- Matthew Powell
Invest in Hope.
My last blog was titled Mentors, Role Models and Heroes and explained the rationale behind our karate charity course. Now I sit here at a hotel desk on my work travels proudly reflecting on a ‘job-well-done’.
I was once taught by an important mentor in my professional life that; ‘Hope is not a strategy’, And as with any of our courses or competition this mantra was foremost in the mind of theTechnical Committee as we prepared for the course on the 7th of May.
In the lead-up the instructors met and planned content and running order, we triple checked detail and applied friendly pressure to each other to ensure no stone was unturned and all work was done! We dare not ‘hope’ that people turned up, or ‘hope’ that the content was enjoyable or indeed ‘hope’ that we raised an appropriate amount for our chosen charity. To quote my mentor John Perrin once again ‘Failure was not an option’.
As instructors we were feeling the pressure and were on this occasion considerably more nervous than normal. I arrived at the dojo having driven my Dad and Sister thirty-years since my Dad drove me to my first karate class. Somehow it felt like fate was closing the loop. As we were setting up and I looked at my teaching colleagues it was clear that it meant so much to us all that it was a success. After all everyone loves my Dad!
As our faithful members arrived the air filled with energy and more than a whiff of positivity. Everyone was there for the right reasons and full of expectation. We were also joined by friends from other associations notably IESKA who defied jet-lag and joined us almost straight from their flights back from Japan (thank you Martyn and team).
We commenced with the customary bow and group photo and then explained that each of the five principal instructors would teach aspects of their current Martial Art philosophy and journey. It was important to us on the day that each of us communicated aspects that we are working on and invited the attendees ‘along-for-the-ride!’.
Sensei Emma Williams began by warming up the class with a Yoga session to invigorate and energise. It was great to see everyone embracing the nuances of this art with an open mind and a smile on some of the more challenging postures.
Sensei Matt Smith then followed with drills and explanations from his Jiu-Jitsu studies. Again this offered opportunity to learn something completely new to many and open people’s eyes to the importance of a ground-fighting strategy for modern day martial artists.
After a quick break Sensei Dave Galloway followed with group movement drills and ladder agility training. For those of us lucky enough to have competed with Sensei Galloway we can testify to his world class Kumite ability and it was great to share drills that contribute to his lightening movement.
Next up Sensei Keith Williams shared boxing drills and insight assisted by his boxing student Will Newman who in addition to being a great assistant has a perfectly round head (honestly it’s faultless). Sensei Williams session ended with a round of applause and it was clear that everyone had worked up a sweat and really enjoyed both the similarity and differences to our art displayed in the combinations.
Finally I delivered the final session to re-focus us all on karate and again close the loop. As many of you know I can be a little ‘Out-there’ sometimes with my teaching techniques and I wanted to share my recent work on making a concept ‘sticky’ and by definition easy to remember. So with a smile on my face I was happy to share my ‘Karate Alphabet’ concept with the class and extend it to pad work and Bunkai exploration.
We finished the event with a bow and then as planned I talked about the fantastic work of Professor Chantry and the team at the Sheffield Hospitals trust. This incredible team is fighting to develop a cure for Myeloma, the Cancer that my Dad has been battling since diagnosis in 2000.
Dad had hinted that he may say some words, but he was under no pressure to do so. Therefore I had to fight a tear and draw on his strength to listen to what he had to say to everyone at the course. He thanked everyone for coming and powerfully said that whilst he has Myeloma, Myeloma doesn’t have him! It was tough for him and he had a couple of wobbles, but as always he drew on his boundless strength and delivered a powerful speech and heartfelt message of gratitude.
After the course I asked Dad why he had chosen to speak and apologised if I had put him under pressure to do so. He reassured me of the following and this is the message I most wanted to share with you all, he said;
“I didn’t want to speak, but felt I had to. Not for myself but for all those that have Myeloma and their families. I wanted to thank everyone for attending and giving these people hope! Hope of a cure, Hope of a future and most importantly some positivity to focus on when all seems hopeless, I had to say it for them”.
Thanks to the people who attended and paid on the day, friends and those who couldn’t train but still donated and our organiser Ciara (Casper) Daniels who coordinated bookings and tuck shop etc we raised in excess of £2400 and Barclays bank will add an additional £1000 totaling £3400. As our goal was £1050 we think it is safe to safe that we smashed the target and thoroughly delivered on our aspirations.
Personally Sunday was an emotional day that reinforced just how important my Karate family is in my life. Also thanks to my Dad I realised that for many Hope is the essential ingredient for a positive life.
Thank you for investing xxxx