This is the 9th year that I have conducted a Gasshuku in Paradise. After the tragic death of Sensei Geoff Pickup, I promised his wife Ahel that I would keep his legacy going and support her.
Each year there are more people attending, I like to keep the numbers down to around 30 so everyone gets individual teaching and corrective training. Gi bottoms and t/shirt are all you need as there are no distinctions between people and what grade they are.
Training schedule is 5 hours a day, the training is 2 hours and 30 minutes 10-12.30pm and 5-7.30pm as the mid - day temperature can reach 37-42°C and there is no air conditioning. One must consume at least 5 liters of water a day. At lunch time everyone is treated to a fresh fruit lunch consisting of Mango, Dragon Fruit, Pineapple, Red and Yellow Watermelon and Papaya which replenishes lost vitamins and minerals.
Morning training is based on stamina and endurance, starting with a stringent warm up, and which includes Impact work methodologies and combinations, the evening training is about corrective training in basics and Kata and bunkai, but it not all about training. After training in the morning we all chill out in the swimming pool and have lunch together in the resort which serves Thai and European food, and then we go down to the beach for an hour massage, after training in the evening we all meet and have dinner together, so you get to know everyone, which is quite unique, which in turn creates future communications and friendship.
When the Gasshuku is finished we celebrate the end with a good bye party, and my friend Anne who owns a Bar prepares Food that you could not finish because there is so much, the comments that were echoed was very delicious and such a variety, there was Shark, Tiger Prawns that were as long as a ruler, Thai Curry, different rice dishes and fish as big as a dinner plate.
As the Gasshuku concluded there was an examination for 3 people who would attempt to pass their grade, after they completed the curriculum which was 2 hours and 30 minutes, I am proud of all there efforts so at the good bye party I announced the results.
David Mc Naught from Singapore has been training for 17 years, he is a very strong person, and his character is refined and polite, over the week he trained diligently, so I was proud to announce his success Shodan pass.
Sensei Richard Lovett 5th Dan pass, my comments was for a 68 year old man you gave it your best and after a week of enduring and grueling training and the upmost loyalty I am proud to announce your success.
Sensei Dave Amber, 5th Dan pass, this was very emotional not only for me but for all the group, as I spoke about this man’s journey through his life and career tears filled our eyes. Two years ago he was diagnosed with Bowl Cancer and after a year of treatment he was cleared, and came back to training and worked hard on Endurance and Kata plus Bunkai. I have seen the emotion and apprehension in this man’s eyes and body language, he is credit to me.
My special thanks to Sensei Gavin Hill from Australia and Sensei Henrik Jørgensen from Denmark for their assistance in making this Gasshuku a complete success, and look forward to 2016 training in Paradise Koh Samui, Thailand.
Chief Instructor OTGKA