Thursday 24th of August 2017
 
Swedish Summercamp 2006 2006-07-04

Arrival at the Camp
On Wednesday June 28th eager students, including many Black Belts, gathered in the Swedish city of Norrköping. Participants from all the Tsu Shin Gen Dojos in Sweden were there. We were also honoured by the presence of Shihan Ivan Titenkov 5th Dan and Sensei German Stasenko 3rd Dan from Russia. Mr “Peter” from Nautilus Gym had arranged superb facilities for the camp with a big Dojo and living quarters directly in conjunction with the Dojo. The participants quickly installed themselves on airbeds, some manually inflating them and others by the press of a button on the integrated airbed-pump. Finally the ‘Airbed-God’ decided to be nice to Sempai Burch from Uppsala, after 3 or 4 punctures and 2 trips to the sports store for a new airbed. We were all happy on behalf of the sports store that there was not any need for a 3rd trip.

 

The training sessions
The T-shirt modelsSoke David Cook had set up a 3 sessions a day schedule with the first session starting right after our arrival at the camp at 15:00. The training schedule for the rest of the camp was 10.00 for the morning session, 14.00 for the afternoon session and 19.30 for the evening session. Since Soke Cook earlier this year had already held 2 seminars focusing on the Tsu Shin Gen Grappling Drills and Fighting Drills respectively, this camp would for obvious reasons focus on the Tsu Shin Gen Fighting Combinations.

The sessions were held in a Dojo which is mostly used as a dance studio; thankfully the studio was equipped with a high ceiling, good ventilation and windows that we could open. This was great because the weather had decided to turn into a blistering hot summer, we were all happy for this but we had to drink vast amounts of water.
Shihan Ivan & Sensei German  Sempai Tommy 
Fighting Combinations
With the aid of Sensei Forsman and Sensei Utter the participants were throughout the camp shown and coached through a number of combinations and techniques. Soke Cook was very thorough breaking down the various combinations into components, pointing out details that for many of the students had to be explained because the naked eye was not able to see them. For example when asked, even Soke Cook sometimes had to stop and think what it was that made him position himself or the Uke the way he did. For me it really shows how much there is to learn. When you start doing things without knowing you are doing them, then you have been around for a time.
Soke teaching kimura.   Sensei Micke and Sensei German

One thing that was emphasized more than once was “broken rhythm”, when shown and explained (at least for the author, 8 Kyu) many things fell into place. The combination should be executed in a way that reflects what happens in reality and not just be swiftly executed in a nice steady rhythm. For example a combination consisting of 4 techniques does not necessarily have to be performed in a steady rhythm but can be performed as a 2+2 technique combination with the first 2 techniques setting up the opponent for the next 2 techniques.
For low graded student (as myself) it is easy to read the Grading Syllabus and see what is written, but to have the author of the combinations explain the finer details and demonstrate them really opened up my mind, raising my understanding to new a new level. I am sure I was not the only one feeling this way.

 

Discussions and various topics
Sensei German replacing some calories outside the hotel.Throughout the whole camp Soke Cook took the opportunity to bring several topics up for discussions with the participants. One topic that was given some extra time was the new law governing Martial Arts and Boxing which is being introduced in Sweden and how it would affect TSG in the future and especially our AFC Tournaments. Another topic was the future format of Kyu and Dan Gradings. Soke Cook informed us how future Grading will be conducted and in particular the rounds of sparring (author shall not attempt to explain it in detail). At the camp there were 3 persons scheduled for a Shodan grading (black belt, 1st Dan) so there were some time devoted to discussing the changes in order for them to know what to expect.

Shodan Grading – Day 1
The technical part included the Fighting Combinations for Shodan, some were easily recognized from the previous training sessions at the camp, as well as 2 full sets of Fighting Drills. Recently Soke Cook decided that each combination of each Drill is to be performed 10 times, that is 160 repetitions (2 drills for Shodan) without counting the Drill in free fighting form. It was a real test of not only the contenders’ general stamina but also their “head” as the physical exhaustion drains the mind and you have to rely how far down these Drills are anchored in your spine. All 3 did a terrific job keeping it together through the whole test!!

 

Tobi hiza geri   Sensei Lars demonstrating Mae Hiza Geri
After the Drills the contenders were put through the 3 minute Self-defence Drill and their 8 rounds of Grappling. All 3 came through the Self-defence Drill without any problems although they were put under pressure and the people watching were given a display of techniques including throws, takedowns strikes and kicks.
A confused author...   An enlightened author...
Shodan Grading – Day 2
One of the things decided by Soke Cook was that there would be no Nidans or over participating in the fighting. So when we gathered for the Kumite part of the test on Sunday morning we suddenly saw 4 new white belts in the Dojo. For some reason they all looked very similar to Sensei Micke, Sensei Lars, Sensei Emil and Sempai Tommy. Soke was very amused and told them that they could keep their new grades!

The 30 rounds of fighting were technical but tough and quite a few rounds were in a high tempo. All three contenders showed good skill and spirit in the unusually high temperature.
Stefan Erikson performing ushiro geri.  Jakob Beltowski performing a takedown.  Jakob Beltowski performing a fighting drill.
Stefan Eriksson during shodan fighting.  Jakob Beltowski during shodan fighting.  Mikael Fondin during shodan fighting. 

Training camp bonus
Soke with the newly his newly promoted Senseis and Shihans.Not only did we get to see our 3 contenders being awarded their Shodans after the fighting but Soke Cook also had a few surprises for everyone during the ceremony.

We were to witness some promotions to very high grades.

First to be called up was Shihan Titenkov from Moscow who was awarded 6th Dan which is a very unusual and high grade within TSG. To be there and witness this first hand was an honour. Then it was the turn of Sensei Stasenko who was awarded his 4th Dan. They were both very surprised and they had no idea that this was the reason that Soke had insisted that they attend this camp.

Then it was the turn of Sensei Micke, Sensei Lars and Sensei Daniel (who was not there as he is training in Thailand) who were awarded the grade of 4th Dan! You could tell that this was as much of a surprise as a shock to them judging from the smiles on their faces. By the reactions of the crowd you could also tell that they felt that these grades were well earned.

This was a fantastic way to finish of the camp and everyone felt that they had been privileged to witness such a ceremony.

 

Soke with the newly promoted shodan dan-grades. 
 Lars Haglund-McKie
 
 
 
 
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David C. Cook, All rights reserved.