Karate Kamp 2010 Reflection

Karate Kamp 2010 was a unique experience. Let me start by thanking Sensei Alex Waith, the Most Graduate Members of our Dojo, and the Organizing Committee for making this event something so special. I would recommend any student not to miss it.
After arrival on Friday evening, the training session was demanding, taking place in what looked like an adapted old church under a challenging heat. The next day started with a six o'clock morning run that everyone made sure to not miss and the training that followed was very complete. One session had a component of fighting gear, giving us a good feedback on how our techniques should be performing in a full contact form. The following session was very rewarding as our "Yodansha", the Dan graduates and most senior members of the Dojo, took every student for Ji Yu Kumite sessions: that was an experience not to miss, and even on the sidelines you could find every pair work showed something to learn from - constant switches from distant to close range, to different paces and fluidity of techniques, under constant encouragement and coaching. At the end of the day, all the strain put forward during those sessions started setting in, but surprisingly enough, strength is found in comradery, being around fellow students that are also going through the same thing. Such common bond also brings great moments at the meals, where we socialize and get to better know other members. After dinner, I was invited to be a part of a team for the entertainment "competition" and after it finished, I just realized how suitable such exercise was, on how we deal with unpredictability and the need to improvise (just like in fighting). Last day, started with another six o'clock run and the training that followed also zoomed in on some aspects that we were going to be examined for grading, equally mind opening on how it should be done and the reasons behind it.
We sometimes hear how lucky we are as students in our Dojo. After reading Dave Lowry's In the Dojo and being at my first Kamp, I agree. On the way home from the Kamp, a moment of retrospection sank in, rewinding what happened, and thoughts of what I could have done better emerged. Feeling tired and sore, a certain warm feeling of happiness emerged: that during that weekend I ended up proving something to myself, going over what I thought my limit was, and in the end, felt like I came out of it a better person - I wonder if that is harmony.
- Sempai Henrique