Posts Tagged ‘Shikon’

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.




The Beginner in the Martial Arts

Written by bryan. Posted in Events, Training Diary

Tai Chi, Split, Tai Chi Kick, TaijiThis week, I’m in the Czech province of Jizerka training on the 24th Shikon Jizerka course hosted by Shikon Czech and it’s Chief Instructor Ondra Musil 7th Dan in Karate and 6th Dan in Aikido who along with Steve Rowe 8th Dan in Karate and Tai Chi Sifu and Martin Gatter 7th Dan Karate and Tai Chi Sifu from Shikon International have been the teachers.

With around 80 participants mainly from the arts of Karate, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Ju Jitsu and Aikido, there has been a range of diverse skills to sample and learn from.

Today is Wednesday and we’re half way through the course. My training plan for the week has been simple:-

7:00 Tai Chi (Chi Gong, Long Form and Long Boxing)

8:00 Breakfast

9:00 – 10:30 Tai Chi (Long Boxing, Fa Jing, Dao Lu)

10:30 – 12:00 Aikido

13:00 Lunch / Enjoying the countryside / Free Practice

15:00 – 16:30 Tai Chi (Long Boxing, Fa Jing, Dao Lu)

16:30 – 18:00 Aikido

19:00 – Dinner / Enjoying the Countryside / talking about all things martial and more free practice

So the training plan itself was easy, right. Okay it was and is tiring I have to admit. When I decided to come to Jizerka earlier in the year, I committed to myself that I would make the most out of the training experience and learn as much as I could. So many good things shown and explained, shown again and clarified, it felt like at times my head was about to explode.

I’ve tried to train as a beginner with no preconceived ideas,  actions or knowledge whilst training. It’s been hard to do and sometimes I haven’t managed to, these times have generally been easy to spot, it’s when I’ve been doing it badly. It’s been oddly satisfying though when I’ve have got it right. Some light bulb moments and several real “oh yeah, I get it now” moments, followed quickly by “Doh, it’s so easy to understand, why did it take me so long.” Simple Young Jedi, it’s all down to the key principles, I was told more than once. Principle #1 – Feet, Principle #2 – Posture, now use them. Steve Rowe is my teacher and his long term students know his style of teaching very well. No false, “that was great” or “You’re awesome” or anything like that. In fact the only time Steve will say something like that is when one has been crapper than usual and he’s taking the mickey out of you. Even he’s excelled himself this week with some of his comments and insightful remarks. Many of us attending are long term Martial Arts coaches and practitioners in our own right. Yet I can’t begin to count how many times, I’ve heard a ‘Steveism’ and some attempted correction at whatever we needed to work on. I snuck off before lunch for a sneaky bit of training with someone on some Springing hands work and Long Boxing, from about 300m away, Steve spotted an error from my training partner and sent someone over to stay “stop sticking your butt out and stand straight.”

Remember those days as a kid and being told to sit still at school, or was that just me? Anyway today Martin led us in some Neigong or standing post work. Simple stuff, again! Or so it seemed at a superficial level. Hold five postures for two minutes each. Oh yes, there are a few things to consider when you do them. Stand tall, spine straight, start spiralling from the feet and carry it on up and around the body, heighten your awareness, map your body, be sensitive and be aware. I managed about three out of the five, but then lost focus. Only one person said that they managed all those things throughout the 10 minutes.


I’ve seen some demonstrations of Aikido over the years and I must admit to not been hugely impressed with it as as art. My mistake, big mistake. The Aikido classes I’ve taken part in have all been by Ondrej Musil a 6th dan in Aikido or one of his senior students. The classes were filled with Czech students and one English person, me. Consequently all have been taught in Czech. So listening to instructions was definitely out, but I had to focus very closely to see what was being demonstrated as both Tori and Uke and then work to replicate it with my partners. I was able to cheat a little bit as many of the a few Japanese terms used in Aikido are also used in Karate, such as Maai, Kuzushi and Atemi Waza. It made me realise that although I was learning this way, only learning visually was very difficult for me. But I muddled through and most things I managed by watching and best of all trying the techniques. The moral is, you can learn by talking, you can learn by watching. But the best way is to learn by doing and making mistakes and doing it again and again.


It’s been good to see so many students finish the formal practice and then find some space in the great outdoors to continue their practice. My last training session tonight, after dinner, but still in the restaurant, I asked “Wasn’t sure how to do this technique, is this correct?” From the laughter from my colleagues it would appear not, Martin Gatter, didn’t laugh, well not out loud anyway, his brow however does the same as a ‘Steveism.’ 

Key points for me

– When the teacher says do ‘x’ technique, don’t ask how many times, keep going until you’re told to stop.

– It’s reminded me of how much we should listen and watch our teachers and actually try to do what they say.

– Be aware of your body

– You can learn by talking, you can learn by watching. But the best way is to learn by doing and making mistakes and doing it again and again.

Happy training. Time to get ready for dinner before I do some training.



Written by bryan. Posted in Competition



After months and months of hard training, fundraising, competition practise and organising it was finally time to go. Here’s a day by day breakdown of my unforgettable trip to Brazil with the England Karate Team to compete in the World Karate Championships 2014.

Day 1: Having met up with other members of the England Karate Team at 4am on a chilly Sunday morning we flew off to Rio with a quick stop in Amsterdam. The flights were long but good company made the time fly and we landed in the hustle bustle of Rio at 10pm UK time (6pm local time). It was fascinating en-route to the hotel to see some of the local area, from a far off view of Christ the Redeemer statue to the local roadside poverty stricken Favelas. The hotel was in an ‘interesting’ looking area and we were advised by the clerk to not leave the hotel grounds which given how tired we all were suited us fine. Communication was tricky but we eventually managed to all get checked in and grab something to eat before falling into bed ready for another early start.

Day 2: Up at 5am to head back to the airport, traffic was awful and made the M25 on a IMG_2264bad
day look easy! Luckily we left plenty of time and just managed to make the flight on to our final destination of Iguassu Falls near the Argentinian border. We arrived at 2.30pm and were eager to finally reach our hotel for the next 7 days, unpack and settle in. The hotel was basic but clean and had a nice pool area which, as tempting as swimming and sunbathing would be, we were all quick to utilise as a training space! That evening the team met up and went by taxi’s to the Stadium where the competition was being held. It was nerve wracking walking in there for the first time, seeing how large it was and getting a feel for standing in the competition area when it was eerily quiet, knowing full well that
in 4 days time when we re-entered it was going to be very different. Practise was tough, it was very hot and we were all still tired from travelling but it felt good to be ‘in the zone’ and getting mentally and physically prepped for the competition. After training we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and dinner before bed.

IMG_2098Day 3: 4am and I’m wide awake thanks to jet lag!! Today we were going to visit the longest chain of waterfalls in the World, take a walk through the jungle and a boat ride under the falls. We were up early for breakfast and had an amazing day, the waterfalls were beautiful and when you’re underneath them in a small boat quite exhilarating too! Personally, I wasn’t so keen on the jungle walk but then anyone who knows me will be well aware of my spider phobia and apparently they can be rather large in Brazil! Thankfully I didn’t see any spiders but we did see some of the other local wildlife which was great. We headed back to the hotel mid-afternoon and spent a couple of hours training on kata and kumite before dinner and bed.


Day 4: 4am and wide awake…. Again!!  We were going to Argentina to see the waterfalls from the top today. It was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen. Walkways ran across the top of the falls so in places we got very damp from all the spray and it gave us a whole new perspective on the power of nature! It was great to be able to spend some time socially with other members of the team and get to know them better. Mid afternoon we headed back to the hotel again for some training. My focus was working on team kata with my fellow teammates Tricia Jordan and Lynne Aston.

Day 5: Waking up at 4am everyday is really taking its toll and I’m shattered! Nerves really start kicking in today as the start of the competition is looming. Lots of fine tuning on the training and a visit to one of the other official hotels where registration and weigh in is taking place. All the team made the correct weights on weigh in, showed passports to the officials to confirm eligibility to compete for England and all entries have been confirmed. There are lots of other competitors in attendance for registration as well so it gave us our first look at who we may be up against. Back to the stadium in the evening for the Opening ceremony. This involves all competitors marching into the stadium behind their national flag and presenting themselves to the officials. Lots of official speeches were made (not all were easy to understand due to the different nationalities) and then we were treated to an impressive demonstration of team kata and bunkai by the Brazillian mens and womens teams.

Day 6: First day of competition. The hardest part of the day was waiting, we were up early and feeling nervous but the team events didn’t start until 4pm so it was a fine balance today to keep occupied but not overdo it. Some light practice, lunch and a final bag check to make sure that everything was packed and ready to go then we were off! When we arrived at the stadium there were lots of other competitors already there and the atmosphere was friendly but intense. Everyone was ready to compete and keen to get underway. England had teams in most events including, womens and mens rotation, womens and mens sanbon, mens ippon and ippon rotation and womens kata. Despite everyone’s best efforts by the end of the evening the feeling was that we had underperformed and only had 3 of the teams through to the finals on Sunday. These were the mens ippon, mens ippon rotation and womens kata teams. The kata team were headed into the finals in 4th place which was a good result as the competition organisers chose to mix senior and veteran teams which made the competition a lot more difficult than last year. Although a gold or silver was unlikely a bronze medal was within reach – lots to work on before Sunday to make sure we got it! By the end of the evening there were more than a few bumps and bruises to show for the teams efforts and some low spirits to contend with. The standard of competitors was impressively high and it’s easy to let this eat away at your confidence, however we were all keen to step up our game for the individual events the next day and do our best to bring home the medals.

IMG_2250Day 7: Second day of competition. Very early start for me as kata competitors needed to be ready to start at 8.30am. This meant that we were away from the hotel at 7.30am to allow time to get to the venue, get changed and warm-up. Not that that was too much of a problem for me as I was still managing to wake up at 4am anyway! England had 3 competitors in the female veterans kata (including myself). All did well with Tricia Jordan going through to the finals in 6th place, Lisa Lethridge going through in joint 4th place and me in 1st place with a 0.1 lead over the next competitor from Brazil. I performed Seienchin kata and overall was fairly happy with my performance although the group was mixed kata styles and I felt like the Shotokan katas seemed to be scoring generally better than Shitoryu which meant I needed to make some tough decisions as to which kata to perform in the finals. Kumite events were all being held in the afternoon and I really enjoyed watching and supporting all the England competitors in their events. I’m happy to say we had a really successful day overall with 7 of the team making finals day in individual events. The atmosphere was amazing – the Argentinians, Brazillians and Italians were particularly vocal in support of their teams and the noise was tremendous! The mosquitos and wasps were out in force too which was not so pleasant! It was so lovely to escape the stadium that evening and head back to the hotel for a shower. Most of the team ended up in the pool as a makeshift ice bath to ease tired, sore muscles, bumps and bruises. So far things had felt tough and we all knew tomorrow was going to be the hardest yet.


IMG_2235Day 8: Final competition day. I don’t think I slept at all during the night, I have never felt so nervous in my life! To go into the finals in first place is a good feeling but it was a very small lead and I knew if I chose the wrong kata to perform or made a tiny mistake my dreams of being World Champion for a second time would be over. Having spoken to Sensei Ian Cuthbert, I decided that I would stick with my favourite kata Anan, I would perform it the way I have trained and not try and second guess what the judges were wanting to see.

It was very tense waiting for my event to be called, we were asked to draw a number from a bag to decide what order we would compete in and unlucky for me I was number 6. This meant I had to wait and watch all the other competitors go ahead of me. I spent most of the time pacing the floor at the edge of the competition area and it was very difficult to hold my nerve and not lose my confidence when the others performed and scored well, I knew I was going to have to do a faultless kata if I was going to win.  I remember feeling like I was shaking like a leaf when my name was called and I stepped on the mat but all the hard training kicked in and it was like going on auto-pilot, my body knew what to do and at the end I felt like I had done well, but would it be good enough? Scores were called and they seemed quite good but I didn’t know what all the other competitors had received so still didn’t know the final result.

When it was over all the finalists for the event lined up at the side of the mat. Placings were called out in reverse order from fourth to first. When they called out second place and it wasn’t me I knew I’d either done really badly and blown it completely or got the gold. I have to say hearing my name called out and realising I’d done it was such a huge relief, I was ecstatic!! Medals would be given out at the medal ceremony later in the day but I was so happy that it was over and I’d done it, I didn’t actually care about the medal at that point! I still had the team kata final to do but I felt like a massive weight had been lifted and I can honestly say I really enjoyed getting back on the mat for the team event. We pulled our best effort out and managed a bronze medal with a good performance of Niseishi which really rounded off the event for me in the best way possible. The other English finalists did really well in their events with a gold medal for Lynne Aston in the veterans kumite, a silver for Shauna Carroll in the senior female kumite, gold for Garrick Eastwood and Dan Cuthbert for mens individual kumite in their respective weight categories and two further gold medals for the mens ippon and ippon rotation teams.

IMG_2261The medal ceremony was long and I just remember grinning like a Cheshire cat when my turn came to stand on the podium. By the end I think each and every one of the team was more than ready to head back to the hotel, sit by the pool and then go out and celebrate an amazing day.

Coming home: The day after the competition ended we were up early once again and headed back to the airport. We were all shattered but it felt good to not have the stress and pressure of competition anymore. We landed back in Rio early afternoon and spent the next two days enjoying some of the local sights. I walked along Copacabana beach, took the cable car up Sugar Loaf Mountain and went up the mountain to see the Christ the Redeemer statue. I feel very lucky to have had the chance to go and compete, see the places I did and have such an amazing experience but it was really good to come home and see my family and friends. Now back to training hard ready for the next one 😉


Christ the Redeemer Copecabana beach Tabletop mountain












Written by Lindsey Andrews



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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