Apr 232013

Chairman’s report from Carmarthenshire Karate’s annual general meeting, 2013…

It’s been yet another busy and highly successful year for Carmarthenshire Karate once again and it is with great pleasure and pride that I can report that the club continues to thrive with a growing, strong squad for competitions and huge successes in gradings. There is now true depth and maturity in a large number of our students which is clearly apparent when looking at the calibre and quality of their performances in class and in their gradings. Nothing is a given – what they’ve achieved is through their own hard work and determination and they certainly deserve to reap the rewards.

keep up the good work…

Firstly, there have been some excellent results in the gradings with a number of students joining the senior ranks with their 3rd kyus. Leigh Bennett, Richard Bevans, Shriya Aerasala, Raghav Aerasala, Liam Jakeman, Ethan Young and Rhys Jones. Congratulations and well done to you all. Congratulations also to Alice Bennett who achieved her 2nd kyu in November. Very well deserved all of you. Onwards and upwards to the next level now!

There have also been several successful karate kids, junior and senior gradings with all students progressing well. The number of students grading continues to grow and in order to give each and every student a fair opportunity an additional grading group for intermediate students has been introduced, which is working well. Well done to all of you who have succeeded in your gradings throughout the year; the amount of coloured belts who continue to progress is a sight to behold. Keep up the good work.

Our last two gradings in Carmarthen (December 2012 and March 2013) have unfortunately not gone quite according to plan as far as logistics are concerned. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the martial arts area that we regularly use has become unavailable at very short notice and we have had no choice but to accept an inferior alternative arrangement offered by the leisure centre. We sincerely hope that this is not going to be a regular issue with the gradings and we will continue to battle with the leisure centre to ensure that the martial arts area will be made available to us in future. Even though this arrangement has been disruptive I can assure you that this hasn’t had any detrimental affect on the quality or the content of the gradings and their resultant outcomes.

The individual clubs have all progressed well over the past year. Cefneithin club is now well established; the students that are training regularly have now become familiar with the grading system and are progressing well with their personal development. Carmarthen maintains a very strong presence; the four classes on a Wednesday night continue to be well supported and the Sunday night class has gained in popularity too, especially with those keen to get competition practice. Laugharne has also seen an increase in core numbers, while also providing an ideal opportunity for students from the other clubs to get some useful extra training. St.Clears has probably seen the greatest increase over the past year, largely thanks to the growing popularity of its karate kids group.

medals from numerous competitions…

Moving on to competitions, Carmarthenshire Karate has had another successful year competing and gaining medals in numerous competitions including Welsh National Championships in April, Welsh Junior Open Championships in July, Welsh Open Championships in September, WHKK Invitational Championships in October, WKU Championship in November and KSE6 Championship in March 2013. Our congratulations go to Jordan Evans on retaining his title as Welsh Kata Champion and winning gold once again in the Welsh National Championships. A total haul of 18 gold, 26 silver and 26 bronze medals were brought back to the club throughout the year.

A number of these medals were won after we topped the medal table once again and successfully defended our leading position at the WHKK Championships in St.Clears in October 2012 for the 8th consecutive time with 13 gold, 13 silver and 11 bronze medals. It was a fantastic performance from the whole team. Next year the competition will be even tougher with the Carmarthenshire clubs battling it out against each other. Look out – the competition will be fierce! Special congratulations to the Davies family from St. Clears who won the Special Achievement Award for their combined performances throughout the day. Well done to you all and in particular to those competing for the very first time.

still introducing variety to our programme…

Hard work, good preparation and determination are required to achieve results like this, however, we still aim to introduce variety and fun to our programme. With this in mind, St.Clears YFC joined us for a training session in St.Clears and they showed no hesitation in joining in and having fun. We also hosted a training session for Llangadog YFC. This was our second visit to Llangadog; they obviously enjoyed themselves the first time. These are excellent opportunities to promote the sport and the club and there have been other events where Carmarthenshire Karate has demonstrated their skills to the wider community. In July 2012 at Parti Cornel Carwyn, Cefneithin and in September 2012 at an open day event in Carmarthen Leisure Centre.

Our very experienced referees and judges have been keeping busy with their officiating duties this year again. They have been officiating in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sheffield, Weston, Gloucester, Moscow, Tenerife, Cardiff, Manchester and Rotterdam – bringing back with then some valuable experience to the club.

Our annual charity week took place in July 2012 where the training fees from all the clubs for one week were collected and a fantastic total of £490 was raised and presented to West Wales General Hospital’s Physiotherapy Department. The money was to be used for stroke services. We continue to support this very worthwhile cause as it is extremely underfunded and a cause that affects a great many of us. Thank you to all who supported.

visiting instructor course…

An exciting new venture for us this year was to invite Hanshi Peter Spanton to our Carmarthen dojo for some intense training. The event was open to the whole association and his first visit in September was a huge success. The wealth of knowledge and experience that he can bring to our club is invaluable. It was an honour and a pleasure to be there. This is the way forward for Carmarthenshire Karate and as a result of this event’s success Hanshi Spanton has since returned to our dojo very recently for an even better training course.

Moving on from the above, I would just like to remind you that Carmarthenshire Karate is a voluntary, non profit making organisation. As there are a large number of students training the assumption would be that there is a good level of income. Training fees have not increased in a number of years and there are no plans to increase them in the foreseeable future; however, running costs such as hall fees continue to rise. The club supports its students as much as possible by paying for tournament entry fees, fees for visiting instructors such as Hanshi Spanton’s courses, family discounts, providing equipment e.g. belts and gloves for training and competitions and also the presentation of belts at gradings. As an example, the tournament entry fees that the club has paid for over the last year were £1150. As you can hopefully appreciate, particularly with the competition squad rapidly growing, this level of support will be very difficult to sustain in the long term. Consequently, we will now have to consider a financial contribution from the competitors for future competition entry fees. This will ensure that our priority of maintaining our fee structure at its current level for the benefit of all our students can be accomplished.

On a lighter note, there have been a few social events to keep us entertained too. The weather wasn’t particularly kind to our family beach picnic in Pendine this year but a few die-hards persevered to the end. Our Christmas dinner is also an opportunity to relax, enjoy and reflect upon the good work carried out throughout the year.

several more opportunities coming up…

The prospects for 2013 are as exciting as ever – there are a several students climbing up the senior ranks with their 1st and 2nd kyus in sight hopefully and the juniors and seniors will continue with their personal development. The club tournaments are proving to be an excellent grounding for the introduction and development of the juniors to competition level and the results clearly confirm this. The squad will have several more opportunities during the summer and autumn to continue their momentum in competitions.

All in all, it’s been an extremely successful year for Carmarthenshire Karate once again. We continue to build and improve upon previous successes and the results speak for themselves. The membership numbers have continued to rise from 230 last year to around 250 now. Our students are flourishing on the leadership, encouragement and opportunities that are provided to them by an enthusiastic and committed team of instructors.

A huge thank you once again to our chief instructor, Mair Phillips, for her continued commitment, dedication and passion and also to the instructors and assistants for their continued support.