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Summer Course Report 2007

We’re’ all going on a BKFA summer holiday...
In spite of the difficult weather conditions especially in the Gloucestershire area during the week prior to the course, many students made the journey to the popular picturesque Yorkshire seaside resort of Scarborough for the 31st annual BKFA training course with Master Yau. It is very pleasing to see that many students come back each year and interesting to note that almost 40% of the group are black sashes many of whom have been coming to the summer course since they were lower grades. 
Students from all over the country converged to this very popular venue. The training comprised: 4 hours of traditional kung fu training each day which was held in the Pindar Leisure Centre and an early morning running and exercise training session from 7-8.00a.m. 

Early Birds
Students were able to ‘get to know’ the local area by running from the sandy beach by the Spa complex up a ‘challenging’ hill and then onwards and upwards around Olivers Mount. It was great to see the surprised look on the faces of the local people and fellow tourists when they saw a huge crowd of fitness fanatics up and about so early in the morning to catch the sun rise.

One of the fast lead runners, Paul Sabin from Codsall, near Wolverhampton, along with his student, Shane Holland, managed to fit in a half-marathon on the last morning before the main training. Not everyone is this fit but one thing is sure, everyone makes a vast improvement over the week on their personal best. The length of the running was gradually increased each day and as the going got tough, the tough got going. It is a fantastic feeling when your fellow students really show their appreciation of all the effort you have expended by clapping you as you make every last effort to sprint over the finishing line on the last morning with the sweat pouring out all over. 

As you can see from the photo, some took the opportunity to do some Chi Gong practice and took in the early morning rays of sunshine.
Even Alan’s dog got in on the act getting a pat from Master Yau.

Mid Morning Training
After a welcome break for showering and breakfast, the students commenced the traditional kung fu training at the sports centre. Under the guidance of Master Yau and the irrepressible John Russell, the course was led through a structured programme with the help of several senior instructors and Lau Gar Guardians:

Warm up and Eight Brocades – Morag Quirk
Kicking Combinations – Andy Nation
Combination Techniques – Keith Thomas

Each day the group had a syllabus session for each respective grade from Beginner to 5th Degree Black Sash.

Special Theme of the week
Each day, time was set aside to help develop students’ understanding of the application of techniques from the Lau Gar sets for take down and projection. It was great to hear one of the students comment from this section:  “I really enjoyed the special theme because it allowed me to actually see how different moves can be used and skilfully applied in many different ways for self-defence. It allowed me to be creative and come up with my own variations of certain moves which was another aspect I liked”.

Here is one of the younger and smallest members of the Group, Josh from Codsall, getting to grips with one of our Elder Guardians, Clive Thompson from Derby.





“What do think of this new move Clive?” asks Josh
“I think I’ll have to ask John how to get out of this situation” says Clive.

Clive wasn’t going to reveal how he got out of this difficult situation but he did show Josh how to do a good horse riding stance.

“It’s good to have role model to look up to!” said Josh!

Social Chill-out Time
The main social activity centred as usual on a barbeque at the local campsite, Arosa, in the lovely quiet village of Seamer. The owner has for several years now welcomed us onto his campsite which has some fantastic barbeque facilities and of course a bar for some ‘refreshment’. The Barbeque Committee nominated Gary McCaw from Scotland and his posse to organise all the food. With the help and guidance from Mrs Cairns from Edinburgh, the posse ‘done good’ and put on a fantastic array of food but were a little disappointed that they couldn’t get a haggis organised in time. As ever the chief entertainments officer, John Gardiner, Cirencester, gave the surprise of day with his demonstration of the new sky runners (stilts with springs as seen on the tele advert). “I’ve only had them a few days so with a bit more practice I’ll be entering the extreme sports events,” said John. 

Final night celebrations
A social function was held in a local pub on the last night so that the students could celebrate reaching almost the end of the course. This was a great opportunity to compare ‘battle scars’ and socialise with their fellow martial artists.

Guardian Challenge Awards
In June, several students on this course had managed to complete the Taiji-athon that John had set as this year’s Guardian Challenge. This was a gruelling 10 hours of Taiji covering many forms 8, 16, 24 and 42 step standard forms and the 18 Step Chen Style form. This was a sponsored event and over 40 participants raised a fantastic total of £1500 to boost the Lau Gar Trust Fund and Master Yau presented the following students with their well earned, been there, done that and got the T-shirt, T-shirt : Alan Smewing, Paul Sabin, Roy Tivey, Amiee Hogan, Paul Seymour, Adrian Yau, Aidan McGrellis, Thomas Swales, David Goodmen, Dave Fletcher, Garry Seghers, Clive Thompson, Stewart Hunt, Nathan Beer, Jim Chestnutt, Morag Quirk, Pete Hornby.

At the end of the course students were presented with their course certificates and those students below green received an upgrade in recognition of their work efforts during the week’s training.

In appreciation of all the hard work John had put into preparing and delivering the course, he was presented with a well deserved T-shirt which acknowledged that John had earned a new nick-name of ‘Jovial John’. This hopefully is a sign that he may have mellowed a little over the year from his previous title of ‘Ruthless Russell’.
By mid-week students were heard to say that they wouldn’t be able to last the full week out but by Saturday everyone said that they could do another week. This has been a consistent comment from each course from the 31 years the summer course has been running.

Don’t worry if you have got a short term memory problem, or a senior moment from the course, or indeed if you were unable to attend the course you will be able to obtain a copy of the training from the week. Our film crew of Robin Sunley and Garry Seghers have recorded all the training on the course and will be producing a DVD. This will be available from the shop section of this web-site.

Early bird booking 2008
Now is the time to start planning and training for next year. The course will once again be in Scarborough and will run from 27 July- 2 August 2008, Booking form now available, click here for more information.

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