Hey guys, or should I say Sawasdee Ka! Those who have started karate in 2019 may not recognise me. I’m Madi and I’ve been training with Shiryodo karate for years. Others I may have taught as white belts, and others still have taught me since I was a white belt! In November 2018 I graded for my black belt, then 3 months later I was on a plane to Thailand. For the next two years I hope to travel the world. Before I left for my travels, someone who had already backpacked the globe advised me to have a ‘project’ while I traveled – something to keep me occupied, give me purpose, and can be used to meet others. For her it was playing the flute, which she would do at bars and restaurants in any town. I chose to improve my karate. So I headed to Pattaya in Thailand, the headquarters of the WKO (World Kumite Organisation) of which our dojo is apart of. By starting here, I could make connections to train at any WKO dojo in the world. So on my way to Pattaya I went.
Training here has definitely taught me a lot. Three days a week I trained under Sifu McInnes, head of the WKO who some may have met at the Anglesea camp. The sessions were physically demanding. I struggled adjusting to the climate too – the first 2-3 classes I thought I might pass out. We went through a lot of basics like breakfalls, punches, kicks – new advice from new perspectives proved a good reminder that basics can always be improved. I also got to practise more advanced techniques like axe and spinning back heel kicks, as well as bo skills.
We would also often try more challenging moves. My favourite was a ‘wall jump’ – running up a pillar before jumping off with a round house kick. They were hard but so much fun. The dojo also offers Muay Thai, which I did on the days I wasn’t doing karate. 3×3 minute rounds taught me a lot about basic sparring (and how unfit I really was). The guys would really push me. I was constantly covered in the most unusual bruises.
The best thing about training at the WKO was the amount of knowledge present in the one room. I was in awe at some of the talent around me, and being continuously exposed to all of their advice was invaluable. People were often coming and going from many countries, like Tony from Brisbane who taught Kung Fu. He spent one day taking me through the basics, and that was great to learn a different approach to self defence. I feel like I learnt so much in such a short time by being exposed to all these people and their new ways of teaching. I am grateful to have been able to train with so many experts and learn what needs improving.
Next I am headed to Nepal, where I hope I get the chance to train in Kathmandu. If not, Japan will definitely be next!