Note from Editor:
Even though I was not present during this year’s Kenpo Camp in Ireland I am very pleased to have guest writers Ali Thomas and Amy Strader along with our own Kenpo Woman, Barb White add input and insight to such an educational and uplifting event. One of the main reasons that this webpage was created is to encourage women alike to attend seminars, get involved and achieve the goals they set out to accomplish, these women are prime examples of this and I thank you for your service to Kenpo.
European Kenpo Camp 2013
What did you miss Ms.?
This weekend was more than I expected. Not just because the sun made an appearance (although that was a wonderful bonus!) but everything was so well organized. So I offer my congratulations to Mr. Downey and everyone involved, it was a truly inspiratonal and exciting camp. Thank you also to Mrs.White for her invitation to write this blog. I hope that everyone who reads it gets a sense of how much fun I had and that they will put this in their diary for next year.
Mount Wolseley Hotel in Carlow is set in a beautiful location and luckily for me it’s just a short drive from home. I arrived early on Saturday morning. The staff were charming and although check-in is usually at 3pm, my room was made available to me immediately. The room was tastefully decorated, there was nothing out of place and I had everything I needed. I went for a little wander to see if I could find a timetable for the seminars. The first person I met was Master Bob White and I was greeted with a warm welcome. At the Kenpo Shop preparations were being made for the day and I found Mrs. Barbara White, it was so nice to say hello before we got caught up with the weekend of seminars. Now not everyone can look forward to this welcome committee, it was just my good fortune 🙂 . Eyeing up some of the merchandise I spotted the Women in Kenpo badges, the following morning I received a tip off that the Women in Kenpo badges were just about gone. So I hurried back to the shop and snagged the last few. They proved a very popular purchase and I was delighted to get my own!
The Seminars Brown & Black Belts
Reminiscing on my first year of camp as a day tripper, I had arrived with a number of my club members and felt disappointed that we were in separate classes. Although I had a great day, I envied anyone in the brown and black belt seminars and I’m not the only one who felt that way. So I was delighted to find myself scheduled for the brown and black belt seminars this year! When training in our own clubs, the varying grades occupy different areas, but we’re still in the same room. Being separated as we were at camp awakened and motivated me on another level to achieve my goal; To earn and wear a black belt.
I attended all of Saturdays seminars and most of Sundays too. Everyone had something different to offer. Of course variations of the old time favorite, ‘Five Swords’, made several appearances throughout the day. I could try to give a detailed account on each seminar but I fear I wouldn’t do our masters and professors justice. We all know the caliber of instructors that are made available to us at camp so I have no need to reinforce that my classes were nothing but educational and fun. Watch this if you want a taster and you’ll understand
The ratio of men to women in kenpo, dictated my partnership during techniques. I have to acknowledge the men who play a massive role in my Kenpo journey. These men were full of enthusiasm, they we’re dedicated to helping me improve my skills and full of generosity when it came to sharing their knowledge, showing great patience. The support and encouragement I received was on par with the men of my own club. I feel I have benefited greatly from training in their company.
When I studied the photo’s which have been all over my facebook page this week, the first thing I noticed, is how many women are in them. Kenpo women are slowly but surely building in force. We couldn’t do this without the support of Kenpo men, but we also need our role models such as Mrs. Barbara White and Ms. Amy Strader who are leading the way. I have noticed when women are visible in sport the more encouraging it is for others to join in.
The Kenpo women site, is a fantastic medium connecting kenpo women by making them visible. It gives support, encouragement and networking across the globe but there’s nothing like meeting these women face to face.
Highlight for me
The grand finale to the weekends seminars for me, was when Mrs.White brought the women together. This was for a womens only self defence seminar and there was no better place to feel the bond of Kenpo women! We are a growing sisterhood that this camp has helped to nurture and strengthen. This was the first women-only self defence seminar that I had been to. The only other experience I have had in a similar situation, was a project in college where I myself instructed the class. Mrs.White shared her extensive research with us, explaining why, when and how women are targeted and attacked. How to spot the tricks used by an assailant to gain a womans confidence and trust. We were reminded to embrace our intuition and not to ignore it, because we fear causing offence to someone. We practiced scenarios with women from all backgrounds – including those who had never attended a Kenpo class before. I spoke to them at different times during the seminar, it became evident almost immediately that they loved the practical side to self defence as well as the knowledge they were obtaining. As the class progressed their confidence grew and I was lucky enough to see this right before my eyes. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that they have joined their local Kenpo club in the meantime. All ages attended from 8 year olds to ?? years. (I better not say I may get into trouble!) Everyone went away with new knowledge, inner strength and confidence. Mrs. White mentioned how thankful she was to the women who attended, because she feels energized, empowered and inspired with renewed enthusiasm. However this is also how I felt by the end of class. I believe kenpo women share the same passion, they feel empowered and they want to share it. If they didn’t before they arrived at Mrs. Whites class they certainly did on departure. I must also thank the only man amongst us at this seminar; the very brave Seamus McGeough, who was willing to sacrifice himself on our behalf. He showed the courage of a true Kenpo Gentleman.
The two evenings started with our meal and ended in the bar. Well it is Ireland after all and whether you drink or not, this is where you’ll find the craic! There was live entertainment with Paul Casey who was very accommodating when it came to sharing the stage. The Kenpo family is not short of talent and we were treated to a variety of tunes. From Irish traditional to Elvis! So it seems to me when you get your black belt you also inherit a singing talent too! (I can’t wait!)
The Gala Dinner was also a great night. Starting with energetic demonstrations from a variety of different clubs and finishing with the award ceremony. The awards were presented by Mr. Downey and to his surprise when he finished, the tables were turned and he himself, received an award to celebrate 40 sucessful years with Celbridge Kenpo Karate Club.
Master Eddie Downey
Below I have a link where you can see Master Downey in action. We can all appreciate and fear the speed of technology! As soon as this happened, it was all over facebook. Here Master Downey is demonstrating a technique on this volunteer, who forgot one of the most important rules, “don’t go on the floor without a groin guard”. Well… you can guess the rest!