City: Pushkinsky, Moscow Region
Chief Instructor: Kancho David C Cook 9th Dan
Assistant Instructors: Shihan Ivan Titenkov 6th Dan,
Shihan Mikael Forsman 5th Dan, Sensei Lars Utter 4th Dan
This year’s journey to the annual Russian Summer Camp started very early on a Thursday morning. Kancho David C Cook and I headed towards Arlanda airport to meet up with the other assistant instructor Shihan Mikael Forsman who had already arrived at the airport from the north of Sweden earlier that morning. It is not very often we get to meet all three of us so when I saw Shihan Mikael at the airport I got even more excited about this year’s trip to Russia in the company of my very good friends.
The flight went smoothly and we didn’t encounter any problems at all with customs, visas or lost luggage. For me it had been 3 years since my last visit to Russia but everything seemed to be like it was when I said goodbye to my Russian friends the last time around. This time the only difference I spotted when Shihan Ivan greeted us was that he had been training hard and lost a few kilos since I saw him last time.
Shihan Ivan and Sempai Alexey drove us from the airport directly to the location of the Summer Camp which also was the place we would live at for the next 5 days.
The first training session began early the morning after we arrived. We split the group into 4 groups, all representing each of our four systems that we have in our organisation, Mixed Martial Art, Ashihara International Karate, Kyokushin Karate and Senshin Karate. Since this first training took place outdoors we all did fighting combinations for each system and of course no grappling or takedowns were performed.
Apart from the Kyu grades there were around 25 Black Belts who attended the camp. Some these people have to travel 24 and up to 36 hours on a train in each direction to attend the camp. This is a sign of how interested they are to learn and all of them think that it is time well spent.
As the day went on so did all the training classes and as we progressed throughout of the day we managed to have our first meeting with one of Kancho’s students that would soon become one of his Country Representatives for one of our four systems. A few months before this journey started, Kancho had already decided to give Shihan Titenkov a bit of relief and distribute the burden Shihan Titenkov has had to deal with for some time now. It is not an easy task for only one man to run 4 sections in one big organisation, in such a big country and Shihan Titenkov has done tremendous job for TSG International. The task that has been a one man job is now divided into four sections which all have an assigned Country Representative.
These four people and the system they represent are:
TSG - Mixed Martial Art (MMA) - Shihan Ivan Titenkov
TSG - Ashihara Karate - Oleg Frolov
TSG - Kyokushin Karate - Stanislav Fomin
TSG - Senshin Fighting Karate - Germund Stasenko
This action that has been taken will help our organisation to grow and now, each one of the representatives can focus and develop the one system they are responsible for. They will of course work together in their striving to expand the organisation but each section will also function as a sole section by itself.
The development of the Black Belt test has become even more technically challenging for those people testing. The 15 man fighting was really fun to watch as everyone now starts of in a much higher tempo which does not seem to decrease as the rounds go on. When we had 30, 40 and 50 man sparring the first 10 or more rounds were always performed soft and a low tempo which is now prevented by the reduction of rounds. Also that controlled punches to the head are now allowed makes the fighting more of a challenge. The quality of the fighting has become much better now.
Everyone that tested this time around passed their test and we had the pleasure of awarding the following people with their new grade:
Sergey Bezrukov 2nd Dan TSG - Mixed Martial Art
Evgeny Tolmachev 2nd Dan TSG - Mixed Martial Art
Anatoly Negoriozhin 2nd Dan TSG - Mixed Martial Art
Roman Tsarinov 2nd Dan TSG - Ashihara International Karate
Veniamin Kashin 2nd Dan TSG - Ashihara International Karate
Also Kancho promoted three of his students to 5th Dan. This also means that our organisation now has three new Shihans! Big congratulations to them!
Oleg Frolov 5th Dan TSG - Ashihara International Karate
Stanislav Fomin 5th Dan TSG - Kyokushin Karate
German Stasenko 5th Dan TSG - Senshin Fighting Karate
When we returned to Moscow we did some sightseeing and Shihan Ivan showed us the park where he holds outdoor summer training and also some small Tournaments. Shihan Ivan also presented us to Professor Oleg Sergeevich who is the man responsible for the park.
In another beautiful park we saw an interesting thing! It was a Russian Tradition where newly married couples travel to the park, write their names on a padlock and hang it on the railing on a small footbridge as a token of their love and commitment to each other. In this park there also was a very big and beautiful stable complex with a music pavilion. In front of the pavilion there was a pair of copies of an impressive pair of iron statue of horse tamers by the famous Pyotr Klodt from the year of 1846.
It´s great that Shihan Ivan takes the time to let us have some sightseeing and see something else than the camp. It´s nice break from summer camp.
In the evening we met up with our friend Oleg Popenko who invited us for dinner at Goodman, a very good Steak House. The quality of some of the restaurants in Moscow is now very high and we all enjoyed the meal. We arranged to meet the next day at the Dojo Kodokan where Shihan Ivan teaches.
At Kodokan we held a photo session for Oleg and some of the other instructors that were in the Dojo. After a while Sergei Kosorotov, the owner of the Dojo, came with a special guest book for Kancho to sign. He also invited Kancho to hold a seminar at Kodokan in the near future.
We also visited the Dojo of Shihan Fomin. The name of the dojo is Senshin Dojo and it is a curious coincidence considering the name of TSG Senshin Karate. In the Dojo the four Country Representatives had a first meeting for starting cooperating. Hopefully there will be many more satisfactory meetings in the near future. A special thank to Shihan Stanislav for arranging an educated translator. Even though Karina does her best we really need a professional who can explain the deeper meanings to avoid misunderstandings.
We visited Teaposy and meet up with Igor Karaev, his wife and new business partner. It was nice to meet Igor and Kancho thanked him for all the help earlier. The shop was undergoing renovation and hopefully the next time we come to Moscow we will see the finished results.
In the evening we once again met up with Oleg Popenkoand we went to one of my favourite restaurants, the Shanti. The restaurant has a Tibetan theme and there is a room with genuine Tibetan antics. The atmosphere in the restaurant is fantastic and the food is really good. As we were eating one of Shihan Ivan’s friends come by and said hello, but it was a short visit and we did not get the time to talk with him.
It is always sad to say goodbye to such good friends and i have had a really good time during my visit. I am very glad that I’ve made some new friends and I hope that I will see them the next time I am in Russia, hopefully not in a too distant future.
Until then.... train hard, fight easy!
OSU // Sensei Lars