together we will become our best possible selves.