Posts Tagged ‘I’m a winner’

4 new World Champions

Written by bryan. Posted in Competition

a20160619_1752A team of 11 competitors from Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy were selected to be part of the England team competing at the World Union of Karate-do Federations (WUKF) World Championships in Dublin between 15th and 19th June. The event was held in a large conference centre in Dublin, Citywest. Which was just as well given the logistics of housing all the competitors and spectators under one roof for the three days of the championships.

WUKF have members from Countries all over the world and many of them sent competitors to this event. In total 74 Federations attended, 2274 individual competitors and 455 teams supported by 230 Coaches and 128 referees or judges. As it turned out there were 12 competition areas, which on all three days of the competition where in daily use for at least 14 hours. In short it is the biggest Karate championships worldwide during 2016.

The members of  the team from Basingstoke comprised of Bryan Andrews (48) Lindsey Andrews (41) Katie Dolan (43) Mandi Miles (39) Mark van Meerkerk (45) Edward van Meerkerk (17) Zara Hughes-White (17) Jack Wyatt (13) Zane Sewell (13) Harry van Meerkerk (13) and Kienan Dolan (12.)

The team had worked hard towards this event with many training sessions and squad events since February. Lots of work on developing the fitness to compete in the large categories. More work on fine tuning their Kata skills. (* Kata is a choreographed solo sequence of movements where attacking and defensive movements are practised in sequence. Kumite is fighting against an opponent) Their timing and rhythm, the quality of their techniques and the ‘look and feel’ of the Kata. In the Kumite, people worked on some bread and butter techniques, the fundamentals to ensure that they were optimised in all kinds of different positions and situations, they worked their favourite techniques which were tried and trusted and they looked at tactics and ringcraft to ensure that they could control the fight and the area.

The team assembled for their first training session in Dublin on Wednesday afternoon which was a seminar with multiple World Champion Christophe Pinna. This covered his system and gave us some things to take away and practice to improve our fighting. After this we worked on our individual Katas together as a team with the coaches providing feedback. For the majority of the team it was then a restful evening. Some of the senior coaches had to attend a presidents and officials meeting and dinners, looking at plans for the next few years with WUKF.

Thursday morning was an early start for all the coaches who had to attend a mandatory coaching seminar to enable them to coach Matside during the event. There was another seminar with Pinna which many of the team again attended to learn some new skills. Late Thursday afternoon, the whole squad had to register and be checked to ensure weights and heights were correct for the categories entered and that everyone was who they said they were. Some more light training for the squad with stretching and Kata to keep limber.

Thursday evening was the official opening ceremony with all a full house in terms of the spectators and all the competitors and officials. The officials speeches were given and some excellent displays of Irish folk music and different forms dancing were given. This was the first time that the World Championships had included people with a disability and they asked Shin Gi Tai to perform in the opening ceremony with Mandi Miles demonstrating some Wheelchair based Kata and also doing some fighting and self defence drills along with Lindsey and Bryan Andrews. All three had worked hard together over the previous three months to choreograph a strong routine, which in the end was just over seven minutes long. There were thousands of people in the audience and estimated at 100,000 watching online. Our demonstration brought the house down with several standing ovations received. It was a great example of Disability Karate and ‘able bodied’ Karate being practiced side by side, as it should be.

Basingstoke Karate ChampionsFriday morning was the first day of the actual competition and it started early with an 8:30 arrival in the venue.  The event started with Children’s kata performed in groups based upon their age range in age order. The standard was high and the number of competitors in each category massive, one of our team had eighty fighters in his category. We saw some spirited performances during the course of the day from the children in particular Jack Wyatt pulled off some fine victories in the team fighting including a very nice head kick to win that bout. Jack’s team went onto win a Bronze medal in the team event. Mark van Meerkerk performed some good Kata but wasn’t quite able to make the final rounds in a strong category, Bryan Andrews in the same category made it to the semi final. Next up were Katie Dolan and  Lindsey Andrews competing in the Veteran’s A Kata (35-40 yrs), again with a large category it was somewhat of a nail-biter. Katie made it through to the second round and showed great promise for her first World Championship.  Lindsey battled through to win a silver against a very good Italian competitor. Next up, again was Lindsey in Veteran’s B Kata (41-45.) She went through the preliminary rounds and in the final drew for 1st place. She then had to perform a different kata as a tie break. She picked Anan, which is an old favourite that had helped her to two previous World Titles. Her American opponent picked the same Kata and it was clear within the first 1/3 of her performance of the Kata that Lindsey had won her third world title.

Bryan Andrews was called onto the mats to fight at 8:20pm. With over 40 competitors, the category was a big one. He started off well with a 7:0 win over a Welsh opponent and this set him up for the following fights. There were a couple of nailbiters, the quarter finals were a notable one with the match going into sudden death extra time as a result of some penalty points against Bryan, he scored first and won the bout. The final of this category started at 11:35pm and there was a partisan crowd cheering the Irish competitor and a few hardcore English fans who stayed to the very end. There was plenty of action to see and some lumps and bumps for both competitors, Andrews, eventually won the match 5:2 and secured The World Championship title. His medal was finally presented at 00:10, a long day but a very successful one. The end of day one and we had won Bronze in the teams, one Silver and had two Gold medals and World Champions.

The rest of Saturday morning came along very quickly and it was a prompt start with the teenagers coming out for their Kata prompt at 9:00am, we saw some great performances with Edward van Meerkerk finishing 9th in the world and Zara Hughes-White getting through to the semi final. Harry van Meerkerk did a little better than his big brother coming in 7th place. The boys teams of Harry van Meerkerk, Kienan Dolan and Zane Sewell fought bravely in the teams coming up against a team who were all at least a foot taller than them, sadly their courage wasn’t enough to give them the win. Our last competitor on Saturday evening was Kienan Dolan in the boys 11-12 category with over 80 people in his category, they split it into different pools across several areas to facilitate a faster finish. Kienan fought through his own and then beat the winners of the other pools to reach the final. The American he fought was just a IMG_7609little too experienced and quick for Kienan this time, so he won a richly deserved Silver medal and came #2 in the world.

Sunday morning was an earlier start at 8 and for Shin Gi Tai, there weren’t many of our team left competing. Zane Sewell performed well in the fighting as did Harry van Meerkerk, neither made it through the preliminary rounds though. Edward van Meerkerk and Zara Hughes-White fought valiantly with some good techniques, but weren’t able to pass the preliminary rounds. Mandi Miles was next up and she performed some great katas to win a Gold medal in the Wheelchair category and become the World Champion for this, a great achievement considering she only started training in March 2015. Our last event was the cadet females team fighting for Gold against the Polish national team, undoubtedly there were some nerves, but this didn’t seem to affect Zara Hughes-White or the other girls as they won the match convincingly 6:0 to become Team World Champions.   

The days were all long and tiring, the competition was intense with some excellent teams competing against us and an enviable standard. All things considered we’d do it all over again to compete at this level.

Our final medal tally was

Gold Medals and World Champion

  • Lindsey Andrews
  • Bryan Andrews
  • Mandi Miles
  • Zara Hughes-White

Silver Medals

  • Lindsey Andrews
  • Kienan Dolan

Bronze Medal

  • Jack Wyatt

 

Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts performing at The Opening Ceremony.

 

 

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SO YOU THINK IT’S EASY FOR ME?

Written by Lindsey. Posted in Coaching

LindseySO YOU THINK IT’S EASY FOR ME?

‘Yes, but it’s easy for you’ are words I hear frequently when coaching, typically when asking students to challenge themselves with something they cannot yet do. Yes I’m a Kata World champion, European champion, British champion and multiple sports award winner but what you don’t know is what I have had to do to get where I am.

Typically, I don’t reply with anything other than ‘it’s not about me, it’s about you. Keep working on it’. However, next time you think about giving up, or making excuses because you believe that someone else finds it ‘easy’ and you don’t, I want you to think for a moment about this; just because someone makes something look effortless, doesn’t mean it took no effort to attain the skill. ‘It’s easy for you’ is an assumptive, blasé comment which is often said without thinking, to excuse the fact that someone feels embarrassed that they can’t currently do something the way they would like to or because they can’t be bothered to put the required work into developing the skill.

Just think for a second, if you could do something to perfection already why would I be asking you, as a coach, to work on it? Why would I be asking for you to practise and giving you help and advice on how to improve if not because I believe that you can be better, that you want to be better? It is my way of making things ‘easy’ for you. As martial artists we need the things that we practise to come easily to us, if we feel uncoordinated, clumsy and slow in the way we move we will never be able to defend ourselves effectively. It should be our goal to work hard enough to make things appear effortless. As a coach, I do not want to spend my time being impressed by what you can do, I want to be impressed by the effort and attitude you put into what you can’t do.

I’m not perfect, no one is, but don’t ever believe for one moment that just because I can do something and do it well  that it’s easy for me. Everything I have achieved I have done because I have worked continuously hard over an extremely long period of time. Every one of us is different; there are things which I have picked up quickly which someone else will struggle with and vice versa.  I seek out the best instructors and I take the time to listen to what they have to say, and often what they say is critical. I write copious notes on everything which I often refer to and I put in hours and hours of practise, sometimes repeating individual moves hundreds of times over until I succeed in doing something so that it feels right. I ask questions, I research what I’m doing. It’s important to understand not only how to do something correctly but why it is the correct way.  None of this is easy.

Learning is a constantly evolving process. Complacency is dangerous, if you allow yourself to believe that you have mastered something you become complacent and cease to practise with the correct mindset. In this case you are now just going through the motions like a machine; not thinking, not feeling and not intuitively improving.  All training should be done with an open mind, ready to change, adapt and improve. As we grow older physical limitations make it necessary for us to adapt. We lose flexibility, speed and strength but at the same time we should be learning how to adapt our movements so we don’t lose the skills we have worked hard to master. People often become frustrated when they find they can no longer train and move the way they did in their youth. It no longer feels ‘right’ which is why we need to be open-minded when we train. What was right when I was 20 is no longer right for me now I’m in my 40’s. I have had to continue to adapt and continue to work hard.

For those who continue to train, to work and to develop their skills, there can always be improvement. These people find that their movements become softer, more fluid, smaller, wiser and simultaneously more effective.  At this point many of us look back and wish we had known when we started that things could be gentle on the body and yet effective. This is when, to the novice, things look effortless and ‘easy’ for those who have developed these skills.

Whenever you become frustrated that someone else appears to find something easy when you find it difficult consider that they were once where you are now. Looking at someone else wishing they had those skills, wondering why it seemed so easy for someone else. They are possibly still looking at someone else wishing their skills were at that level rather than the level that they are but, in their case, knowing that this will come with time and work and understanding that this hasn’t come easy – it has come through continuous effort and hard work.

Lindsey Anan FinalWhere I am hasn’t come easy for me, it has come as a result of many years of hard work. I have trained in martial arts for over twenty three years. I train, on average, for twenty hours per week with a mixture of personal training, private lessons, coaching and fitness work. I do more when I can. Just one year after I started training in martial arts I was diagnosed with M.E (also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). As a result this has been anything but easy for me but I have never given up. You never know what anyone has struggled with or is currently struggling with and how hard they have worked to attain their goals and reach their current standard but I do know that with my own achievements I have felt an enormous sense of pride, this is not something you feel when something comes easy to you.

With this in mind, next time that you are faced with a challenge and someone else is making it look easy, ask yourself how much you want to achieve, how hard you are willing to work and how important it is to you to get there. Just because it looks easy for someone else doesn’t mean it came easily to them. Consider and appreciate the effort they have put in and then match that effort with your own.

Be the best that you can be.

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Martial Arts Standards Agency British Judo British Council for Chinese Martial Arts – National Governing Body The World Union of Karate Federations Shi Kon Martial Arts British Council for Chinese Martial Arts – National Governing Body Safeguarding

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Telephone (01256) 364104.

Email: info@basingstokekarate.com.

Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy,
The Annex @ ITT Industries,
Jays Close,
Basingstoke,
RG22 4BA