Memorable training camps :)

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,092
Reaction score
2,507
Location
Australia
Have heard little glimpses of training camps from @hoshin1600 and others, but really keen to hear of more experiences :)

It can be anything, from particularly memorable training camps in general (eg why was it memorable), to massive lessons learned, insightful moments, interesting drills and technical work, hilarious moments and fun you had, whatever!

Moreso multi-day/weekend/week-long camps I was thinking, but sure seminars too if applicable :)
 
OP
_Simon_

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,092
Reaction score
2,507
Location
Australia
I'll go first!

I've only experienced Kyokushin training camps that are our branch held once a year (and a bunch of other style day seminars), and I absolutely loved them. They were gruelling, rough and utterly exhausting, but it was so much fun and at the end of it was such a great feeling.

They were always held at the same place every year and we get there Friday (sometimes there was a Friday evening session), and finish Sunday at 12pm. They were always varied and covered lots of different themes: kihon, kata, kumite, philosophy, combinations, tameshiwari/breaking, bag work drills, partner work, knockdown training, conditioning, kuzushi/unbalancing/sweeps, advanced techniques, principles that Sosai taught etc.

I loved the early morning 6am one hour of general training/basics in the carpeted room. It was hard, but once you get going the room was filled with such electricity! Kiais thundering through the air, bodies moving, sweat dripping, and a sense of real unison between everyone.

Most sessions we'd walk across the road and train at the park, but if weather wasn't great we'd go to a hall down the road or just at the camp location there was the room we did early morning training in.

Loved seeing gis hung up all over the place, drying off haha.

There were usually about 50-80 people or so in attendance, and we shared 3 or 4 people to a room, bunk beds.

Plenty of fruit and food was provided, and the meals were always just incredible... always made sure to eat a LOT, but not so much that it would disrupt training haha... learned the hard way sometimes ;).

The very last session of the camp would always be a beach session, but EVERY single camp I went on it was always cancelled, and every time I was SOOO bummed out, as I love beach training more than I can say.

The camps really tested our spirit to the max... and not only the sessions but the in between times of how much pain, muscle soreness and fatigue we felt. So figuring out the best way to recover well was important. Always had the thought, "HOW could I possibly do any more sessions with this soreness??" And every time, it was fine.

Funny moments: the odd gas releases in those early morning sessions XD, and alot of grumbling stomachs that just wanted food!

And a tradition every Saturday night was the Sayonara party to farewell the camp (even though we still had lots of training the next morning), and each dojo in the training/eating hall had to do a funny skit, act or performance of some sort in front of everyone. They were just hilarious... very creative, and of course karate-based skits were frequent, along with Abbott and Costello style routines, jokes, songs people wrote, embarrassing memories, and even old videos training and breaking were shown. They were a really fun night. Many people drank just that bit too much, and they really struggled in early morning training haha. But our branch chief said yep, you can drink as much as you want, but you have to make it morning training, no matter what! You'll be paying for it in the end haha

Oh and another funny memory, a fellow from my dojo was at his first camp, and decided to drive down the road at about 4:30am to get a massive meal from McDonalds as he was hungry XD. Tell ya what he regretted it at morning training!

The comradery was just awesome... and you'd really get to know alot of the guys in the branch from other dojos. Even though I always felt a bit like I didn't fit in anywhere, they still felt like family, and I still made some great friendships.

I learned a great deal from every camp, not only technically, as different instructors held the different sessions, and you'd get really great perspectives on certain elements of training, but mentally and spiritually there was always something that clicked. Whether it was simply the fact that you got through it in one piece and the strength and perseverance you learned that was within you, or just really the importance of particular aspects such as balance and posture, the ability to say yes to experience, and to always maintain the posture of the beginner's mind, and always be asking what lessons are in this for me specifically (in which the answer may differ for everyone!).

I truly truly miss those camps, and hoping wherever I end up that camps will feature heavily, otherwise I'll just go to other ones :)
 

hoshin1600

Senior Master
Joined
May 16, 2014
Messages
3,088
Reaction score
1,599
as i try to think about something worth while to write about for martial art camps i find so many good memories but so many were special to me and may not be so interesting to read about. for many years i attended George Mattsons Summer Uechi-Ryu camp. it started with me and my girl friend at the time (who also trained) with many of our class mates attending as well. it was such a good experience. i got to train with the greatest martial artists and met so many people. most people train at their own dojo and never get to widen their experience. without a doubt those times shaped and molded me into who i am and how i approach martial arts.
i think the biggest thing for me was the "times" 1990 thru the 2000's was a historic time for Uechi ryu in the U.S. i was there for....
  • the invention of the internet forums. Uechi-ryu had the first forum i ever new. anyone could log in and have a conversation with the masters. i believe it was Georges forum that introduced Rory Miller to the world and prompted him to write his book. i remember conversing with him and reading his posts before his book was out. you could also read college thesis level topics on martial arts. while its common now to Google things, in the 90"s information was hard to come by.
  • within American Uechi ryu i got to watch the top guys earn their "master" grades. i was around to see America go from 7th , 8th , 9th and now 10th degree grades. someday i can tell the next generation "i was there when ,,,so and so tested" the pride along with the controversy. there is always controversy when high ups are promoted.
  • there was a lot of fracturing of organizations. Kanei Uechi had passed and his son Kanmei stepped up to lead the family, again not without controversy. there were some groups including my own that were not supposed to attend training with other groups. i didnt follow that and always did what i wanted. it was interesting to see some long time friends leave and others buck the advise and show up any way wearing patches that would give away their clandestine activities. lots of politics.
  • MMA... while many were holding strong to their traditional roots others were embracing grappling and MMA. i got to train with some really good people. while i will never be anything more than a casual white belt in Grappling i did enough to know its a powerful art and incorporated what i learned into my own training.
i think my biggest take aways are no matter how good you think you are there are lots of people who are way better. some people are just so good its scary, as time passes these are the people who become giants. we tell the stories to our students and they think we are crazy.
there is no one correct way to do anything. one "master" will tell you its done like this and another will tell you no no its not like that, do it like this, and they are all correct.
Rank is an illusion. there is most certainly a pecking order and a marker of seniority. but even some 10th dans suck. for those on this forum who remember @Bill Mattocks ...."we all suck"
and last, its not the destination that matters its the journey.
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
12,476
Reaction score
9,600
Location
Maui
as i try to think about something worth while to write about for martial art camps i find so many good memories but so many were special to me and may not be so interesting to read about. for many years i attended George Mattsons Summer Uechi-Ryu camp. it started with me and my girl friend at the time (who also trained) with many of our class mates attending as well. it was such a good experience. i got to train with the greatest martial artists and met so many people. most people train at their own dojo and never get to widen their experience. without a doubt those times shaped and molded me into who i am and how i approach martial arts.
i think the biggest thing for me was the "times" 1990 thru the 2000's was a historic time for Uechi ryu in the U.S. i was there for....
  • the invention of the internet forums. Uechi-ryu had the first forum i ever new. anyone could log in and have a conversation with the masters. i believe it was Georges forum that introduced Rory Miller to the world and prompted him to write his book. i remember conversing with him and reading his posts before his book was out. you could also read college thesis level topics on martial arts. while its common now to Google things, in the 90"s information was hard to come by.
  • within American Uechi ryu i got to watch the top guys earn their "master" grades. i was around to see America go from 7th , 8th , 9th and now 10th degree grades. someday i can tell the next generation "i was there when ,,,so and so tested" the pride along with the controversy. there is always controversy when high ups are promoted.
  • there was a lot of fracturing of organizations. Kanei Uechi had passed and his son Kanmei stepped up to lead the family, again not without controversy. there were some groups including my own that were not supposed to attend training with other groups. i didnt follow that and always did what i wanted. it was interesting to see some long time friends leave and others buck the advise and show up any way wearing patches that would give away their clandestine activities. lots of politics.
  • MMA... while many were holding strong to their traditional roots others were embracing grappling and MMA. i got to train with some really good people. while i will never be anything more than a casual white belt in Grappling i did enough to know its a powerful art and incorporated what i learned into my own training.
i think my biggest take aways are no matter how good you think you are there are lots of people who are way better. some people are just so good its scary, as time passes these are the people who become giants. we tell the stories to our students and they think we are crazy.
there is no one correct way to do anything. one "master" will tell you its done like this and another will tell you no no its not like that, do it like this, and they are all correct.
Rank is an illusion. there is most certainly a pecking order and a marker of seniority. but even some 10th dans suck. for those on this forum who remember @Bill Mattocks ...."we all suck"
and last, its not the destination that matters its the journey.

Man, I loved those summer camps. They were the balls, just so much fun.

I think somebody told me they did a virtual one this year. Just a few weeks ago....I think.
 

jobo

Grandmaster
Joined
Apr 3, 2017
Messages
9,762
Reaction score
1,507
Location
Manchester UK
Man, I loved those summer camps. They were the balls, just so much fun.

I think somebody told me they did a virtual one this year. Just a few weeks ago....I think.
virtual camping, thats a deam come true, now if they can sort out virtual house cleaning my life will be complete
 

Headhunter

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Messages
4,765
Reaction score
1,595
Not quite summer camp but close enough. At the time I lived in Weymouth England and got invited to a Karate camp in New York in early June. I had some free time and some money (dont have much of either now) so decided why not.

sadly was not a good experience. The focus of the camp seemed more about the social side rather than the martial art side. There were a few decent classes where someone incorporated bjj into some of the karate moves and a sparring class but most were simply put your gi on. Stand around and listen to these old fat guys talking for an hour. Take a photo for Facebook...rinse and repeat the whole day. But at night thats where people enjoyed it more...the drinking that went on was ridiculous. Everyone every night was off their faces drunk and fighting and acting obnoxious and running around naked and these were the instructors to...not my scene at all. Then of course all that drinking means lots of hangovers and that made the quality of the lessons suffer even more. The only plus side. I met a girl who thought the exact same thing of the camp so ended up training with her more and running together in the morning and sparring and drilling on our time off (just friends in case anyone thinks otherwise)

but yes terrible experience it was a week long camp. I left after 3 days Id had enough And the girl I met left that morning I did so I lost the only half decent training partner there. Got invited to plenty after never went again after that.
 
OP
_Simon_

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,092
Reaction score
2,507
Location
Australia
as i try to think about something worth while to write about for martial art camps i find so many good memories but so many were special to me and may not be so interesting to read about. for many years i attended George Mattsons Summer Uechi-Ryu camp. it started with me and my girl friend at the time (who also trained) with many of our class mates attending as well. it was such a good experience. i got to train with the greatest martial artists and met so many people. most people train at their own dojo and never get to widen their experience. without a doubt those times shaped and molded me into who i am and how i approach martial arts.
i think the biggest thing for me was the "times" 1990 thru the 2000's was a historic time for Uechi ryu in the U.S. i was there for....
  • the invention of the internet forums. Uechi-ryu had the first forum i ever new. anyone could log in and have a conversation with the masters. i believe it was Georges forum that introduced Rory Miller to the world and prompted him to write his book. i remember conversing with him and reading his posts before his book was out. you could also read college thesis level topics on martial arts. while its common now to Google things, in the 90"s information was hard to come by.
  • within American Uechi ryu i got to watch the top guys earn their "master" grades. i was around to see America go from 7th , 8th , 9th and now 10th degree grades. someday i can tell the next generation "i was there when ,,,so and so tested" the pride along with the controversy. there is always controversy when high ups are promoted.
  • there was a lot of fracturing of organizations. Kanei Uechi had passed and his son Kanmei stepped up to lead the family, again not without controversy. there were some groups including my own that were not supposed to attend training with other groups. i didnt follow that and always did what i wanted. it was interesting to see some long time friends leave and others buck the advise and show up any way wearing patches that would give away their clandestine activities. lots of politics.
  • MMA... while many were holding strong to their traditional roots others were embracing grappling and MMA. i got to train with some really good people. while i will never be anything more than a casual white belt in Grappling i did enough to know its a powerful art and incorporated what i learned into my own training.
i think my biggest take aways are no matter how good you think you are there are lots of people who are way better. some people are just so good its scary, as time passes these are the people who become giants. we tell the stories to our students and they think we are crazy.
there is no one correct way to do anything. one "master" will tell you its done like this and another will tell you no no its not like that, do it like this, and they are all correct.
Rank is an illusion. there is most certainly a pecking order and a marker of seniority. but even some 10th dans suck. for those on this forum who remember @Bill Mattocks ...."we all suck"
and last, its not the destination that matters its the journey.

Great read, thanks for posting! Yeah for sure, some events mean something special to us, even if trivial to others.

Sounds like a wild ride, I've certainly got an itch to travel interstate to do camps, would be such an adventure! Definitely aiming to one day fly up to California/Florida for some Winter/Spring Keiko training camps they have.

Politics can certainly (and have) sour the martial arts... but there are some amazing groups and organisations out there that treat other groups like family, and are so welcoming like to that. Even Kyokushin here, whilst heavily splintered and fragmented, are a real big family here in Aus, and all have been so welcoming (from what I've seen anyway!).

But yes, such an enriching experience, not only training with people from completely other styles and other dojos, but what it adds to your own martial arts journey and approach can be invaluable.
 
OP
_Simon_

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,092
Reaction score
2,507
Location
Australia
Not quite summer camp but close enough. At the time I lived in Weymouth England and got invited to a Karate camp in New York in early June. I had some free time and some money (dont have much of either now) so decided why not.

sadly was not a good experience. The focus of the camp seemed more about the social side rather than the martial art side. There were a few decent classes where someone incorporated bjj into some of the karate moves and a sparring class but most were simply put your gi on. Stand around and listen to these old fat guys talking for an hour. Take a photo for Facebook...rinse and repeat the whole day. But at night thats where people enjoyed it more...the drinking that went on was ridiculous. Everyone every night was off their faces drunk and fighting and acting obnoxious and running around naked and these were the instructors to...not my scene at all. Then of course all that drinking means lots of hangovers and that made the quality of the lessons suffer even more. The only plus side. I met a girl who thought the exact same thing of the camp so ended up training with her more and running together in the morning and sparring and drilling on our time off (just friends in case anyone thinks otherwise)

but yes terrible experience it was a week long camp. I left after 3 days Id had enough And the girl I met left that morning I did so I lost the only half decent training partner there. Got invited to plenty after never went again after that.

Ah man that sucks... wouldn't be my scene either at all. I would jump at the chance for a week long camp, but yeah I'd have to know what I'm getting into first.

And especially travelling from England all the way to NY! Damn that sucks...

At least some nice moments, but a week long of that wouldn't be nice. I didn't get along with alot of the people there (nothing unpleasant or negative, but just felt like we were from different worlds), but stuck with fellow dojo mates and others who I clicked with.
 
OP
_Simon_

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,092
Reaction score
2,507
Location
Australia
Actually booked for an online 2 hour training seminar tomorrow night with a different group, asked them first if it was okay I joined in and they said I was more than welcome. The Shihan taking the session I actually really admire and look up to, so will be an outsider there but why not, while we're in lockdown I'm going to take as many opportunities as I can get.

Nice to see such welcoming groups around!
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
12,476
Reaction score
9,600
Location
Maui
I always loved any kind of training camp. I'll get back to this later, I'm trying to finish getting this new fangled laptop set up.

And I'm losing.
 
OP
_Simon_

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,092
Reaction score
2,507
Location
Australia
This documentary is really cool, featuring the late Stan Schmidt Sensei, and I think both Geyer brothers, from 15:30 onwards it shows one of their gasshukus (training camps) out in the 'wild'.

It's a little cheesy at times and perhaps some scripting here and there haha, but I quite enjoyed it the whole thing still; a little glimpse into the intense training back in the day.

 
Top