Coronavirus / COVID-19 Update #4

A short update this time around. In our last update we said that we were waiting for the 9th Aylesbury Scout group to give us the OK to return, because as our landlords they wanted to make sure the hall was ready.

Unfortunately we can’t say much has changed. The Government guidelines have changed more than once since then and we can only presume the Scouts have had to make changes to their plans. But as it has been a couple months since the last update we felt that we should at least check in to let you know what’s going on. Or in this case, the lack of anything going on.

Just to be clear, we’re not blaming these delays on the scouts. We’ve been keeping tabs on the guidelines and trying to keep track of what we will need to do so that we are ready to return, so we know full well that it’s not the easiest thing to do. We all want to return to normal as soon as possible, and we all want it to be as safe as possible too.

22/09/2020 EDIT: Less than 24 hours are publishing, and the Government has today published new guidelines implying that indoor team sport for more than 6 people will not be allowed, which will no doubt apply to us and the Scouts.

If you have any questions then feel free to contact us through the usual methods.

A message from the WJJF

The World Ju-Jitsu Federation has shared this message via their Facebook page, which we are re-sharing here as we know not all of our members use Facebook.

Dear members,

We want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your valued support during these difficult times as some of our clubs begin to re-open others are still unable to as much as they may want to.

Trust in us, we have your best interests and students health and welfare at heart.

As you all know the WJJF is run by its members for its members, we are a non profit organisation run by volunteers, but like most other businesses we have still had overheads to cover, with no income , we understand your concerns in not training and your memberships running down, however if you want your club and your federation to survive this pandemic we must continue to rely on your full membership support, some groups have asked students to continue paying fees whilst closed, this was not for the WJJF, all we now request is your FULL support in returning to your club dojo’s when you feel comfortable to do so.

Please do not be concerned about returning to training, only clubs that have proved to us that they are Covid safe and have all the documentation in place, vetted and signed off will be allowed to reopen, we will advertise the clubs individually when they have been approved as SAFE on the WJJF website starting tomorrow.

Stay safe with the WJJF

Kancho Robert Hart

(Source – WJJF UK Facebook page, 30/07/2020)

Coronavirus / COVID-19 Update #3

You may have seen in the recent news about the Governments decision to allow gyms, indoor pools and leisure centres to reopen from 25th July, so you may also be wondering what our plans are in this regard.

Up until this news was announced we were still following instructions from our governing body the WJJF and remaining closed. Last week we received an email from the WJJF HQ regarding the reopening of clubs and the potential return to training, and as such Senseis’ Julia, Adam and Andy had begun looking into what requirements we will have to follow and working out how we will meet them.

However a couple days later we received an email from the 9th Aylesbury Scout group who’s hall we operate out of. As the landlords they want to make sure everything is ready first before they let us and the other ‘tenants’ use the hall.
As such they have asked us not to use the hall just yet.

When the Scouts let us know we will be able to use the hall again and when that happens we will have to follow any instructions set by them. With that in mind, it’s very likely that any changes they implement would be the same as or similar too any changes we anticipated implementing, such as using a one-way system, mandatory face masks and hand washing. We will in due course let everyone know what those changes will be once we know we can re-open again.

On the plus side you will like to know that we have plans in place for how we will likely operate, and that we have being doing some online training on COVID safety. We can announce that all 3 of our coaches have passed and are ready for when we return.

Finally, we do now have a provisional return time-frame of ‘after the summer holidays‘, though we aren’t setting any specific date just yet because as we’ve mentioned above we’re waiting on the Scouts to OK our return, and of course the government advice may change again. Thankfully we have a few more Kata videos left to post before we run out of them.

If you have any questions then feel free to contact us through the usual methods. Otherwise enjoy the summer and hopefully we will see you in the Autumn!

An unexpected surprise – Sensei Adam awarded ‘Nidan’ (2nd Dan)!

Hi guys, Sensei Adam here.

You may remember back in October of last year I travelled up to World Ju-Jitsu Federation headquaters in Liverpool to do my 2nd dan (Nidan) grading, where I came close to passing but fell short.

Immediately after hearing the news, Kyōshi Robert Howes (7th Dan) offered to let me re-try my grading at a later date at one of his classes in Norwich, including ‘volunteering’ the services of one of his club coaches, Sensei Jack Stapleton (4th Dan), to uke for me. In case you forgot, Kyōshi Howes is the sensei who has visited us to adjudicate our club gradings in the past, and whom I trained under last summer.

After our last club gradings back in November, we decided that the best plan was for me to join them at their next club gradings which was set for Saturday 21st March 2020, but then that pesky Coronavirus meant all their classes and the grading got postponed.

You might now be wondering, why would I bring this up now?

This morning I received a surprise package from Kyōshi Robert Howes, containing a letter, a Nidan belt and my certificate.

Yes, I have officially been awarded my 2nd Dan black belt! I was not expecting this and was still waiting for when I could re-try my grading. At this point I don’t really know what to say, other than to thank everyone from Kyōshi Robert Howes, Kancho Robert Hart and of course our Sensei Julia! There are probably other people I need to thank too so if I’ve missed you, thank you!

Roll on October 2023 when I should eligible to attempt my Sandan (3rd dan) grading!

WJJF Garden Kata Challenge!

We’ve been challenged!

The World Ju-Jitsu Federation have challenged the members of all WJJF clubs to record themselves performing any kata in their garden (or anywhere you have enough space) and to send the video of it in to your club!

Just pick whichever kata you like, record it, and send it to us. We’ll share your entries on our Facebook page and it may even be shared to the WJJF page as well!

Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, no need to wear your uniform, it’s all just for fun!

If you want to send us a video, you can either:

#WJJF #GETINVOLVED #WJJFGARDENKATA’S #stayhomesavelives

Licence Fee Increase

Our governing body, The World Ju-Jitsu Federation (WJJF), have decided to raise the price of membership (aka ‘the licence’ / ‘Budo pass’).

The Board of Directors regret to inform you that there will be a general price increase for materials / gradings / memberships / etc., which will be introduced from the 1st March 2020. Unfortunately, this is due to continual rising costs which we have battled with for some time.

This has not been an easy decision as the Federation always has its Coaches and Students’ best interests at heart and over the years, has fought to keep charges down to an absolute minimum.

Please bear in mind that this will be the first price increase for 7 years and, wherever possible, we will always endeavour to keep these increases to a minimum.

This means that the registration fee for the children’s class (7 – 15yr olds) increases from £27 to £28, while the registration fee for adults class (16+ year olds) goes from £29 to £32.

You do not need to pay the new fee until your current membership is up for renewal.

We have also updated our FAQ page to reflect this change.

Not a 2nd Dan quite yet

If you’re reading this you probably want to know how I got on at yesterdays grading. In short, I’m not a 2nd Dan quite yet.

The World Ju-Jitsu Federation holds a high and exacting standard for all of it’s gradings, to which no one is exempt. On this occasion I fell just short of the passing grade.

Now to clarify I have not failed, but I haven’t passed either. I have been deferred, which to most of means “resit the exam” so at some point I will have to attempt it again.
I won’t have to travel back up to the HQ in Liverpool but I will still do it in front of senior coaches, and at the moment the current plan sounds like I will travel to Norwich to do it at Haya-Ashi Ju-Jutsu who I trained with over the summer.

In the mean time I have been given excellent feedback on what I did well at and where I didn’t, which was given to me by 2 of the 3 senseis who sat on my adjudicating panel, namely Kyōshi Russ Walsh (7th Dan) and Shihan Simon Jones (7th Dan). I was also fortunate in that my Uke for the day was Sensei Paul Daley (6th Dan) who also gave his own advice.

On that note, I would like to thank all of the sensei’s mentioned above again, as well as Kyōshi Robert Howes (7th Dan), Sensei David Howard (5th Dan) and Kanchō Robert Hart (7th Dan), who had unpleasant job of breaking the news to me. Everyone I spoke to agreed that I can do it, it just needed more polish than I presented yesterday.

I never walked in expecting to pass. I knew I had to earn it and knew the standards were high, so also I knew there was a chance I could have failed. When it unfortunately happened, it wasn’t a crushing defeat. I don’t even consider it a setback because I haven’t lost anything that I need to regain.

People say you learn more from failure than success, and I plan to use myself as an example for our students. Sure you can train hard and still fail. But you take some time to assess what went wrong, work on those issues and you try again.

I’ll close out this post with a quote that’s served me well in the past and served me well yesterday:

If you’re not prepared to fail, you’re not prepared at all.

I will earn my 2nd Dan, it just hasn’t been quite yet.

Haya-ashi Ju-Jutsu, Summer 2019

For the last 6 weeks of the summer holidays, I’ve been travelling to Norwich to join the Haya-ashi Ju-Jutsu club twice a week for some extra weapons practice ahead of my 2nd Dan grading in October.

I would like give my thanks to Kyōshi Robert Howes (7th Dan), Senseis Jack Stapleton (3rd Dan), Martyn Webster (3rd Dan) and Jason King (2nd Dan), as well as everyone else at the club who took the time to help me and make me feel welcome at the club.

At the start of the summer I had ear-marked 6 dates I would be attending, in the end though it I attended 11 classes back to back! Even though I was just a visitor, by the end I didn’t feel like one, more a home away from home.

They are of course more than welcome to join in at our classes in Aylesbury should they ever be in the area!

Also finally, good luck to Steven Newson who is going for his 1st Dan black belt on the same day I’ll be doing my 2nd. Chances are one of us will end up playing Uke for the other at some point!

International Martial Arts Seminar, Manchester – 3rd August 2019.

Hello everyone, Adam here with my little ‘report’ of yesterdays seminar in Manchester.

As you might be aware, this was my second seminar, my first being the ‘Soke Clark Seminar‘ held back in February of this year. This weekends seminar was hosted by Hanshi John Greenhalgh, who holds the mightily impressive rank of Jūdan (10th Dan!) This was also different in that it wasn’t a WJJF seminar, rather it was open to all regardless of sporting affiliation. But plenty of WJJF members were in attendance.

After a mildly intense warm-up on an already warm day, we started with some Kickboxing! This opening segment was conducted by Former W.K.A. Full Contact British Kickboxing Champion Chris West of “West Freestyle Martial Arts” (Website | Facebook).

I got to work with Claire, herself a champion kick-boxer, who was quite happy to let a me kick her directly! It’s honestly surreal when you kick a stranger in the stomach without them holding a pad of some sort, and they reply with “That was good, try it again!
In all seriousness, Claire was really patient and gave lots of tips on how to improve my kicks and strikes. Speaking of which we started with simple but efficient strikes and kicks, and gradually worked up to more complex spinning kicks and multiple attacks.

After that we moved on to classic Ju-Jitsu, and I changed partners. For the remainder of the seminar I paired up with Sensei’s Peter and Graham, both 8th Dans. We worked on a nice variety of locks, counters and pressure points. What I enjoyed most was that both Peter and Graham showed their experience and how they would modify a move to a given situation.

This is the sort of thing seminars should be all about. Those with experience passing it on to the next generation.

As I posted on our Twitter after the event:

“That was another excellent seminar. I really enjoyed working with the senior belts who don’t just show you how to do a move, they show the technical side as well.
Leaving feeling a bit battered and bruised, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

In fact we got so carried away, the seminar actually over-ran, with the Worsley Leisure Centre staff waiting for to leave to they could lock up. Somehow I don’t think they were going to argue with the 30 or so black belts in attendance.

Manchester Seminar Group Photo
Photo via ‘Muga Mushin Ryu Ju-Jitsu HQ Liverpool

But all in all, it was well worth the 350 mile round trip, and I look forward to the next seminar. Though up next will be my 2nd dan grading……..