It was a wonderful and blessed day for each and everyone of us,Shinkyokushinkai Karatekas for one of the most awaited events in our journey is yet to unfold.It is the yearly Outdoor training activity and grading that was held at Bauan, Sampaguita Beach Resort,Batangas last May 5 and 6 of 2018. Everyone was high spirited,it took months to prepare for this event and all of us would like to take part in the activity not only to improve our physical,mental and spiritual well-being but to experience what the outdoor activity would be like,most of us are first timers just like me and I was looking forward to grasp each moment and charge it to my experience.
And so, May 5th at around 4:30AM most of us gathered at our meeting place,The Baqui Dojo, while others would be out of the office at a later time will just go to Bauan directly after their shifts, using the van that we’ve rented, everyone would feel comfortable going to the Target place. It was an estimated 4 to 5 hour drive from Manila, after 2 hours of travel time we reached Balagtas,Batangas proper wherein we went to the wet&dry market and puchased the things we need for the next 2 days. What excited me most is that we would lay our own tents and is responsible in preparing our own food(survival like).
After another 2 to 3 hours drive from Balagtas, we finally reached our destination.Everyone was so excited to look for a spot to lay their Tents. Several hours after that,our colleagues mostly from Araneta site joined us and we relaxed for a bit and we waited for our Sensei Richard Picar and Senpais to call our attention.
Around 4PM everyone was called to put on their Gi(Kimono) and gathered to take part activities.We were lined up according to the color of our belts and higher belts were in front to be our guide and role models. It was a first for me,kicking and punching while your on the sands,doing exercises, buddy-ups, and the most exciting part was when we were asked to do a couple of front punches going to the sea and the water was already above our belts. It was hard doing Mai Geri(front kick)on the waters, your leg feels heavy as if you’re on a gravitational training but I trust my Sensei and my Senpais “We will never teach you something wrong that may put you in danger”.
After the activity we were then instructed to dry our Gi for the next day, which was a big event for most of us,it was Grading day.We then prepared for dinner and had a few conversation with fellow Karatekas,sharing our experience and the happiness that we felt during the activity. Not all of us were there to take the grading,other Karatekas brought along their loved ones to enjoy the beach,others were there just to be part of the Outdoor activity and show support to their fellow Karatekas even though they will have their grading on December. Supportive parents were also there to look after their sons and daughters who joined the Outdoor activity.
The following day,we woke up at around 3 to 4AM and gathered at the seashore by 4:30AM. Loud Kiais(shout) can be heard everytime we do our blocks and punches. We were guided by Senpai Alex Geraldez, along with all of the Senpais, Paul Magahis, Alberto Baquiran, Yong Languisan, J’Dee Capili,Ram Cierva and Sensei Richard Picar.
We had such fun activities wherein we got to do sprints against our fellow karatekas,we were also divided into 2 teams, we played “jump over the cow” with a twist, for we needed to jump over fellow Karatekas who were all in front us us when we lined up,imagine jumping over 10 or 20 people and at the end you need to do 10 counts of Mai Geri with a shout at the end if you do not want to go back to the start, All I can say is I was having fun and at the same time learning and improving my kicks.
The next activity was the best. It’s the KARATEKA Tug Of War. The 2 teams lined up holding the belt of the person in front of them tightly because no one wants to lose,for the loosing team are called “ugly”. Haha. But then again,in a game there will always be a winner,and sadly we lost 3-2. The consequence of the game was to swim right between the legs of the winners while they are lined up on the waters.
We were then advised to either take our breakfast from 6AM to 7AM or practice our Kata(an exercise consisting a sequence of the specific movements of a martial art.) Which will be evaluated during the Grading, for you to earn a higher belt. Some of us ate their breakfast real quick while others dedicated their time in reviewing their Kata.
At exactly 7AM we were again grouped according to the color of our belts. We were assigned to a Senpai that gave us a review of the Kata that we will have to perform, after that colored belts were called and we got to perform Kata in front of them, since we were white belts we performed the basic Katas(Taikyoko Sono Ichi,Ni,San) and (Sokugi Taikyoko Sono Ichi,Ni,San).
At first I thought it was finished,but it only just began, for we needed to do 100 Jump squats,100 push ups and 100 sit ups on water, and everyone of us was in the verge of being tired, but if we surrender now, all of the hardwork we did in training will all go down to waste. No one surrendered, and all of us get to finish the activities assigned to us.
Some Karatekas that was lined up to become either brown belts or brown stripe had a hard time doing numerous sparring with colored belts and black belts.It was not easy being hammered for a minute and be able to do the same thing to the next 5 to 6 sparrings,putting their stamina to the test.
After that 3 brown belts were taken to the test of Bat-breaking, Just by looking at it, It’s hard to actually break a bat by just a single kick, they were able to break the bat in a couple of tries, but what’s more important is not just breaking the bat itself..But by showing your bushido spirit, and for that I admire them,for they did not surrender and went on to finish the challenge that led to the awarding of their new hard earned brown belt and brown belt stripe.
We ended the outdoor activity congratulating each one of us, it may have been a difficult test, but in the end, you will learn to enjoy each moment as you progress, keep on training and keep your feet to the ground, for there is so much more to learn everyday, more techniques, discipline and hard work is needed. I am truly greatful for the chance that was given to me to be part of something big, something good, a place I can call home, and an organization called Shinkyokushi kai that I can truly call “Family”.