Friday, 13 August 2010

SSK 1st Anniversary - a review of our first year

On August 17th 2009 a new professional karate association was set up, called Seishin-do Shukokai Karate (SSK). My club was immediately affiliated to this association, my instructor was one of the founding members, and we are now approaching the SSK’s first anniversary.

It has been quite a year for both instructors and students. The aim of the association was to move away from the modern ‘block-punch’ style of karate and return karate to its more traditional Okinawan roots. This has involved a massive expansion of the syllabus to include more in depth analysis of kata and bunkai and the development of a broader range of self-defence techniques, including throws, pressure points and ground fighting skills.

As well as expanding on traditional karate training, the SSK is also developing its competition focus by developing both kata and kumite squads. It has already achieved several champions and medallists, including a junior kata world champion.

This last year has been a steep learning curve for all of us. We have had to learn to break fall, this was not something we needed to do before as we never hit the deck. Now we’re throwing ourselves all over the place! We also do a lot more partner work with a lot of close in stuff – this has taken a bit of getting used to for many people but let’s just say we know each other a lot better now!

We’ve also had the opportunity to attend several courses, some internal and some external. This year, several of us attended a seminar with Patrick McCarthy and also one with Iain Abernethy. I found this exciting – these are people whose books I have read, whose reputation I am aware of, now I’ve had the chance to train with them in person.

We have been on this new journey together. I won’t pretend I wasn’t a little apprehensive to start with. My club was moved out of an organisation I knew and trusted to one that was an unknown quantity, one that was yet to establish its reputation.

The leadership that the SSK has shown has been amazing. In such a short time it has achieved so much. Seishin-do means ‘the Way of positive spirit’. There has definitely been a lot of positive spirit shown by the SSK’s leaders. Several local clubs have joined us since the launch and others are showing interest, it seems to be going from strength to strength.

Standards have been set very high. It is very noticeable that people are training harder and achieving more because of it. They are more motivated and have higher expectations of themselves. Everybody seems to be enjoying this ‘new’ karate.

The first dan gradings were held in May. Our club had three 1st kyus testing for 1st dan. Boy, were they made to train hard to earn the right to test! It was quite inspiring to watch them really raise their game in the preceding few months before testing. My husband was able to get a ‘sneaky peek’ at what the grading was like because he acted as a partner for one of the men who was grading. He came back exhausted after a 5 hour marathon and I know the grading candidates felt they had really earned their black belts.

I have no regrets about my club affiliating with the SSK. We have gone from strength to strength and feel that we are learning some real karate now. One of the best things about the SSK is that it has brought all its affiliated clubs closer together. Through the internal courses we benefit from instruction from all the SSKs instructors and we are getting to know students from other clubs much better.

For me personally, I was asked to be the SSK’s publicity officer and now manage a blog for them on the SSK’s website. This feels like quite a responsibility and has brought me closer to the heart of the SSK – a position for which I feel deeply honoured.

There is no looking back now – the journey can only move us forward. If the SSK makes as much progress during its second year as it has its first then its future as leading karate association must be assured.

Happy anniversary SSK.
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Bob M said...

Learning lots of new stuff--sounds exciting!

Sue C said...

Hi Bob, yes it has been a really exciting year and I'm sure it's set to get even better!

Felicia said...

Congrats to your club on its anniversary and to you for making the leap of faith a year ago. Keep growing and learning :-)

sandman said...

Sounds like things are going in the right direction for your club - that's great Sue!

. said...

Congratulations on the 1st year anniversary. Sounds like it's onwards and upwards for SSK. I love that you have such pride and faith in your club Sue. I'm certain it will continue to thrive. I can't wait until I'm reading all about YOUR black belt grading :)


Journeyman said...

Sounds like quite a year!

I'm very happy to hear about the positive changes you've experienced. From my perspective, the fact that you now include throws and in close work in your style is fantastic and seems right in line with ensuring there are no big gaps in your training. Your comments on my blog have been of great value and I very much enjoy getting your perspective since we practice very different arts but often have very similar goals.

Keith said...

Congratulations on the club!

Sue C said...

Thanks for your comments and good wishes everyone. Sorry for the late reply - I've just got back from holiday!


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