Monday 23rd of July 2018
Moscow Summer camp 2004 2004-06-06
Soke signing books.The idea of holding an International Summer Camp in Russia was brought up by Shihan Ivan Titenkov 5th Dan, when Soke Cook and myself, Daniel Palmred, were in Moscow in June 2003 for a training and grading camp. Soke Cook has made more then twenty trips to Russia, he first came in contact with them in February 1991.

Soke signing autographs I didn’t realise how big Soke Cook is in Russia. He has had an enormous influence on the Martial Arts in Russia. He signed autographs and people wanted to have their photos taken with him. At home we are a little bit spoiled because Soke has been living in Uppsala, Sweden for 30 years and we tend to take him for granted.

When I was asked in 2003 to go to Russia and teach Tsu Shin Gen with Soke Cook I did not hesitate, I had heard only good things about the Russians and especially Shihan Ivan Titenkov who is a close friend and student of Soke Cook.

My first impression on that trip was that they are good fighters and especially good and honest people. They showed their hospitality and opened their homes to us. We stayed that time with a family who’s son is a student of Shihan Ivan.


I had met some of them before at other camps in Europe and in Sweden. Unfortunately some of them are not with Shihan Ivan’s organisation anymore, which is sad .They have been lied to and cheated by persons without honesty. But they should know that the door is always opened.


We promised Shihan Ivan if they could arrange a camp in Russia then we would support them and Soke Cook and a bunch of Black Belts from Sweden would come, and we did, we were eight from Sweden, all instructors from different Dojos in Sweden. Soke Cook, Daniel Palmred, Lars Utter, Jessica Palmred and Butch Gürler from Uppsala, Tommy Thörneby and John Hero from Kinna and Mikael Forsman from Piteå.


Six months before the camp we started the preparations and applied for the visas. The people that were going were living in various parts of the country so it took time getting all passports and application forms from everybody. There were also some more people that would have liked to go but they had to work. So Soke made many telephone calls and two trips to the Russian Embassy in Stockholm to fix everything. Finally it was time to go.

When we arrived at Arlanda Airport they showed on the news that two planes had crashed in Russia, we didn’t know if it was an accident or a terrorist attack. When we arrived in Moscow they said that it had been a terrorist attack, it had already happened, there wasn’t anything we could do about it. Shihan Ivan and his friends met us at the gate. It was really good seeing him again and the translator that was with us the last time was also there. They had reserved a mini bus for us and we were on our way to the hotel.


The traffic was hectic and the team from Sweden who had not been to Russia before were harassing the translator and she had to explain and talk about every single building between the airport and the hotel the trip took hours! The Russians are a very proud people and she was more than willing educating us in Russian history.

We went to the hotel in Moscow; it was the same hotel that we stayed at last time we were there. The next day we went by car and mini bus to the camp they said that it was not far. Ya right! It was a trip that took a couple of hours when the traffic is calm, and it wasn’t.

Soke Cook went by another car and we lost them. We pulled over and waited for them and after a while they came, they had been to a coffee house, those of you who know Swedes, also know that they like their coffee.
Now we were near the camp. The first thing we saw was a big fence and a gate with hammer and sickle, the old Soviet Union symbol. The camp was held at a former Soviet Union athletics facility. The first man I saw was Alexander Shtoporov, a really cool guy who now lives in St: Petersburg with his wife. I first meet him at a camp in Sweden when we were testing for Nidan. He is really tough. After the gruelling test and 40 fights, he got in his car and drove home to Russia. You have our respect Alexander!

There were people from Rumania, Azerbaijan, and several regions from the Russian Federation. After a small meeting out in the yard we went to our room. There were four beds in each room. After dinner we changed cloths and went to the Dojo, it was only 300 meters to the Dojo. When I saw the floor, I noted that it was a hard wooden floor. I have been training on Judo mats for over 10 years, so I was a little worried, but it went really well. I talked to the guys from Rumania and they told me that they did throws and takedown and grappling on concrete floor. How cool is that?.

There were a lot of Black Belts, Shihan Ivan had arranged a really good camp, and we were over 60 people and approximately 30-40 Black Belts.
The training was good and hard, Shihan Ivan held the morning training outdoors. Soke Cook taught in the “hard” hall. We went through a lot of techniques and the Fighting Drills for the higher grades. I was in charge of the grappling in the “soft” hall together with Sensei Lars and our Sempais. Some of the students had never done any grappling before but they were really fast learners. We taught them the first two TSG Grappling Drills.

We had two meetings in the evening end we told them about our plans for the organisation and we showed them our first DVD Instruction film and they liked it. We also informed them about our new tournament rules AFC (Allround Fighting Competition). Shihan Ivan informed us of their problems in Russia and told us about a conflict that had separated people who had been friends for many years. All this is very sad and has been caused by the interference of an Instructor from Holland. We hope that we can help them in the best way we can.

The camp was a great success, all thanks to Shihan Ivan and his students. On the last two days there was a Dan grading. All fought very hard, the fighters from Russia are really good Budo-ka. I was especially impressed by the guys from Rumania that did a Tsu Shin Gen test exactly as we do it at home, with the new Grappling Drills and the fighting with punches to the head and takedowns. Their Sensei, Mircea Carlagonu, has done a really good job with them. In the evening there was a party and dinner.

And the next morning we left the camp. When a camp is over you always feel a little bit empty, you don’t want it to end and you know that it will take a while before we all meet again.

The way back to Moscow went much better until we all needed coffee, we pulled the cars over and crossed the freeway by foot to the same coffee house that Soke went to on our way to the camp.


There was heavy traffic and we all run across the road between cars, which were going around 100 miles per hour. But the coffee was good.

When we arrived to the hotel we were all very hungry and all of us had lost a couple of kilos weight. We went out for dinner and the food has never tasted so good. We soon discovered that the kitchen staff spoke Turkish and Sempai Butch, who also speaks Turkish, from that moment on ordered all the food.

The next day we went sightseeing with Shihan Ivan and the translator, we saw some of the fantastic subways in Moscow and on this day there was a new terrorist attack at one of the subway stations that we had been to. We also saw Freedom Park and the Red Square.

Later on that day we met some other friends from Sweden who live in Moscow and one of them owns “Restaurant Scandinavia” where we had our lunch and the food was great.

The next day it was time for departure we were driven to the Airport and the security there were high. At the Airport they told us that a terrorists group has taken hostages at a school in a southern region in Russia. As you all know this turned into a terrible tragedy.

When we arrived home the Piteå newspaper contacted me to ask me about the situation in Moscow and if we had seen, or heard anything.

The trip to Russia was one of my best memories that year, I would like to thank Shihan Ivan Titenkov and all our Russian friends and I hope to see you soon. I would also like to thank John Hero that documented the trip for us with his extensive photography.

There are already plans for another camp in Russia in August 2005. The Swedish Summer Camp will be at the beginning of July in Uppsala and there will also be a training camp in Rumania during 2005.
 Sensei Daniel Palmred
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David C. Cook, All rights reserved.