Martial tales...

I'm not known for being an instructor who's easy to please - ask my students. I drill techniques, explaining detail and purpose - and this often frustrates students. But, you know, they stick with it because they want it to be right....they want to shine. I'm not too hard on the lower grades or the very young - I want them to enjoy the art; to enjoy acquiring new skills. But when they've absorbed the basics and know that there is more to it, it's my job to develop them to the very best of their ability - on an individual basis. The really rewarding thing is their response - they rise to the challenge and when they come back, having worked on the detail they've been given, I can take them up a gear. The understanding takes longer in some than others, but they all deserve that feed....the feed that leads to a sense of achievement for them.

Yes, this can be frustrating for me sometimes, but it's my duty to meet the needs of the individual - finding the way that each student learns; watching how their body moves and issuing change that best works for them. This is not a belt factory - a 'one size fits all' approach - and none of our instructors are looking for an easy life! I don't want students 'rushed' through grades, promoted beyond their capabilities or understanding. I want every student to be able to stand alongside their peers in any TSD group and be able to hold their own - never to feel 'unworthy' or any less able than the others with them. So their progress will be steady and strong. When they get to Black Belt, it will be by their hard work and tenacity - and it will show. I'm proud of every one of our students that keep plugging away, working hard and waiting for the rewards. Tang Soo!

It's been a while. I last blogged in October and life has sped by since then. A lot of my time has been taken up with the illness and recent demise of my dear Uncle Arthur - time that I would not have spent in any other way...family first. But, while personal issues pressed, the ATMA ploughed on.

Laura and Alastair led a team to the USA to compete in GM Giacobbe's tournament there, managing to incorporate some great visits, not least to New York! They brought back a great haul of trophies and made some pretty good memories as well.

We've had a couple of great Gup gradings and a Dan grading and our classes continue to grow, with students working hard towards their goals. It's great to watch our students achieve - doing things that many would never have thought possible....and that's very rewarding for instructors.

We brought the year to a close with the usual mayhem at the ATMA Christmas Party, where Laura read the inevitable Christmas story while Alastair and I showered children with various foodstuffs! They had, however, made us instructors into snowmen and Christmas trees earlier in the evening...revenge is sweet.

And so into 2016. This is our tenth year of the ATMA and we are planning an end of year celebration to mark the occasion. I recall someone saying that we wouldn't last 3 months but here we are, 10 years down the line - going from strength to strength and having a ball in the process. Guess they got that one wrong....

Thanks for being with us, thanks for reading my waffling...now let's go make some more memories.

Here at Atma Karate, we study the art of Tang Soo Do and the tales of the origin of the art vary according to whom you are speaking. Views range from it having its roots in the Shotokan system, through to it having nothing to do with Japanese arts whatsoever and its content being entirely Chinese or Korean.
It's not important. What we have is a great system, created by a man that I admire greatly, Hwang Kee.
I once stumbled upon the transcript of the meeting of the Kwans, where General Choi was pushing everyone toward the 'new' system of Tae Kwon Do - something that could be called 'entirely Korean'. Hwang Kee was the one who stood his ground and fought for the system he had - Japanese style, Chinese style or whatever. He believed strongly enough in the system and fought to preserve it and the transcripts show that he was heavily ostracised for it, given the feelings running between Korea and Japan at that time. His belief and his stubbornness allowed our art to survive - and I thank him for that. Tang Soo!

How did it get to Thursday already?

I've had a fabulous few days. On top of packed classes, Saturday saw our quarterly gradings for the ATMA. Not big numbers, but students don't go for these unless they're really ready - and lots have been enjoying the summer months....as they should! But they know that they're not going to get in without the requisite training time - and they're enjoying the journey. Not all were successful, but they'll come back stronger, with lessons learned. Well done to everyone for a great effort and congratulations to those who passed.
Sunday saw the arrival of GM Dominick Giacobbe, 9th Dan, Tang Soo Do from the USA. His visits are always a treat and what he doesn't know about our art isn't worth knowing. He's been training in the art for almost 50 years now and was in there with the founders and senior students right from his beginnings. As well as the great traditional physical training he takes us through, he imparts theory, anecdotes and history throughout and we look forward to his visits every time. Sunday afternoon, he visited with MasterLina Rodriguez and Master Zoe Rossborough and their group for a great seminar and a later stroll around Stratford upon Avon and dinner. Monday, we were honoured to have him take our T'ai Chi class, followed by a seminar for Atma Karate in the evening, where yet more learning was absorbed! Tuesday, I drove GM down to meet Master John Trudgill in South Wales, enjoying a nice lunch, before leaving him in the hands of our Welsh friends for further seminars and testings. GM always leaves us inspired....Tang Soo!

Now.....back to those busy, busy classes and preparation for our forthcoming tournaments in Manchester - then the USA! Life is good.....x

...and I get all my best energies and thoughts when it's late. I know I should go to bed, but the ideas start to flow, I want to start firing off messages, texts and emails to people and to start researching random stuff on the ether...but, instead, I start to make lists. And that's where it falls down...

I hate lists. You always put things on there that don't really need to be on a list - I should know when  and where my classes are by now - and I end up with a long list that will never get fully ticked off. So....I start a new list for the following day - beginning with all the things that I didn't tick off from the previous day...all those things that didn't need to be on a list anyway. 

And, after a few weeks or months of making lists and seeing the same things on there, the things that never seem to get done, you finally get it. If they were that damned important, they would have been done long ago. All you are doing is creating unnecessary pressure in looking like you have loads to do, when they're actually not that critical.

So I stopped it. Just like that. I stopped making lists. Stupid, long lists of stupid, unnecessary things that were either never going to get done or were things that I would do of routine anyway. No pressure. Simples....

I also replaced the word 'need' with 'want' or 'would like'. So, instead of the internal pressure caused by the opening of 'I need to...', I now use 'I want to...' or, 'I would like to...' making the whole task a positive experience!

It's true - you got 99 problems and 98 of 'em are just in your head. Or on a list....

Latest comments

05.05 | 17:29

Hi. Classes are £5, on a pay per class basis.

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05.05 | 09:57

Thank you for your reply, how much is each adult class?

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05.05 | 08:02

Hi Chris. Thank you for your enquiry. I think he'd enjoy the adult class more - there are plenty of teenagers in there!

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04.05 | 17:09

Good afternoon, my 13 year old son is interested in coming along to your Redditch Oakhill class, at his age would be come along to the children's or adult class

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