Monday 23rd of July 2018
Winter Camp Moscow 2011 2011-01-20

When we arrived at the Moscow airport, we discovered that we had arrived at a completely new and modern terminal.
We were expecting a long wait for the clearence though customs and baggage-claim, but we discovered that the new and efficient terminal had processed us so fast that we even had to wait for Shihan Ivan for a few minutes.

We met up with the welcoming party led by Shihan Ivan and Sensei Karina and headed for the cars to take us to the camp.
Because the camp-site was on the other side of Moscow, we had to go through the dreaded Moscow-traffic! Our drivers picked out the route and we started out on a 2 hour long trip around Moscow. The camp site is only about 40 kilometres from the airport.
The traffic is intence here, and for us coming from the well behaved Swedish road-culture, it looked more like anarchy. We had competent drivers though and saw only one (!) accident, although it was quite serious.

We arrived at the Camp and after selecting our rooms (the camp seemed closed for the season), we settled in and then headed for a much needed dinner.
The camp site is big, and could easily accomodate a couple of hundred people. It is fully equipped with a large sport hall, saunas, outdoor soccer and basketball pitches.
I can only imagine having sparring sessions on the big lawns here, during summer!

Camp Day 1
First morning in Russia!
We woke up to a new layer of snow and about –15c, thank you Mother Nature. None of us are big fans of the cold, but we persevered and headed out for breakfast. During breakfast we noticed that the participants started coming in and there were lots of familiar faces.
After the sturdy breakfast and some cups of coffee, there was some time for Soke to meet up with Shihan Oleg Frolov.

Oleg Frolov 5th Dan, Ivan Titenkov 6th Dan, Soke 9th Dan, Jury Khrenov 6th Dan, Lars Utter 5th Dan

 The long awaited first training session was focused on techniques that students from all systems could practise. There were students from the four Tsu Shin Gen systems. It was an excellent warm-up session, led by Soke and Shihan Lars.
We were around 30 students at this session, but more people were still to arrive.

After lunch, Soke did his best to meet all the Instructors and student that wanted to have a word with him.

During the second training session for the day, Soke divided the group i two and shared his focus on both Mix Fight and Ashihara International Karate.
It was excellent for the author of this article to train with one of the Russian Nidans and get a feel for the Russian way of fighting!
The group of student had now increased to around 50 people with more to come. Some of the students attending the camp have a train ride of 2 days in each direction.


After dinner Soke made himself available for more of his students. What topped the meetings of was that Shihan Yury Khrenov 6th Dan came to visit Soke and to take part in the Winter Camp. Soke had not seen him for a couple of years.
To be in the same room as Soke and all these Shihans, including Shihan Lars, was quite surreal!
The evening training session was in the same format as the second, and the group was divided into two groups, one for the Karate and one for the Mix Fight. After training the students reluctantly headed for evening meal. Everybody wanted to train some more!

Soke ended the day with yet more talks with his Russian students.

Camp Day 2
Second day in Russia greated us with sunshine but still cold, though. The day followed the same format as the first day with fokus on finding the flow in the techniques from all 4 systems.

Soke being interviewd for Russian TV.

Sensei Karina having a little fun.
 All students attending the camp left each training session with big smiles on their faces. Soke and Shihan Lars are excellent Instructors and have a natural eye for what the students are doing wrong and what they can improve on.
 Camp Day 3

 Also the third day the sun shone on our Winter Camp.
This day also followed the format of the training sessions with food and meetings inbetween.
A couple of Instructors and Dojo Chiefs had questions regarding the Mix Fight tournament rules.
Soke called to a grand meeting with all present Country Representatives, Dojo Chiefs and Instructors. There was a lot of discussion regarding some of the rules but at the end Soke decided on the rules. However he does allow some small changes for local Tournament but for National and International Tournaments they have to follow the same rules. He then had a meeting with Sensei Evgeney Tolmachev who is planning a Tournament in Ukraine during the autumn.

The last session for the day was open for the students to practise the techniques they themselves wanted to practise especially those who were testing for new grades. Soke, the Shihans and myself were there to assist the students.
Soke is keen on interaction during a lesson with the students but most often this is not easy to obtain. At the end of every session Soke always asks if anyone has any questions but in this more informal training do dare to ask many questions.
This session was deliberately open for the students so that they should not feel the preasure of asking questions in front of the whole group. This type of session is greatly appreciated by all students!

 Camp Day 4

The last day of the camp one could feel that the tension was higher than before; most of the students had examinations for new grades.
The morning session had fokus on the individual examination techniques and the Instructors were there to assist.

After lunch it was time for the examination.
The students were divided up in four groups for the technical part, Ashihara International Karate, Kyokushin Karate, Mix Fight and Senshin Fighting Karate.
Shihan Yuri led the Kyokushin, Soke and Shihan Oleg the Ashihara, Shihans Ivan and Lars (with help from Soke) the Mix Fight and I helped with the Senshin Fighting Karate.
As the examination progressed, the students showed their best in each single combination.

The Mix Fight group was the last one to finish with their grappling drills (for the enterntainment for the rest of us, thank you, well done!)

After a short breather the stundents lined up for their sparring. Everyone showed a lot of heart and determination during the sparring and the 15 rounds went by quite swiftly (for us!).


 After a couple of minutes rest the students testing for Mix Fight, still had their grappling rounds to perform. All of them showed that they deserve their new grades!

At the end of examination, Soke congratulated the students for their achievment and that they had passed for their new grades.

Soke was especially impressed by the performance of Svetlana Slepova on the left. Her techniques and determination during the fighting were of the highest standard.
The Black Belt results from the camp are as follows:
Mikael Skorobogatov
Edvard klinov
Anatoly Negorozhin
Alexander Shiryaev
Svetlana Slepova
Alexander Sinerkin
Dmitry Kazantsev
Fyodor Fantikov
Mix Fight
Ashihara International Karate
Ashihara International Karate
Ashihara International Karate
Mix Fight
Mix Fight
Mix Fight
Mix Fight
 Result from Seminar in Sweden
 Oleg Popenko SHODAN Mix Fight
Reults from 19th December 2010
Damir Nurgaleev
Albert Muhametdinov
Alexander Parhomenko
Ashihara International Karate
Ashihara International Karate
Ashihara International Karate

The evening ended in a surprise for me and Shihan Lars. Our Russian Black Belt friends had organized a goodbye party and invited us along! It was very nice spending the last evening with all of them, and we hope to see all of them back next time!

After we had said goodbye to all the Shihans, the Instructors and students, Soke and I stayed on in Moscow for 2 days of sightseeing.

Sightseeing day 1

After we had closed up at the camp, Shihan Ivan took me and Soke to our next “home away from home”, a flat on the outskirts of Moscow.
The flat was at the top of a 14 floor high building with an excellent view over this part of town.

After we had settled in Shihan Ivan took us out to one of his Dojos, where we met up with some of his students and was given a tour of the place. The dojo is located very central and has excellent facilities.

As Shihan Ivan led his class, Soke and I went out for dinner. This was my first encounter with the “Moscow-rhythm” and I must say that I felt at home!
This part of town was just like any western European town with high-end shops, restaurants and bars. Me and Soke tried out a pizzeria and were gladly surprised over the excellent food and the price range. After some photos and hearty greetings, we went home to the flat for some well deserved rest.

Sightseeing day 2

Shihan Ivan picked us up in the morning and we went straight to central Moscow for some “real” sightseeing!

First of was a stop at Red Square in spite of the –15 C and strong wind. Neither I nor Soke are fans of cold weather but we endured the elements long enough to take lots of photos of the Cathedral and the Kremlin. Thanks Soke for your patience!


Shihan Ivan then took us for a much needed cup of coffee at a Mall on the side of the Red Square, and then it was off to the car again for a lunch-meeting with Oleg Openko.

As there was a bomb attack at a Moscow Airport the previous day, the security around the centre of Moscow was intense. The traffic in Moscow is mad on a regular basis, it was even worse now! We managed to arrive at the restaurant on time, but finding parking space was a different matter. We ended up having to walk for about 15 minutes to the restaurant. Oleg is an excellent host and the food at the Steak House was very good.

After the excellent and much appreciated lunch later, we headed out for some shopping.
As I have 2 sons back home, I felt the urge to bring back something nice for them. We had been given some tips regarding what shops to visit and started ticking of the list. Unfortunately we found the perfect store just as they were closing up, so we decided to come back the next day.

We spent the whole day with Shihan Ivan and Sensei Karina, who guided us around town. Although we mostly sat in the crazy and slow moving Moscow traffic, we had the opportunity to discuss lots of things and had many laughs.

Going home day

The final day me and Soke were all packed up when Shihan Ivan came to pick us up at the flat. First of all we headed out to pick Shihan’s daughter up at school and gave her a ride home. After picking up Sensei Karina we went to complete our shopping. The shopping mall was a great success, and we topped the shopping of with some lunch before heading for the train to the airport.

A small summary of my impressions from Moscow:

• The time it takes for a journey in Moscow can never be determined due to traffic intensity
• The roads in Moscow are greatly undersized for the amount of cars
• The Metro is spectacular and vast
• I have never seen so many exclusive cars, even some of the Police drive BMWs
• Nothing seems impossible in Russia
• One of the largest cities I´ve been to (20 million inhabitants!)
• The Red Square looks bigger on TV
• The Kremlin looks smaller on TV
• I wouldn´t mess with a russian cop
• I could move here! If it wasn´t for the cold winters...

Many thanks to Shihan Ivan and Sensei Karina for making our stay comfortable and rewarding! It was long ago I had so much fun, and felt this welcome.

I can´t wait for the next opportunity to visit them all again.

Sensei Jakob Beltowski


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David C. Cook, All rights reserved.