Bideford - March 2011

The last weekend in March 2011 not only saw the clocks going forward , but also marked the first big outing in 2011 for Budokan Dojo.  
 
Phil Henderson, Jon Meikle, Jonathan McCue and Owen Wilson along with our little friend John Burns from Ojika dojo made their way to the end of the known world...(or it seemed that way,) to Bideford in Devon for the first BKA Iai seminar of the year. Jon Meikle had taken on the mantle of driver in his nice posh Mercedes.....all well and good, but the sat-nav never had us out of the north east...luckily Owen had the back up sat nav, which just about got us to South Moulton, where our hotel was about a 30 minute drive from the seminar. The detour off the M5 due to a police vehicle drag race hadn't gone down too well as our tired band of heros bravely arrived in tractor territory.
 
A few drinks at the hotel bar after a hearty meal set us up for an early night and some hard training the next day.....
 
Jonathan and Jon went off to do Seitei with the Grading group......
 
Owen went into the non grading Seitei group and Phil and little John went off to train in Jikiden Koryu with Sensei Fay Goodman and our very own Bill Davison ( who had sneaked down incognito) and may now have earned himself the nickname Ninja Bill...well it's better than grumpy Bill !
 
With Jon and Jonathan both grading the following day, training for them was focussed with them eager to pick up key points to impress the grading panel......Owen was very impressed because he nearly became an honorary member of Seishinkan dojo for the weekend, such was their numbers in his group....
 
Bill, Phil and little John were part of an elite Jikiden group (well a small group of 8 of us) with Dave fanning ..a Shinden practitioner who joined us to see what he was missing.....a welcome addition to our group and good on him for experiencing the other side !
 
Everybody was happy after the Saturday session, and we bravely ventured into the village of South Moulton to sample the local delights...which turned out to be a brilliant Chinese restaurant, which had an amazing Buffet for 5 !.....a cracking good way to finish off the day for us all.......although Bill had had to do his long journey back to Plymouth to meet back up with his good lady........don't know what he had to eat !!
 
Back to our hotel and a Charity "cocktail night" was in full swing, with all of us except Jonathan partaking in something which was a strange colour and had a very rude name....
 
but like dedicated warriors of old, we went to bed sharpish...clocks going forward and gradings for Jon and Jonathan ensured that we were all party poopers.....
 
So day 2 ...and the ominous threat of gradings for 2 of the group......the others of course were nicely chilled and appreciating some more training in the morning......Bill had re joined us, and was helping Fay sensei allowing us to appreciate the benefits of Eishin Ryu and Tate hiza.....
 
Lunch time saw Bill off to Plymouth again to meet up with his good lady, and the rest of us prepare for the grading..
 
Jonathan going for Nidan, Jon for his Sandan...Owen as official photographer and Phil and little John sitting to the side of the grading panel doing their mentoring scheme bit, under the watchful eye of Peter West sensei.....


 


The gradings ran smoothly and with 100% Budokan success.....well done to Jon and Jonathan. Owen got some good video footage and Phil and little John were well de-briefed by Peter West sensei following their frantic efforts at keeping pace with assessing 5 people at a time for the gradings...much harder work than actually taking a grading itself !
 
The journey home was a fast one, with the statutory service station stop and burger king delights to nourish our weary travellers.......but the trip home is always a happy one with successful graders in the vehicle.
 
Next  challenge for Jon and Jonathan would be the grading Embu in front of the whole Dojo the following night .........  and they did very well. !