2018 - What a year! This year has definitely been the year that the club has really ‘got going’ and set the expectations and aspirations for years to come. Over the past year we have more than doubled in size, started to develop a sports competition squad, attended external competitions and hosted 2 of our own competitions at Ichiban Leeds. It’s been a busy year, but such an exciting year and one that we are very proud of.
With the final sessions of the year now completed, we’ve had a chance to take stock and reflect on the past 12 months, on the club’s achievements, what we’ve learned, what we can improve on and have set some goals for 2019.
Introduction of Student of the Month Awards
In January 2018 we introduced our Student of the Month award, which we have awarded to one student each month, who has stood out in their dedication and application to training their interaction with other students and in their own personal development.
Awarding just one student the prize each month is quite a tough endeavour, as there is always a number of candidates that stand out. However, it’s been lovely seeing many students continue to work hard towards their improvement whether they have won or not.
We’ll be continuing with the Student of the Month Awards in 2019 and look forward to recognising the hard work and achievements of these students!
Sports Karate / Competition Squad
In March 2018 we introduced our monthly sport karate / squad training sessions that have been open to students from Seishinkai Karate (Gipton), Zetsurin Leeds and Otley who have shown an interest in competing regularly in external competitions.
These sessions have run at least once a month every month and have been intensive 3-hour sessions focusing specifically on kumite and kata for competition as well as developing fitness required for competition.
The sessions have been very popular and regularly have over 20 students attending each month. As a result of the extra training that these students have put in, we’ve been able to enter some external competitions to put their skills to the test.
Its been fantastic to see these students improve their skills and enter external competitions where they have often been competing against far more experienced karateka, bearing in mind that many of the students that attend have been training less than 18 months!
This year the objective of the squad sessions and external competitions has been all about gaining experience, seeing what standard the competition is at and bring that experience back to the dojo to aid in our own development.
Introduction of EasyFundraising
Entering and travelling to external competitions is an important part in the development of any karateka that would like to compete at a high level, but the costs of doing so soon rack up!
In December we came across Easyfundraising.com a platform that we’re now using to help raise funds to subsidise the costs of competitions for our squad. Easy Fundraising is free and easy to use, all you have to do is sign up and do any online shopping you do by first going through their site and clicking on the affiliate link. Depending on the amount you spend shopping and the site, a donation is made to our Cause Ichiban Karate Squad. The site is able to do this as it acts as marketing affiliate to the online retailers who pay them to send them traffic and customers, easy Fundraising simply share the fee with us. So if you would like to support the squad, but haven’t yet signed up, please do today!
You can shop on almost any major retailer such as Amazon, eBay, Trainline, ASDA, Tesco etc etc .
Ichiban Inter-club Competitions
We’re glad that this year we were able to host the 1st inter-club Ichiban Kata and Kumite competitions. The idea for the competitions came about, after identifying a lack of smaller competitions available to inexperienced karateka in the local area. The gap between club competitions and external opens is significant and can be a daunting jump for many young karateka.
These two competitions were put on to help karateka test themselves against others outside of their immediate club, in slightly bigger categories, providing a taste of bigger competitions.
Both competitions were well attended and the general feedback was that everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and that the students learned a lot from competition. We’re pleased to say that both the kata and kumite competitions will be returning in 2019, with the kata competition scheduled for the 24th March and the kumite competition scheduled for 17th November 2019.
Introduction of the Little Ninjas Programme
Early in 2018 we had a significant intake of karateka between the ages of 4-5 years of age and as such needed to re-thin the structure of the classes we were teaching and so introduced the Little Ninja’s programme to cater especially for these karateka.
The programme focuses on developing co-ordination, concentration, gross motor skills and basic karate techniques, to prepare these juniors for ‘big class’. The class allows them to train with peers of a similar age and ability. Helping them to feel more confident in their development.
As well as extremely cute, it’s also been a huge success! Our current Little Ninja’s are working very hard and progressing well through the programme and we expect a number of them to ‘graduate’ to the ‘Big Class’ early in the next year.
What’s in store for 2019? We’re extremely excited to see what the future holds for our young club and karateka. So far we’ve set a few goals for the next 12 months, some of which we’ll share now and others we’ll share through the year.
Attend the Kyu Grade National Championships
These championships are the biggest calendar item for junior grade (below black belt) karateka next year. Over Christmas and New Year we’ll be having a few extra squad sessions to prepare a small team to attend the championships. Any karateka that make the semi-finals will be invited to attend regular regional squad training sessions with the Regional English Karate Federation (EKF) coaches, putting them in front of recruiters for the junior national teams. It’ll be the largest and highest profile competition that our squad will have been too so far, so it’s a big one.
The goal for 2019 is to attend, do our best and return in 2020 to bring home silverware and get some students to regional squad trainings.
See our 1st Ninjas Graduate to Big Class
Graduating to the big class not only means a shiny new belt but also the 1st of many steps of progress in these young karateka's lives. It'll be a great day when we're able to move some of these littlies up to join the big class with many of their older siblings.
Keep an eye out for extra cute pictures coming soon in 2019!
As instructors we can turn up and teach every session and attend competitions, but the club would not be what it is without the support it receives from parents, students and also the other instructors that kindly step up and cover when needed.
This last year has been quite a testing year in our development, with the club having gone through a growth spurt right before I had to be away for 6 weeks and then again similarly in September and October. We really wouldn't have been able to keep the doors open for students if it wasn't for the help of the black belts and assistant instructors of Zetsurin Otley and the other Ichiban Instructors.
Thank you all for your support and belief in the club. We look forward to continuing to develop great friendships, strong, excellent karateka and a club that is not only a place of training, but also a family.
We hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and Festive period and enjoy some well earned down time before we take on 2019!