We had some exciting weather during this, our second, beach gasshuku: warm and sunny on Thursday, mild with light showers Friday (great for keeping cool) and on Saturday, strong winds that whisked up a light sandstorm (apply sun cream in these conditions for a great skin exfoliant).
Beach training sessions are more relaxed than regular classes but provide superb physical benefits: the unsteady sand base causes lost spring and momentum, forcing a greater reliance on the important core muscles to maintain stability and direct ones’ power.
During our four sessions we covered Heian Shodan, Sandan and Yondan, and Kanku Dai. Partner exercises used the katas’ elements of tai sabaki, foot sweeps, joint locks and take-downs.
Between training sessions there was plenty to do away from the water: walking through picturesque Rye town, visiting its shops and tea rooms, appreciating the views from St Mary’s church, Epryes Tower and the old fortifications. Further along the coast, is Dungeness with its nature reserve, narrow gauge railway and old lighthouse. All set against a backdrop of a flat, barren, post-apocolyptic-looking landscape. Striking.
With fifteen of us down there, plus Cocoa and Sensei Sho, eating out together was always going to prove tricky but we all came together on Saturday evening for a delicious home-prepared dinner.
Training by the sea is enormous fun and something we’ll continue to do as a club. We can all enjoy the beaches safely by being well-informed and with the added reassurance of RNLI lifeguards who will, hopefully, become a permanent fixture: