A week ago this morning we were all busy checking into Camp Phoenix 2017. As an association, it was memorable as always. As a dojo, The Forge dojo experienced a lot of success and hit a few milestones.
What makes for a successful Camp? First, there were no serious injuries! Being hurt is different from being injured...no injuries, but there might have been a bit of soreness in the days after Camp concluded.
Some of our success was measureable. We had our first two nidan (2nd degree black belt) tests which went amazingly well. Both Sempais Matt and Mary finished their 45 minutes of sparring with such fire and tenacity; a testament to their year-long preparatory training.
In addition, we had three shodan (1st degree black belt) tests which were spirited to say the least. Sparring, kata, the works...it was an incredibly busy weekend for them, but in the end, we've got three new black belts in our dojo.
With six brown belt tests, we've set the stage for a year of hard training in preparation for their black belt tests next July at Camp Phoenix 2018. All six of those tests were terrific...full of skilled fighting, sound kata and kihon, and strong breaking.
Tons of boards and concrete blocks and tiles and baseball bats were broken.
HOURS of sparring.
Hundreds (maybe thousands) of punches and kicks.
All crammed into a powerful weekend.
Then there are the successes that you can't really measure. Three white belts (one relatively new) joined in for the training....a HUGE investment. The jokes and laughter around the lunch/dinner tables are always fun. Ribbing/making fun of each other seems to bring us closer as a group. There were those words of encouragement from teachers who aren't your own that can light a fire deep inside and motive an entire year of training. There we new friendships forged from students from different dojos/schools.
As a small dojo, we will be reaping the fruit of Camp Phoenix 2017 for many years to come!