THANKS TO SMARTPLAY
Every year hundreds of people suffer sporting injuries – sprains, strains, fractures and broken bones. More often than not most of these injuries could have been prevented had the correct preparation been undertaken.
To help you prepare for activity and help reduce injury risks, Smartplay, Sports Medicine Australia’s sports injury prevention program funded by VicHealth and the Department of Planning and Community Development (Sport and Recreation Victoria) provides you with the following injury prevention advice:
Avoid doing too much too soon
Make sure you prepare for activity by starting at a level and pace you’re comfortable with. Gradually increase your workload over a series of sessions. Without undertaking the proper preparation for your activity, your risk of injury increases by 35%. If you’re unsure of how to increase your fitness level see a qualified fitness professional for advice.
Always warm up, stretch and cool down
Always remember to warm up and cool down when undertaking activity. Warming up prepares you both mentally and physically for performance and decreases your risk of being injured. To warm up, simply start your chosen activity at a slower pace. Also remember to cool down after activity sessions to help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness. Research shows that cooling down after activity may reduce injuries by almost 10%.
Drink the right amount of fluids
Thirst is a poor indicator of fluid needs, so don’t wait to feel thirsty before having a drink. Always drink fluids (water or a sports drink) before, during and after activity. Drink at least 2 cups (500ml) an hour before exercise, 150ml every 15 minutes during exercise and enough to fully re-hydrate yourself after exercise. Not only will fluids prevent dehydration but research has shown that sports drinks containing carbohydrates and electrolytes can enhance sporting performance in some endurance activities.
Wear the right gear
Everyone needs to prepare for the activity ahead. Wear protective equipment such as helmets, padding and/or mouthguards, where required. Good quality footwear are also a must as a number of studies have found a relationship between the type of footwear worn and the incidence of injuries to the lower limb. Properly fitted protective equipment and footwear should be specific to the type of activity you are doing, your size and age. Always seek professional help to make sure your protective gear and footwear fits correctly.
Avoid exercising in hot conditions
Exercising in hot conditions can cause heat injury with symptoms of fatigue, nausea, headache, confusion and light-headedness. Avoid exercising in very hot conditions, particularly in the middle of the day. During activity, try to rest in the shade whenever possible and protect yourself by wearing light clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.
Know how to treat injuries
When undertaking activity, you should know what to do if an injury occurs, especially if you have suffered an injury in the last 12 months. Injury statistics have found previous injury increases the risk of further injury by 57%. Those who suffer a soft tissue injury should treat it with RICER – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Referral. Commence RICER immediately after injury occurs and continue for 48-72 hours. You should also avoid HARM factors – no heat, no alcohol, no running and no massage and see a sports medicine professional to help you get back to your activity as quickly as possible.
THANKS TO SMARTPLAY
Ever exercised or played sport and suffered a cramp? If you have, you’re certainly not alone as they can occur when people are active, as a result of dehydration. Put simply they happen because people do not drink enough fluids before, during and after activity.
When you exercise or play sport your body loses water by sweating. You need to replace this water by drinking fluids (water or a sports drink).
If you don’t, you will become dehydrated.
Dehydration reduces your sporting performance whilst increasing your heart rate, body temperature and how hard you perceive exercise to be. You become fatigued and may incur cramps, heat stress or even heat stroke.
So how do you avoid getting dehydrated whilst exercising or playing sport? Simple, by following some advice from Smartplay, Sports Medicine Australia’s sports injury prevention program funded by VicHealth and the Department of Planning and Community Development (Sport and Recreation Victoria).
How to avoid dehydration
Don’t wait to feel thirsty, thirst is a poor indicator of fluid needs.
Cool fluids may be absorbed more rapidly than warmer fluids.
Avoid starting exercise dehydrated. Drink plenty of fluids for several hours prior to exercise.
If you do not like the taste of water drink flavoured drinks such as sports drinks and low concentration cordial. Sports drinks comprise carbohydrates and electrolytes. Carbohydrates supply the muscles with fuel during activity and improve flavour, while the main electrolyte is sodium, which promotes optimal fluid absorption and retention. Evidence also shows sports drinks can improve sports performance for longer duration exercise and endurance activity where fuel depletion and large fluid losses are likely.
If you are well hydrated you should be able to pass a good volume of clear urine in the hour before exercise.
You should also be aware of how much you need to drink to avoid dehydration.
Drink at least 500ml (2 cups) an hour before exercise.
Drink at least 150ml every 15 minutes during exercise.
During exercise take advantage of all breaks in play to drink up.
After exercise drink liberally to ensure you are fully re-hydrated.
These practices will ensure you avoid becoming dehydrated whilst active and keep you from injuring yourself. Remember injuries usually mean time on the sideline so prevention, or in this case, keeping hydrated is the key!
Earlier this year I was invited to Korea to witness the installation ceremony of the new President of Korea, The Hon: Zen. There was alot of pomp and grandeur surrounding the whole event, including live coverage on television. Many people were invited to this very interesting occasion. Throughout the whole proceedings,’ security guards were present which is very symbolic of the problems in Korea. As a whole the ceremony was very bright and colourful.
After The Hon. Zens inauguration ceremony, he, delivered a speech which has made a very deep impression upon me. I have had the opportunity to meet him privately on two, separate occasions. The president, is indeed a very-clever and intelligent with many interesting ideas. He mentioned to me that the former president Mr. Kim had changed the Korean society a great deal in the short space of time he was president, and that his ideas again were different again from the former president Mr. Kim that policies and society will change again The Hon. Zen is certainly full of ardor for his country. In his speech he said:
“Korea will last for along time”
“Power and strength should not dominate the people of Korea.”
“The security of Korea is very important to the security of Asia.”
“Korea’s security must guard against the insecurities of other countrys.”
This speech made me feel very good. By the way everybody someday will fade away or disappear but society will remain for a little bit longer, and the Earth will remain forever however the face of the Earth will always change.
Strangers often meet and become friends and soon separate. At one time in our life we must say good-bye to our children when they to grow-up and marry. It’s also possible that we are forced to say good-bye to our friends one day. Even a student one day must say good-bye to his teacher one day.
Life is full of Farewells, it is always hard to do so. You must have what we call in Japanese Kiyoi Kocoro (innocent heart) a more relevant meaning is to say good-bye with no remorse. It is very important that we never betray the confidence put in us by other people.
In the Kyokushin Tokyo Honbu students very often leave but I would I like them to leave with no remorse.
Society, in the previous few decades has changed so dramatically, that sometimes it gets a little out of control. Children’s crimes have manifolded into such criminal deeds, such as murder!
Reported recently on the television a child killed his parents with a baseball bat. If however we look into the history of this unfortunate incident, there is more to it than meets the eye. The Boy was studying very hard to get into University, his parents kept on daily encouraging him to study} harder, along with his school teachers. Their encouragement resulted in putting to much pressure, onto the child. The conclusion was what we call in Japanese, a mental split (total rejection from the original path). He then attacked his mother and father with a baseball bat, killing them both.
The other day in Iran, the American hostage’s were released, we have since learned that their captivity was not very pleasant. Iran is a country that demands to be listened. America to, tends to influence other nations thoughts. Both country’s stubbornness Led to a Long captivity. I am so glad that the hostages are safe now.
I have received many letters about Willie Williams and Shigeru Oyama about 500 letters all in all. All basically saying the same thing. I have tired to answer as many as possible, but I will say this now everybody must obey the rules of Kyokushin there are no exceptions! Kancho is the principle of an organization. Therefore I cannot alone, permit them to come back. Of course I want them to come back but Kancho is Kancho. Kancho’s feelings or emotions are not enough to bring them back, it must be a democratic decision and not based on one mans emotions. This is also the same for society.
In a sense Kyokushin is small as an organization, but also very large with dojos in most countries. If one man abuses the law and gets away with it, then the whole of Kaikan would be broken.
I respect Shigeru Oyama very much for he has had the patience to wait over one year since his suspension. I sympathize very much with Willie Williams and Shigeru Oyama. Everyone says and thinks Kyokushin Karate=Mas Oyama, this is not quite true. Karate is not only me, everybody is a part of Kyokushin.
Recently the Tokyo Honbu Committee and the Committee of Kyokushin Honbu have been thinking a lot about Shigeru. The Committees have been trying many times to make a final decision but up to now, there has been no final solution. Everybody is working hard under adversity to find the correct answer.
Special thanks to “Smartplay”
Dental injuries can be painful, disfiguring, expensive to treat and often require long-term management. Injuries can include cuts to the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue and face; chipped or broken teeth; knocked out teeth; and in severe cases a broken jaw. Such injuries may result in the need to take time off work or school to recover, lengthy treatment and long-term physical and monetary costs.
How many injuries?
Injury surveillance data shows that at least 2000 dental injuries were treated in Victorian hospital emergency departments between 2002 and 2004.
Dental injuries predominantly occur in people aged under 25 years of age (71%).
When do dental injuries occur?
Approximately 44% of these injuries occurred during active recreation/leisure activities such as cycling, skateboarding and riding a scooter.
Between 5% and 14% were sustained during organised sports, including football, basketball, netball, cricket, hockey and soccer.
People with protrusive front teeth, inadequate lip coverage over their teeth or have orthodontic treatment are often at greater risk of dental injury.
The importance of wearing a mouthguard
Wearing an appropriately designed and made mouthguard while participating in sport will protect
against dental injuries.
Players of all ages involved in sports and activities where they are at risk of an injury to the face should protect their teeth with a properly fitted mouthguard. This includes sports where there is a risk of collision, falling and/or contact from other players or equipment such as balls, bats, sticks or racquets.
Important features of a protective mouthguard.
Comfortable but tight fit within mouth
Allows normal breathing and swallowing
Allows normal speech
Correct thickness (4mm) over the teeth to provide protection against impact
Does not cause gagging
Odourless and tasteless
Three types of mouthguards available.
1. Custom-fitted mouthguards are considered to provide the best protection of the teeth, lips and jaw. Custom-fitted mouthguards are made by a dentist or a dental technician to fit the individual’s mouth, and provide the best protection due to their close fit, comfort and cushioning (shock absorption) effect.
2. Boil and bite mouthguards are directly formed to the upper teeth after the lining is softened in boiling water. They can be uncomfortable if not properly fitted, and provide limited protection. They should be replaced each season.
3. Stock (ready-to-wear) mouthguards come pre-formed and are the least expensive type of mouthguard, but also provide the least amount of protection, fit and comfort.
Caring for your mouthguard.
- Rinse in soap and warm (not hot) water or mouthwash after each use and allow it to air-dry.
- Keep mouthguard in a well-ventilated plastic storage box when not in use, (box should have several holes in it).
- Do not leave your mouthguard in direct sunlight, in a closed car or in the car’s glovebox.
- Ensure your mouthguard is in good condition before each use.
- Get your dentist to check your mouthguard when you go for your check-up. Replace it if it is damaged.
Other safety tips
Mouthguards should be worn at all times during training and games.
Players undergoing orthodontic treatment can have a custom-fitted mouthguard made by their dentist to fit comfortably and accurately over their braces.
The cost of an injury to the teeth or jaws far exceeds the cost of any type of mouthguard.
For further information contact.
Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit
Accident Research Centre, Monash University
Building 70, Wellington Road, Clayton VIC 3800
Phone: 03 9905 1805
Smartplay – Sports Medicine Australia (Victorian Branch)
Sports House, 375 Albert Road, Albert Park Vic 3206
Ph: 03 9674 8777
Smartplay is supported by VicHealth, Sport and
Recreation Victoria and Department of Human Services.
Australian Dental Association
PO Box 520, St. Leonards NSW 1590
Ph: 02 9906 4412
- Tham, R. and E. Cassell, A systematic review of the effectiveness of mouthguards to prevent orofacial injury in sports. Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit,
Monash University Accident Research Centre, Editor.
2006, Monash University.
Victorian Public Health Training Scheme, Department
of Human Services, Victoria.
Funding support for the systematic review and fact
sheet was provided by Sport and Recreation Victoria,
Department for Victorian Communities
Photos courtesy of PlaySafe Mouthguards and the Massachusetts Dental Society.
MouthguardsPreventing Dental Injuries in sport
THE JAPAN SUMMER CAMP 1980
There were approximately two hundred and eighty students who started the 1980 summer camp who were taught by Japan’s top instructors including famous people like Hiroshi Nanri, the chief instructor of this years camp, plus Keiji Sanpei, Sandan and second in last year’s “Open World Tournament”, also “baby face” Makoto Nakamura, the present World Champion. We were very honored to have these top Japanese instructors. Everybody was also looking forward to being taught by Mas Oyama.
The duration of the course was eleven days, and not the previous two weeks (two, one week courses) as last year. This had to be cancelled at the last mimute due to Kancho leaving Japan. But this did not stop many people from not attending. The foreigners among the 280 Japanese students were;
Michael Soderkvist (Sweden)
Charles Ecsterling (Holland)
Kin Pangelinan (Guam)
Jagat Gouchan (Nepal)
Terry Simmons (England)
Udaya Gouchan (Nepal)
David Henwood (England)
The summer camp started on July the 26th. The hottest time of the year in Japan. With temperatures rising to a maximum 36 degrees C. The weather on that day was quite cool.
On Saturday the 26, we assembled outside the Honbu Dojo in the park. Within thirty minutes the little park was completely overfull with nervous students.
Just standing there I could feel something was not quite right, I felt a strange quiteness which is very unusual when 280 people are together in one place. The reason being that most people train at ‘different times, or do not recognize each other without Karate suits on. I think everybody was a little bit apprehensive of the summer camp. After our names had been called out we went to the waiting convoy of coaches after boarding, we soon departed at approximately 10 o’clock.
The convoy of buses and excited Karate-ka started the 200 kilometre journey to our destination, Shizuoka-ken. The trip went unhindered with only two stops on the way to relieve the water works.
There was the feeling all the time that we did not really leave Tokyo. The houses and factories never really stopped until we reached the sea. Then even in the country we were so surprised to see the roads so smooth and in immaculate condition. When we were
travelling along the coastline it was a nice feeling to know we had left the concrete jungle and the industrial heart of the world behind. It was truly beautiful. The sun was dancing on the waves as they crashed down onto the smooth yellow sand.
We arrived at Shizuoka-ken which was a magnificent site with a lake in the back garden, which was totally surrounded by tall green trees. The gold fish in the lake were as big as Jaws. It was like suddenly walking into a dreamland.(Alice in Wonderland part two).
The first thing to do when we arrived was to unload from the bus the hundreds of bags, including the training weights, wood, bricks, and the punch bag. Afterwards everybody went inside to arrange the beds and who was going to sleep where.
In a few minutes we were outside in our gi’s ready for the first training session, walking along the road for three kilometers, there was no noise from the students everybody was very excited to eventually do some training. This year the same as last year we had a guide, translater Mr. K. Morita who was invaluable to us.
As I felt the sand between my toes and looking at the ocean I felt very good inside.
On the beach we started Kihon and strengthening exercises which we also performed in the sea, with the waves crashing down on us we had little chance to breath however we enjoy it especially when one big wave washed us all away in different directions.
After training everybody was more relaxed and could not stop talking to each other. In the evening dinner was served much to everybodys delight. We were a little disappointed because Mas Oyama has not arrived.
MICHAEL SODERKVIST, Nidan from Sweden. Michael is 25 years old, and has been studying Kyokushinkai for eight years. He enjoyed the summer camp very much. Michael is a very good technician of many kicks. He looked after the group with great attention. He will soon leave for home after being in Japan 11 months in this period he has achieved the following;
Shodan, Nidan, Branch Chief.
CHARLES ESTERLING. Charlie a Shodan from Holland came to Japan just for the summer camp and to meet Mas Oyama. He was very happy when Kancho gave him a big hug and said welcome to Tokyo. He loved all of the training, and will go back to Holland with a lot more ideas and ways to make his club in Holland a better one.
KIN PANGELINAN. Kin is from the island of Guam. He was graded Shodan by SANPEI and NAKAMURA’ This was Kins second summer camp. His personality and bad jokes made everybody laughed. He has fighting spirit that all the Japanese admired, and always he had the loudest “OUS” which could be heard back in Tokyo. And would-wake everybody up at 4.30 in the morning. He trained very hard and never gave up. See’ you next time.
JAGAT GOUCHAN is a 1st Kyu brown belt in Honbu. When he was in Nepal he was a Mathathon runner. Runner in the Himalayas. Jajat is 23 years old. Not only can Jagat run very fast but his legs are very flexible, which the Japanese admire, this enables to do beautiful kicks, and also not lacking in power. Jagat is training at Honbu and will continue to do so until he has the coverted black belt.
TERRY SIMMONS, an Englishman from London, Terry came to Japan last October, 1979 to study Kyokushinkai in Honbu, and has been graded to Brown Belt. He attended the course with great enthusiasm and trained like a madman. He showed keen interest in the Sumo and singing at the sayonara party. Terry really excelled himself at the running and sprinting, he was also glad for the opportunity to meet the instructors outside the Dojo. Terry will also continue to stay in Japan.
UDAYA GOUCHAN. A tall well built boy from Nepal and attends Honbus special class for big students. Udaya is also a long distance runner like Jagat. He came to Honbu four months ago. Udaya loved the summer camp very much, being glad to get out of the polluted air of the big city.
DAVID HENWOOD. 21 years old, from England, I was very grateful to be able to attend the summer camp. I could understand the Japanese spirit a lot more. The team work and the comradeship is what I really enjoyed. Plus being a country boy it was very good to see my friend the ocean again.
Bedtime was at ten thirty sharp. We were awakened at flaming 4.30 am in the early morning, and commenced training with a 6 kilometer run, which was extended everyday until we did 18 kilometers. Plus 30 sprints up a hill, that was a real killer. Each day we would see more and more people drop out from the running and go onto the injured list suffering from blisters, cramps, but never a lack of fighting spirit.
Jagat and Udaya with their history of running in the Himalayas in Nepal, never seized to amaze the Japanese with their running and sprinting capabilities, this also won Jagat 5 melons at the sayonara party.
The team of foreigners from all over the world was led by Michael Soderkvist from Sweden who taught with great care showing us many new techniques, and always pushed us when we were tired.
When Mas Oyama arrived at the camp there was an air of emergency. Especially from the Uchi Deshi. Always making sure everything was perfect for ‘the master of Karate. Whenever he spoke there was absolute silence from the students. Mas Oyama often gave a speech at night on Kyokushinkai and other styles of Martial Arts. Although we could not understand all of his words we could understand the lesson-he was teaching us. By using his hole body, talking with his heart we knew what he was saying. At times it was very frustrating, because we wanted to understand everything he said.
Mas Oyama was glad to see Kin again, who came last year, this time Kin came with the strong intention of taking Shodan. Last year he took I Kyu and this year Black Belt. With his fine spirit and attitude never to be defeated took the test and passed, he was the only foreigner, of this years camp to take a test.
Another foreigner who travelled a long way just for the summer camp and to train under Mas Oyama was Charles Esterling, a Shodan from Holland. Charlie was surprised at the lack of knowledge of Kata we had. For in Honbu we only learn Kata a few weeks before a test. But Charlie really enjoyed the Japanese fighting spirit and the food.
The food was delicious, there was always too much. The games on the beach were a favorite with everybody, we did really well this year, beating one Japanese team in the Sumo Tournament and being knocked in the next round by only one point. The relay race on the beach was also good fun but we never won. The games really brought everybody a little bit closer together.
Our spare time was from 7 o’clock to 10 o’clock when we had to be in bed. Much of this time was spent outside by the Lake talking, and exchanging ideas about Karate. It was also a good time to get to know each other.
We will never forget this chapter in our lives, for the Japanese were very kind to us, especially Mr. K. Morita our translater who helped to communicate, his head must still be confused.
The one thing everybody enjoyed, was each other.
FIRST TRAINING OF THE YEAR CEREMONY, JAPAN, 1978
The first training of the year is one of the most important yearly dojo ceremonies, and in keeping with general Japanese custom.
The ceremony of Kagami Biraki is performed in most homes, factories and companies throughout Japan on the 11th of January every year. It is the ceremony in which the Kagami Mochi, a particular rice cake made on December 28th as an offering to Buddha, is cut and eaten with Oshiruko – sweet red beans. With the completion of this ceremony, work and training begins in earnest for the new year.
In the dojo, a short training is followed by the presentation of prizes to Tokyo Honbu dojo’s top students and then the Kagami Biraki ceremony.
Every year, the ceremony begins at 5:30 am. Those students able to attend arrive around 5:00 am when it is still very dark and cold. However, because of the size of Tokyo, and that the local trains do not start running until 5:00 am, most of Tokyo Honbu dojo’s students are unable to attend. Even so, the dojo was packed with over 100 students when the drum call began at 5:30 am.
During the training those members of the staff who do not train Karate begin the cooking of the mochi, rice cake, and other foods; the sweet beans having been prepared the day before. As the large number of people make it impossible for everyone to have a piece of the original Kagami Mochi, ordinary mochi is substituted and hundreds of pieces are prepared.
Originally the ceremony of the offering and then eating of the Kagami Mochi was observed only by ladies on the 20th of January. The cake is therefore round in the shape of a mirror – the representation of a lady – and called Kagami; mirror. However, during the Samurai era of Japan, this ceremony was taken over by the Samurai who changed the day to the 11th – the character 11 being easily condensed to the character for Bu, as in Bushi (Samurai). The cake was offered in temples and Shrines before being eaten for the promotion of Budo, for prosperity, and to receive the blessing of the Gods. At this time, red beans were added as the Samurai particularly hated them due to their connotations with blood and death, and it thus enabled them to meditate on and come to terms with their ultimate destiny; death by the sword. Today red beans are kept because they are reckoned to be the most delicious combination with Omochi.
The dojo training, taken by Kancho Oyama, follows that of a normal training. It finishes one hour later, just as the day breaks and light begins to stream in through the windows.
The dojo is then cleaned by the students and prepared for the ceremony. After everything is ready, Kancho Oyama gives a short speech and the prizes are presented. Each winner is presented with a certificate and either a trophy or a shield. Three prizes for Effort are awarded to both the men’s and Ladies’ groups. Two prizes to the Senior Men and one prize for junior boys. Prizes are also awarded for Fighting Spirit, Special Technique and for a good contribution to the Kyokushinkaikan. This year’s Fighting Spirit Prize was awarded to a student who had attended 326 days of training in 1977, and the Contribution Prize went to the Barber who has kindly cut the Uchi-Deshi’s hair, unpaid, for over 6 years. The Special Kyokushin Prize for an outstanding contribution to the Kyokushinkaikan was not awarded this year.
On the completion of the presentation mochi and Oshiruko to each person as quickly as possible, and soon the dojo becomes a busy hum of people enjoying a rather special breakfast.
Throughout the eating, various students come forward to sing, and this year the congregation was lucky to be entertained by a student with some talent on the guitar. Unfortunately, time closes the ceremony at around 8:00 am as students must attend school and workers must make it to their companies. When the 11th falls on a Sunday, the ceremony continues late into the morning, by which time all students present will have sung a song, drunk plenty of warm Sake, and eaten themselves full of mochi and oshiruko.
1978 JAPANESE WINTER TRAINING SCHOOL
160 brave students assembled in front of Tokyo Honbu at 7:00 am on the morning of January 4th. They stood outside in the cold and tasted Winter in their toes before even leaving for the Mountain Site of Mitsumine Shrine in Saitama Prefecture. Tokyo had experienced an unusually heavy fall of snow on the 3rd and it had turned to ice on the 4th, bringing down the temperatures to a shivery low and causing all to doubt the sanity of training in the mountains. Four of Tokyo Honbu’s foreign students were present, and one student of Shihan Lowe’s, Thrina Cabal, who so enjoyed her previous three weeks stay, that she had flown in from balmy Hawaii to brave the Japanese Winter. The other students hailed from Venezuela, Pakistan, England and Singapore, and two of them saw and felt snow for the first time in their lives that morning.
The four bus loads of students left at 8:00 am and travelled through the snow dotted countryside towards the mountains where a beautiful view of the snow covered Mt. Fuji could be seen from the bus window.
The group arrived at the top of the 1,300 meter mountain a weary four hours later, and alighted to carry their bags a short way up to the Shrine accommodation. Following those who had been through it all before, the students were hustled along into their rooms where they headed straight for the heaters and warm tea awaiting them.
The first training began at 2:00 pm. Donning clamy cold Karate-gi, and struggling to pull training shoes over their already numbed feet, the students hurried out to the assembly point. After, being assigned to groups and given a short pep talk, the training began. Training entailed a short run to a flat area on the mountain which served as the training site. There, exposed to the cold, students split into their groups and proceeded through a regular training session under the direction of their Sempai.
Although there was no deep snow on the mountain this year, and the weather was sui*singly somewhat warmer than usual, little patches of snow were to be found and it was enough to freeze solid the feet of those lead to train in it. Each group followed all, or parts, of a regular training session, and a long and frozen two hours later, the groups jogged the short distance back to the warmth of the shrine.
The evening meal followed a few hours later. The atmosphere was warm and noisy except for the beginning and ending ceremony when the Sempai and Kancho enter and leave. The food was quite delicious, although in rather typical Japanese style, it was a little cold before one could tuck in. The food at Winter Camp is always more delicious and substantial than that of Summer Camp, much to the relief of the students.
After the meal, there followed a period of free time before being gathered together to hear Kancho’s address. The address started at 9:00 pm and would have continued for sometime had not a large number of the students already doozed off, simply too tired and weary to concentrate anymore. The meeting was closed, the futons were spread out in the usual mattress to mattress, economy style, and everyone gladly hit the sack.
Next morning came all too soon, even though the rising hour was later than in previous years. Apparently the Shrine Priests complained of the usual early rising, so this year’s students rose at a still chilly 6:00 am, and had 30 minutes to complete their preparations and assemble in the courtyard. The students, most moving in a mixture of sleepy bewilderness and stiff, excited anticipation, shivered their ways to the assembly point and at 6:30 am were ushered into the Shrine. In a short space of time, only rows upon rows of training shoes on the steps of the shrine were all to show of the noisy before.
Lining up in rows according to rank, with Kancho in the center, every?
– one sat SEIZA and the ceremony began with the beating of the Kyokushin drum roll one beat for each syllable it rolled…..ha ji ma ri (we .begin) three times, tsu yo ku na re yo (we will be strong) twice, and finished with one long drum roll. The Head Priest immediately began the blessing by chanting uninterruptedly except for what seemed like a hap hazard, although I’m sure really well integrated, bang on the drum.
Trying to fulfill one’s duty to remain serene and dignified, each wriggled in their SEIZA position trying to bring some life back to their numbed, deadened feet, while the ceremony droned on. Then Kancho rose and moved forward to offer a leaf sprig. The Priest waved his stick of leaves and paper in big circular movements over Kancho’s head, and when Kancho returned to his position, all bowed and the ceremony ended with the Kyokushin drum roll 0 wa ri (we finish) 3 times, Ha ya ku ka e re yo (hurry up and return home) twice and the final roll.
Staggering, dragging to their feet, the students slowly, painfully filed out of the unheated Shrine into the cold morning to each receive a sip of warm, blessed, sake from the Priests.
Almost immediately. the training began by running again to the training site by the statue of Yamato Takeru no Mikoto, an old Japanese God who was commanded to settle various wars around Japan, and to whom many romantic stories are attached. Here followed a normal training session, before the run back to the accommodation and breakfast.
Everyone was ravishingly hungry and a steady line a 2nd helpers for,rice and soup formed. After breakfast and bathing, it was free time until lunch. Students took this time to patch up injuries and sore legs, so the smell of menthol penetrated the air and filled the eyes and noses of the suffering students.
A few of the more adventurous students ventured out to explore the location and view the splendid Mountain surroundings, however, most preferred to stay indoors in the warmth and comfort.
However it was not all rest for some, as 9:00 am was the scheduled time for the correspondence students’ promotion test. Officiating were the head Sempai, Mr. Nandi and Mr. Hiroshige. 7 students were put through Kihon, kata, exercises and Kumite, and all performed rather well.
After lunch, the students prepared for the 20 kilometer run; 10 kilos down
the winding mountain road, and 10 back up again. Students were informed to “do their best”, and at 2:00 pm they set off. The more serious students set out in grim determination, but a few merely loafed along, aided with bottles of drink and junk food. Before very long, this small group of slackers had dropped out, unaware that the only ones they had cheated were themselves, a fact they may one day realize.
Winter training runs on stamina and spirit, and thus develops stamina, spirit and confidence in oneself. The point of Winter training is to come to know oneself, one’s own limitation, and if one cannot keep up with the training then one has to faint in the effort!
Regardless of the galant efforts, only a few made it completely down and back up again. The 20 kilometer run seemed much longer and harder by the steepness of the mountain, and the cold conditions. When it became dark, a car was sent to collect the brave strugglers, and so the sore, battered group retired to the accommodation to patch up their aching legs, skinned toes and sore ankles. It was a weary and hobbly lot that turned up for the evening meal and later presented themselves at the Sayonara Party. Following the traditional form, each student performed a number and so contributed to the entertainment. However, even though it was enjoyable, most were happy to be released to fall into their futons and sleep.
Rising again at 6:00 am, struggling with tired reluctance and stiff bodies, the group again assembled in the Shrine courtyard and so began the last day of camp. After the Shrine ceremony, the students were left to the mercy of the photographers who had them running back and forth, standing in the cold in awkward poses and repeating the procedure numerous times to get it right, and because the cap was still on the camera lens. After this tiresome training, the group filed back to the accommodation and breakfast.
When breakfast was over, a short period of free time followed and then cleaning and preparations to leave. At about 11:00 am the group assembled in front of the Shrine where Kancho thanked the Priests. Bowing deeply, the group, carrying their . bags, followed Kancho down the back side of the mountain to the waterfall, the last and perhaps most exotic requirement of each Winter Camp.
The steep narrow dirt track down
the mountain necessitated a single file and a sure foot, so by the time the waterfall was reached all were warm from the brisk exercise.
Hiding behind trees, bushes and rocks, the students changed into their gi and congregated around the bonfire that had been lit. There they ate their rice balls, and prepared to face the cold water. After a rest, the group stood, clapped their hands and bowed to the little wooden shrine on the hill side, and lined up for training. Dotting the rocks and bridge, the students did the basic punches and kicks, and then headed for the water. The men stripped to the waist and all, including the ladies group, had bare feet. They climbed up the slippery, icy rocks and stood in turn under the water. There each kiai-ed and punched to a minimum of 10 punches. Back at the Bonfire, those of Brown belt and above were treated to a cup of warm sake (Wine) before changing.
When each had had a turn and changed, the group proceeded the rest of the way down the mountain to the restaurant at the bottom, and the waiting buses. At the restaurant everyone was free to eat, drink and buy souvenirs, except the black belt students who changed into Karate-gi and were led down to the passing river where they posed, knee deep in freezing mountain water, for the cameras.
Eventually, the students climbed into their waiting buSes and headed home, reaching Tokyo at 6:00 pm that same night.
The foreign students commented mostly that “it was cold!”. However, each seemed pleased that they had made it in the marathon run and had survived the 3 days of rough and rigour in a strange surrounding, amongst people they could only just barely communicate with Thrina, from Hawaii, who suffered deep bruising in the first day’s kumite and later from very sore legs, could only sigh, “I made it, I did it, I didn’t cheat in anyway!”. Thrina was so popular with the others, who admired her for her galant efforts, strong Kiai and spirit, that they presented her with a placard signed beach student urging her to keep up her spint always.
And how about next year’s camp???…Well,..”Let’s wait and see!
We have all read in Kancho’s books that a man called Miyamoto Musashi is a Samurai he most respects. Musashi was more than the best swordsman of all times he would have to have been, to earn the respect of a Master like Mas. Oyama. He was a master of Kendo, a poet, an artist, a song-writer, a talented smith and a philosopher. It is not surprising that Kancho often talks about Musashi, putting him on a pedestal as an example for his students to follow in the foot-steps of.
Musashi belonged to the Samurai class the origins of which is in the Kondei (Stalwart Youth) system established in the year 792, whereby the Japanese spear-wielding foot soldiers became permanently training armored and mounted offers recruited from among the sons of high families.
Later, the great provincial armies were gradually disbanded under Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Iyeyasu. In that era of peace, there were many out-of-work Samurai. They were called “Ronin” or “Wave-man”. There were still Samurai retainers to the Tokugawas and provincial lords, but their numbers were few.
Musashi was a Ronin. Samurai were formerly considered to be the elite but had no means of livelihood unless they owned land and castles. Many Ronin put up their swords and became artisans but those who, like Musashi, wanted to follow the Samurai path, searched for enlightenment through dangerous duels.
It may be difficult to understand how one could find enlightenment through such a violent and dangerous means, but Musashi certainly seems to have.
His real name was Shinmen Musashi No Kami Fujiwara No Genshin. He was born in Mimasaka Province in 1584. His ancestors, the noble family of Fujiwara were a branch of the powerful Harima clan of Kyushu.
He grew up under the care of an uncle who was a priest. Strong-willed and physically big for his age, Musashi was only thirteen when he won his first duel. His next contest was when he was sixteen, after which he left home to embark on a warrior pilgrimage. He had more than sixty contests before the age of twenty nine, all of which he won. Musashi also went to war six times and survived. Wandering all over Japan, he refused warmth and comfort, never dressed his hair, never took a wife, never followed a profession except for his study of strategy. Apparently, he also never entered a bathtub for fear of being caught without a weapon.
After sixty successful contests, he seemed invincible and decided to settle down to a life without duels. He was so famous that he could have opened a school and enjoyed the life of a wealthy man, yet he chose to pursue the way of his studies.
According to his own writing, it took him until the age of fifty-one to understand strategy, after which he retired to a life of seclusion in a cave called “Reigendo”. Here he wrote “A Book of Five Rings” or “Go Rin No Sho”. He died in 1645, just a few weeks after the completion of this work.
“Go Rin No Sho” is made up of “The Ground Book”, “The Water Book”, “The Fire Book”, “The Wind Book” and “The Book of the Void”. It does not deal only with fighting an opponent, but also with the way to understand one’s self and to become a better person. If talks not only of the importance of weapons, timing and the like, but also of the necessity of awareness, diligence and honesty. As a small example, here are the nine rules of the Ground Book:
1. Do not think dishonestly.
2. The way is in training.
3. Become acquainted with every art.
4. Know the Ways of all professions.
5. Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters.
6. Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything.
7. Perceive those things which cannot be seen.
8. Pay attention even to trifles.
9. Do nothing which is of no use.
As we can see, Miyamoto Musashi was no ordinary Samurai. Then again, it is difficult to imagine any man gaining so much of Kancho’s respect and being ordinary.