There are many amazing experiences that the martial arts gives people. One of those I personally love is being able to travel the world, train and hang out with some of the best instructors and fighters in the world. This years WKO camp saw an incredible group of martial artists all come together in Thailand, and having a group from Shiryodo travel, train and have fun with me on this adventure made for another amazing experience I won’t forget.
Shiryodo black belts with Soshi Sukihara
For me one of the highlights was the tournament at the end of the camp. Not only did I have a ringside seat to watch some of the best full contact karate fighters in the world do battle. But I was sitting with one of the legends of full contact fighting, K1 champion Peter Aerts, great guy and had a lot of fun discussing the action and getting his insights into each fight.
Ringside with Peter Aerts
Osu Shihan Malcolm.
Following is a report on the trip by Sensei Cynthia.
October 2017 saw Shiryodo Karate members flying out to Thailand to train with and be instructed by some of the world’s best kumite fighters. Shihan Malcolm and Senpai Da invited any of those interested in joining them to attend the 10th Anniversary World Kumite Organisation Training Camp in Pattaya Thailand. They also spoke to the well respected knife fighter Randall Hodges asking him to fly especially in from Northern Thailand for extra training in knife skills. These offers were accepted by 6 members including: Sensei Cynthia, Senpai Dan, Senpai Glenn, Senpai Andrew Meath, Dylan Henley, and Scott.
Training in the warmth of the Thailand weather with temperatures generally in the 30 C range took some adjustment and plenty of re-hydration by all attending, however not one of us failed to train at our best. For the prior training with Randy at our hotel we dressed casual to suit the needed movement amid the heat for optimal training. Randy took us through the four themes of knife and the principals that can be applied from that basis. These focused on blocking and attack with added switches. He moved on to counters for these and other combinations including strategies involving suggestions when dealing with possible attackers. Some of these suggestions went through open handed techniques such as slapping to the head and body. He finished up with various conditioning exercises designed to strengthen and help focus the proper control required for those open handed techniques. The instruction however short, provided many insights into our current training with knife and opened new concepts for future training. The knife training from Randall Hodges gave us the energised springboard toward the remaining training ahead with Kancho Sifu McInnis the head of The World Kumite Organisation.
In preparation for the World Kumite Organisation (WKO) 10th Anniversary Camp, Shihan Malcolm organised for us to be able to train with Sifu McInnis himself at his own dojo in Pattaya called Shorin Kempo. They work toward strategies for full contact training and competition. Training with other styles like Shorin Kempo can offer greater insight and practical techniques that can and do enhance what we do here at Shiryodo Karate. The opportunity to train with Sifu McInnis and his members touched on concepts from sparing strategies and footwork to wrist locks and opponent control. Some of these strategies gave us a prior insight and preparation for the camp ahead. It was an honour to be training with Sifu and the Shorin Kempo members who were very excellent hosts demonstrating great patience and understanding when sharing their skills with us.
The day we booked into the Ambassador City Jomtien Hotel in Pattaya for the 10th Anniversary World Kumite Organisation Training Camp, we were given a gift package (t-shirt, flag, wallet, jacket patch, program, guest kumite entry tag) each awarded to all arrivals. These special items commemorating the Anniversary made everyone feel very spoiled in our welcome to the Camp. We all settled in for the night. With morning’s light we all found our way to the beach wearing our dogi and belt ready for our first session. Not knowing what to expect we all lined up in front of the water’s edge. With 150 people attending the camp you can imagine that the line stretched along a fair distance. With language barriers the training instructors took us through basics, kicks, punches, sanchin stance…etc. As we were moved up to our chest in the water we were shown my favourite technique of the cam that I have not done before, rolling axe kick. Rolling forward into the water kicking my leg straight with any kind of grace felt impossible at first. In stead I could only roll forward with the floundering of a drowned rat. Although my technique was far from great, by around the 20th time I felt able to find my feet after the rolling kick much easier. The camp had many things to improve our basics as this was the best way to communicate with the many world best kumite fighters speaking languages such as Thai, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, German, to name a few. The Japanese master took us through gyaku wasa which is a self-defense and control when grabbed by the wrist of an assailant. We were taught about clinches and take downs. Then we were shown strategies to help us avoid take downs. Our last day we spent watching the full contact tournament for the brave fighters and then those for the super champions. They were definitely challenged to the maximum effort for some to be disqualified for not being on time to falling from the platform and being injured in great pain. All showed the deepest respect and regard for the prestigious event winning enormous trophies, champion belts and prise money. To sum the fantastic camp up, we all cleaned up nicely wearing beautiful outfits for the formal Syonara Party to celebrate.
The entire Thailand adventure turned out to be well worth the expense giving us lasting memories of learning, experience, and new friendships developed. OSU!
3rd Dan instructor.