Karate course in Holland - Easter 2011

Following the success of several years of small group visits to Holland, for both Karate courses and to appreciate the real Holland. This year was planned to be a step up in both numbers attending and the duration of the training.

Day 1. The main party left Portchester in the morning of Wednesday 20th April with a tight timescale for getting to Dover to catch the midday ferry to Dunkirk. All went to plan and with no hic cups we boarded on schedule. The advance party had opted to fly with Flybe from Southampton airport.

Even Kumar, the juniors mascot, took a turn at the wheel. The weather started and stayed perfect for the complete course

 Day 2. The first day of training was scheduled for the evening and this gave the party the day time to enjoy the sunshine and look around. Naturally there was a group who wanted to explore the fantastic country side with all the canels and windmills etc. The best way to do that was of course on bicycles.

Lined up ready for the start


The evening training session was between 7 and 9pm. One of Sensei O'Donnell's objective's for the course was to develop the kata "Meikyo" through the process of combinations and associated bunkai. Nigel Hoskins also played a major role in the course in the area of restraint and control techniques.

Day 3. Training on this day was to be at Sensei Biaggio Ridolfo's Dojo in Den Bosch, located towards the East on the country. Arnhem, Nijmegan and Oosterbeek, of second World War fame and the film "A Bridge too far" are also to the East and so it was planned to visit these locations prior to training in the evening.

Arnhem Bridge - the bridge too far.


Oosterbeek Museum




Oosterbeek War Graves Cemetry


It was a very hot day with temperatures in the low 30's and having spent much of the day in car's or walking, the group were not in the best frame of mind for a training session.  The scheduled class was from 9 till 10.30. However having arrived early, the group were asked if they would like to also join in with the earlier class of 7.30 till 9. To the group's credit and that of Portchester Karate Club and SEKU, they all said yes and trained to a commendable standard and displayed the "right attitude,effort and spirit. All said it was strange at first being taught by an Italian speaking in a mixture of Dutch, Japanese and English. However the Portchester visitors quickly recognised the standard Japanese terminology and all was well.

Most of the Portchester members are at the far end of the picture.



Mick Bennetta with Mustaffa (One of Sensei Biaggio's top competitor students)


Portchester members with the senior class members.


After the two sessions and having sweated what seemed like pints, Sensei O'Donnell treated all to a Mac Donalds meal and drinks. Then it was off on the relatively short drive back to Gouda to catch some sleep and be at the dojo for a 9am start.

Day 4. Being a Saturday it was planned to keep the evening free. It was in fact Elliott's 18th birthday on this day and so all plans revolved around his surprise 18th birthday party.

The two hour training session extended further the combinations from Meikyo and possible Bunkai interpretations. Sensei O'Donnell is a keen believer in interpreting kata (particularly the more senior ones) on a basis of minimum warning time and as natural a mind and body reaction as possible. With this approach all the students were quickly able to develop a reasonable level of competance and understanding. Apart from Meikyo various other kata were revised.

Rutger (Gouda club) caught performing a Jodan Mawashi Geri kick


Michael and Jack performing Empi   Robert performing Hungetsu


Jack (Gouda) diving to the side to avoid a kick from Michael (Portchester).


Jeroen (Gouda) being blocked by Elliott (Portchester)


Zeno (Gouda) paired up with Michael (Portchester)


After training the party split into three groups. The younger set were desperate to cool off in the local outdoor swimming pool. Whilst the sightseeing party went by train to Amsterdam to see the sights!

This left Gael to do the preparations in secret for Elliott's birthday party. Rob led the fourth group (consisting of himself) in chilling out reading a book.

An Easter Saturday in Amsterdam    



A cooler way to travel


Elliotts 18th Party

Gael with part of the great meal she had prepared for the party.


Elliott sampling his first beer - ever! The significance of the tea bag was lost on the group.


Day 5. The final day of the course was spent on putting together all the various combimations that had been practiced and giving the overall combination a name - Meikyo. Apart from the kata practice the students also practiced the various applications strung together as a long fight sequence. Sensei O'Donnell emphassised that the purpose of the bunkai is no more than to condition our reactions so that we improve our ability to respond to being attacked in an appropriate manner. 

Nigel developed further the restraint training that was started earlier in the course and this was enthusiastically followed by the students.

Nigel demonstrating restraint techniques.


Course members


Planning is now underway for developing a larger course next year.

More pictures will be available soon in the gallery section

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Karate Day time lessons

Daytime Karate lessons are now being held on Thursday mornings at the Castle St, Portchester,  Day Centre. For further information please ring 07713284430 or email mvodonnell@portchesterkarate.co.uk

These classes are for a range of people with varying abilities and in particular for the older and fairly active person that would like to benefit from the health aspects of practicing Karate and at the same time exercising their minds in the learning of new skills.

Existing students of Karate are also catered for in the lessons. In particular those on shift work and others that cannot get to their regular training lessons.

Further information

For the Portchester Karate Club and clubs in other areas or different training times, please email modonnell@portchesterkarate.co.uk or telephone 07713284430.

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