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Enso SKC... As One Door Shuts, Another Opens

So, what an amazing rollercoaster of emotions have been and gone. Harold McMillan, one time Prime Minister, said and I quote: "A week is a long time in politics." And as recent events have proved, he was not wrong. As it turned out, 4 short days proved to be a very long week in the short but bright history of Enso SKC. Saturday saw an excellent Kata course at Nuffield Gym Rubery, Birmingham, where a determined band of Karateka trained hard, working on the Shodan kata that allowed all of us black belts to go back and re-visit the very same kata that we had to manage and attempt to master to earn the coveted Dan grade, back in the day when we made that transition from brown belt to black belt.

To be fair, I gave quite a bit of time, effort, and energy to the lesson plan. As someone who attended a teacher training college back in the day, the very first lesson that you learn as a teacher is always: have a lesson plan. And while my destiny was not to be as a school teacher, as a Karate teacher of well over 40 years, the same principle has always applied. I have to say that I found it really engaging, just revisiting what was learned back in the day, but more importantly, what after all these years as a black belt, was the interpretation of those Shodan kata as a second, third, forth, or fifth Dan.

It was a really enjoyable session. A hot afternoon with hardcore, no nonsense, sweaty Shotokan. Afterwards, we enjoyed a fine cup of tea, before the very next day many of us assembled again with others to meet for the last time at the spiritual home of my Karate journey, to train for the very last time at Bartley Green dojo.

I have written a specific blog about just what this meant to me, and so may others, so I will not repeat the prose. That is not the purpose of this particular blog.

No, my dear friends, this is about the first ever lesson at the new, but, also old, dojo of Halesowen Leisure Centre. The first session took place at Studio 1. Up the stairs on the left hand side lies the studio that for some years was the home for Shihan’s dojo. Just a few feet away was the gym, that before it was converted into a gym, used to be a bar. However, it as not just a bar; every Wednesday and Sunday, for brown belts and above, Shihan would segregate the class, and the senior grades were lead away like lambs to the dojo.

My memories in the eighties, nineties, and noughties, entering this place was a dark, challenging and frightening battle ground. However, it was also an exhilarating, challenging, and brutal training ground, but, the truth is that harsh and tough training was a melting pot. If you could take it, and it was truly tough, then you were forged into tough, uncompromising and effective Karateka. So, for me, coming back with a small, but committed team of fellow Karateka, for our first session back in the Halesowen dojo was in many ways a coming back after being away.

The training was tough, sweaty, and uncompromising, and if I am honest, I felt inspired walking again in the footsteps of Shihan; his spirit pervades all of us who trained and who teach.

So, it was afterwards that I left the dojo, sweaty, exhausted but genuinely happy, that I felt that in a strange but positive way that Karate had left one home, and returned to another. A strange, but, wonderful journey that has only just begun.


Sensei Austin

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