Our #WayBackToTheDojo took another step forwards this week, with our first sessions back indoors at Narberth Karate Club. It was great to be back, even though it was just for one night – with the Wales “firebreak” starting on 23rd October, all of the Carmarthenshire Karate sessions will go back online for two weeks. All being well, we’ll be back in Narberth from Tuesday 10th November. Don’t forget to book your place for any of our upcoming sessions through our Eventbrite listing.
With a yellow weather warning for rain covering most of Wales for this weekend, we really thought that we’d be postponing our 100 Kata Challenge for this year. How wrong we were… the rain cleared and it was all systems “go”, with a change of venue to make sure that we had firm ground to work on.
This year’s chosen kata was the little-known Lo-Hi-Dai, which was a great learning opportunity for everyone taking part.
We were back at our outdoor dojo in Nantgaredig today, for another grading examination. This time, it was the turn of some our junior grades to be put through their paces, having been confined to online-only gradings earlier in the year. It was great to see everyone step up their efforts, and congratulations to everyone on their results.
It was a grey morning for our second outdoor grading examination of the summer, but the students in this senior group brightened the day with some great effort and performances on the “tatami”. In fact, the conditions were ideal – no glare, comfortable temperature and the rain held off. Having benefited from an extra month of outdoor training (three times a week), these candidates had the best preparation possible, which showed in the results. Well done to you all. Llongyfarchiadau!
Sean Fernandez – 4th kyu (upgrade)
Carys Fernandez – 3rd kyu
Amy Jones – 3rd kyu
Fran James – 3rd kyu
Olivia Jones – 3rd kyu (upgrade)
Chad Fernandez – 2nd kyu
Celt Williams – 1st kyu
Osian Wright – 1st kyu
Elin Harries – 1st kyu
Gethin Harries – 1st kyu
Carwyn Tennant – 1st kyu
The next steps of our #WayBackToTheDojo have been taking shape over the last few weeks, with all three of our new outdoor dojos up and running, in Carmarthen, Nantgaredig and St.Clears.
Training sessions at these dojos have replaced the three, weekly online sessions that we’ve been running via Zoom, which is now in hibernation as a backup plan if ever the weather prevents us from training outside. Here is the current schedule:
- Sundays @ St.Clears Leisure Centre, 5pm
- Tuesdays @ Llangunnor School (Carmarthen), 5pm & 6pm
- Thursdays @ Ysgol Nantgaredig, 5pm & 6pm
All of the outdoor training sessions must be booked in advance, so that we can manage the number of participants and ensure that we are able to comply with the Welsh Government requirements for track and trace. Bookings can be made for free via Eventbrite and at the end of each month we will let every family know their total training fees due for that month, which can be paid via bank transfer to the club. This minimises the need to handle cash.
Although we’re currently only able to accommodate existing members at these outdoor training sessions, we’ll soon be welcoming new members and beginners to the group once again. If you would like to join us, please register your interest here.
This weekend saw another group of our junior-grade students being put through their paces in an online grading. Using the same format as our first ever remote examinations last month, this small group were asked to demonstrate a variety of their basic techniques, in addition to all of their required katas.
The standard shown was again very good, confirming once more that the online training sessions – and the new outdoor sessions, recently introduced – have been beneficial and an effective way of continuing to progress in these difficult circumstances.
Congratulations to everyone on their performances and the results that they achieved. Da iawn i chi gyd.
It was a great morning in Nantgaredig for our first senior grading of the summer – the sun was shining and there was 100% effort from all of the candidates. Having benefitted from uninterrupted online training for the last fifteen weeks – as well as some in-person, outdoor training more recently to make sure that everyone was on top-form and ready – it was no surprise that the standard demonstrated was of top quality. They’ve certainly set a high bar for the next group of candidates to reach or exceed, who are due to take their examination in August.
Cerys Thomas – 3rd kyu
Mark Thomas – 3rd kyu
Siôn Evans – 3rd kyu
Barbora Housova – 2nd kyu
Lisa Thomas – 2nd kyu
Nia Thomas – 1st kyu
Erin Williams – 1st kyu
Sed Fernandez – 1st kyu
Following two very good tests over the last couple of weeks, we’re very pleased to be starting our first full outdoor training sessions from the week commencing 6th July. These sessions will be taking place at Ysgol Nantgaredig (Station Road, Nantgaredig, SA32 7LS) – we’re very grateful to the school for allowing us to use their outdoor space, which has worked very well in the trial runs.
Every outdoor training session will have two groups:
- 17:00 to 17:45 for everyone up to 5th kyu (green belt)
- 18:00 to 19:00 for 4th kyu (purple belt) and above
Where possible, the sessions will be on Thursdays but that may change from one week to the next depending on the weather outlook.
To make sure that everyone can train safely, the capacity of each session will be limited, so it will be necessary to book your place in advance via our new Eventbrite listing. Our other two sessions every week will continue to take place online, as normal.
Normal training fees will apply to all of the outdoor training sessions but we’ll avoid handling cash by asking everyone to pay their fees at the end of every month.
Please remember to keep at least 2m apart from each other, which is why we’re limiting the size of the group. If anyone in your household is unwell, especially if they have COVID-19 symptoms, please do not attend. Take a look at our previous #WayBackToTheDojo updated, to remind yourself of what we’re doing.
We won’t have access to any changing or toilet facilities at the school, so please keep that in mind – change into your gi before leaving home. Wear trainers and keep in mind anything else you might need, like a hat or sun screen etc. and water.
Throughout our enforced time away from the dojo during this COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve always had an eye on how and when we’ll be able to get back to in-person training, and what we’ll need to do in preparation. Here’s what we’ve been doing on our #WayBackToTheDojo.
Our ongoing online training sessions have been a great way to keep in touch, stay sharp and maintain some fitness, three times a week, for the last twelve weeks. We’ve even been able to complete a successful junior grading through the same platform, and it has allowed some our senior grades to stay on top of their work for future examinations. These online sessions will continue for a while yet, but now in combination with some in-person training options too.
The latest updates from Welsh Government and Public Health Wales mean that we can start holding in-person, socially-distanced training sessions outdoors. These will start with only a limited number of participants, by invitation only, so that we can test the feasibility of an outdoor dojo in these circumstances, while also trying out some suitable training exercise. Once we’re happy with their feasibility, we hope to open up these outdoor training sessions to all of our members, as soon as possible.
During the last few weeks, our instructors have also been getting themselves ready for the next phase of our #WayBackToTheDojo by completing courses on the best practices for COVID-safe training.
- only allowing students to train if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms
- maintaining social-distancing at all times
- contact-free, distanced training and instruction
- no sharing of any equipment
- avoiding the use of cash wherever possible
- encouraging good hand hygiene
Some of our dojos have been converted into field hospitals or are currently being used for other healthcare needs. We are therefore in contact with a number of alternative venues that may be possible for us to use temporarily, when indoor training is safe to resume.
With eleven weeks of online training under their belts – and up to three sessions per week – some of our junior members took part in the first ever Carmarthenshire Karate online grading examination today. On the day that we had been scheduled to hold the summer grading, our instructors all agreed that the hard work and commitment that had been put in by these students, especially over the last few months, deserved to be rewarded.
In two small groups, our young karate-ka were put under just as much pressure and scrutiny as a regular, in-person grading (if not more!). First they were asked to show techniques and combinations from the syllabus, before getting a chance to individually demonstrate their katas to our eagle-eyed examiners.
Just as expected, the effort that everyone put in was worthy of applause and the excellent results reflected that fact. Congratulations to you all…
Given this successful first attempt, we fully intend providing the same opportunity to the other junior grade students that have been joining us for online training, but had not yet gained enough sessions to qualify. The date for the next online grading will be announced shortly, and is expected to take place at the end of July.