Gasshuku 2014 is just four weeks away!

This is not aimed at anyone specific but towards all seniors in general (brown & black belts) and those working towards senior level.

There is something that I want everyone to be clear on. Unless there are very specific and unusual circumstances, your presence is expected at the Gasshuku – as far as I am concerned, it is part of your role and responsibility of being a senior in Seitou Ryu. If you are a brown or black belt, you should be there. It really is that simple.

Furthermore, the Gasshuku is a weekend course. Again, exceptional circumstances might dictate that you can not make all of it, but that really should be exceptional. We don’t really want seniors turning up for a day, one afternoon, etc. what we want is for you to arrive on Saturday morning, and leave on Sunday afternoon. That is what we want, and what we expect of you.

The spirit and camaraderie of Seitou Ryu is something I am extremely proud of, and we all benefit from it. The Gasshuku sits at the heart of that camaraderie because it is forged through joint toil, joint hardship, shared pain, shared failures and joint successes. Turning up for just part of the weekend event is bad for the group.I’ve heard some people say that they’re not going to the Gasshuku because there’s no point as they’re not testing. This is the wrong attitude to have and certainly not the attitude I would accept from a senior.

We are a club that supports each other. I’m sure every brown and black belt can remember just how much their fellow students and the rest of the club rallied behind them to support them in their tests. We can all remember those who supported us during that time, and also those who didn’t. It’s a two way street guys. You can’t expect others to support you if you don’t support them in return. It’s selfish, plain and simple.

What if you were the only one testing for your grade and no other senior was testing either and they all decided not to come along? How would that make you feel? Not good right? Well when you make the choice (and it is a choice) not to attend and support your karate brothers and sisters in their hardships that is what they’re feeling too. They might not say anything to you, but they do notice.

Steve Rowe really hit the nail on the head when he wrote this recently on Facebook:

“Instructors notice when you don’t do the training you’re supposed to. They might not say anything , but you won’t get the support that the more honourable people do. Most selfish people miss this point entirely and accuse others of being ‘favoured’ or sometimes think that something is ‘missing’.. When you feel that way try looking at what you haven’t done before you blame others. If you want a good friend, try being one. If you want a good Instructor, try being a good student. If you want good students, try being a good Instructor.”

The date for the Gasshuku has been in your diary since January, it’s always been the same time of year for the last 7 years (on or around the first or second weekend in July) and the price is less than last year too so you are expected so excuses should be very thin on the ground.

I’m sure some of you are wondering if I am posting this because of low attendance this year. Not at all! We actually have similar numbers attending as last year, slightly more in fact. We have 2 people taking their mock test for Shodan (1st Dan) and 3 attempting Nidan (2nd Dan) which is quite a big event as the last time anyone took the Nidan test was 3 years ago, which goes to show how difficult it is to qualify for. It’s a very challenging test both physically and mentally, one that takes a lot of preparation.

I am posting this as a reflection of what you are all already doing. We know that the vast majority of you see it this way but think that verbalising it in this way helps put it in context for some of the newer members and lower grades. Its not really fair to have expectations of people if you never state what those expectations are…

See you there on the mat very soon…



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