Summer camp is something I have attended each year for a while now. For me, this was a unique camp, as it marked the end of my Dan Grading process. This was a process that I informally started the previous summer camp, building towards it as I submitted my Dan application in January, finally finishing this year at Summer Camp.
Every year there is a theme to the camp, a goal for the attendees to bring back to their dojos. This year’s theme was all about basics. We focused a great deal on practical and precise kihon and ido geiko, with focused intensity and spirit. There are hundreds of ways to interact with basic techniques, and Shihan put us through dozens of seemingly simple, but difficult and demand combinations. Throughout the past year, basics have been a point of emphasis. If you’re basics are weak, your karate will be weak as well. I found the emphasis on basics to be very practical and valuable, as it is something we could directly bring back to our dojo to continue to work on.
A significant challenge this year was the heat, and it was unrelenting. As there were lots of training sessions, starting with the early morning run, the mid-day fitness challenges, and ending with the evening training. In many ways the camp is a marathon, where you have to stay hydrated, eat right, and keep cool between training, in order to see it all the way through.
Part of the grading process is that you must fight at Summer Camp. The spirit in the hall during the fights was absolutely amazing. This year, Shihan had brought in tiles with the names of everyone who had received their Dan grade in that hall, and I had arrived early and helped place those names along the back wall of the training hall. There was a lot of history in those tiles. I knew that no matter what, I wanted my name to be up there. The fights felt long, exhausting, and the heat was overwhelming, but again, Summer Camp is a marathon, and for me, those fights were the last few minutes left. The feeling of completing them, and earning my Shodan was amazing, and it is an experience that I hope more people from our dojo get to experience for themselves.
The summer camp was a lot of fun, and also a lot of hard training, and I look forwards to the next one, and encourage all of our members to come out and experience it.
OSU sempai Jeff. Congratulations from all of your sempais and senses. we are proudly welcome you to the rank of sempai