In 2007 I was privileged to be invited into a training group of blackbelts by my friend and mentor Simon Staples. We would meet every three months and pressure test our own abilities against each other.
It was a great time, and we formed some firm and fond friendships.
In 2008 Simon organised for us to all travel up to Nottingham and train privately with Sensei’s Dave Hazard and Aidan Trimble at Aidan’s Honbu Dojo in Nottingham.
I remember the Saturday like it was yesterday, and the content is still fresh in my mind.
We travelled up early, trained for three hours, and then joined the Sensei for a Chinese meal before heading home. It was a fantastic formative experience and an exhausting days work.
One that I will never forget!
(Images from 2009 Courtesy of Bernard Rose Photography)
When we were all in lockdown, I had plenty of opportunity to reflect on my karate experiences and to think and ponder what I would like to repeat and (of course) avoid. I thought deeply about the community within and around our clubs and how they could best be supported and enriched.
I decided I wanted to ensure that our students were presented with opportunities and adventures. It may sound romantic, but I thought it was important then and I still do now! 😊
Throughout my Adult life Karate has been my Constant!
Regardless of relationship status, job title or pressures, personal challenges or even my own mood, Karate has ALWAYS been there!
Karate IS my CONSTANT!
I think I am a sensitive person; this helps me as a karate teacher. On some level I can sense angst and upset amongst my members. I know when they are off track or out of balance.
Sometimes I guess this can be unnerving, but I can’t help it!
As we entered this year, I felt that several of my senior black belt members would benefit from a time-out. A break from the normal routine to reboot and re-ignite their passion for karate. I wanted to help them reaffirm their Constant. So, the time was right to revisit a positive experience from my past and introduce it to my students.
Last weekend I drove a minibus full of ten members from my Petersfield and Knowle dojo’s to Nottingham. Once again to train at Sensei Trimble’s awesome facility in Beeston.
I started in Bedhampton picking up our Hayling Island contingent Bryony and Tony before heading to Petersfield, Bordon, and Liphook for our scheduled pick-ups. I soon realised that my itinerary had been optimistic, and I was a tad late for Jo! (Sorry Jo …… typical that I would be late for one of our most organised and prompt members 😊 x).
We then battled with the M25 on a Friday at rush-hour (again not my finest planning) before navigating the M1 and reaching our hotel around 7pm.
Mike Smallpage was relieved to find a pool and gym onsite so immediately familiarised himself with the facilities while I relaxed at the bar! 😊
One of our longstanding members Els has recently started a new job in Leamington Spa so had driven the remainder of the route on her own and met us at the hotel.
It soon proved that driving up the night before training was a good idea. I felt proud as I sat back and watched everyone interact while some of our newer members get to know each other. After a nice meal and a few sociable’s we all retreated to our rooms.
Training was scheduled for 11am so there was no need to be up and about too early which made a nice change for those of us with young families. Mike was once again in the gym as I wandered to breakfast, and I was soon joined by Jon and Wayne and then everyone filtered in post Swim or chill.
As a parent I am always amazed by how much teenagers can eat! Zack and Harry were no exception, and I am certain I wouldn’t have been able to train if I had eaten their equivalent breakfasts!
Sensei’s dojo is a great facility, and I would encourage any dedicated karate student to visit if they are in the Midlands, even if they are just passing through. Sensei Trimble has a fantastic manner that makes you welcome and encourages you to give your best without the intense pressure that some instructors unknowingly impart on their students.
I could feel the anticipation levels rise on the bus as we parked outside and entered the building.
The training did not disappoint, and Sensei (as always) was in top form.
We worked on Nagashi Uke Drills in the first hour. Nijishiho kata and Bunkai in the second and then various sweeping techniques in the final hour.
It was great!
Personally, my favourite class of the three was the final one on sweeping!
Many years ago, I trained on a course with a renowned kumite competitor who was a ferocious sweeper. Myself and my colleagues had approached that course with great anticipation as we were in the prime of our competitive careers and keen to improve our sweeping.
Unfortunately, on that day we were all treated to the instructor’s ability but were left uninformed on how to improve our own techniques.
Sensei Trimble’s approach could not have been more of a contrast.
It was a fantastic final hour and although I healthily ache today, I cannot wait to get back in the dojo to practice these some more.
When training was finished Els jumped back in her trusty Skoda and the rest of us loaded up the mini-bus and headed home. I expected lots of enthused chat but instead was met by relative silence….. everyone was shattered but extremely happy!
The drive home was much easier than the Friday journey and everyone left the bus buzzing from a great experience. I then rushed home to prepare Mother’s Day presents and write cards 😊.
I started teaching for my instructor Mervyn in the year 2000 and have been running my clubs since 2009. During that time Sensei Aidan Trimble has always been someone I have admired not only for his karate ability but also for his humility and ability to lead with authority and a smile.
You have no doubt of Sensei’s presence, stature, or ability and equally he is a great guy!
Thankyou Sensei for looking after us.
it was a great experience for myself and my students that we will be keen to repeat.
We will be back in Beeston.