Annual summer camp at Lake Morena

 The annual summer camp called Shochugeiko (training in the hottest part of summer!) was held August 1 to 4th at Lake Morena campground  and it was hot outside, reaching 97 degrees but the evenings were cool and starry. We also trained indoors at the church gym which fortunately was air conditioned! This was our PMA 41st annual summer camp.

In the picture Eric Rosado Sensei is practicing various kicks while trying to balance on the vertical log. During the log drill students were asked to combination kick as well as do katas on the log top.




Hard training is always involved but there are more social moments. Carol Sedlacek and Dean Underwood are passing out pie and ice cream while some PMA Juniors entertained the diners with the PMA fight song.

Social moments included outdoor hockey game, starlight on the ground classes, a contest of Name that Kata based on the musical show, skits at dinner, and more. The value of a summer camp or shochugeiko training is the overall effect that immersion in the karate training has on students. One is kept busy from 8AM until 10 at night with many classes covering a wide variety topics that can include physical fitness, katas, partner drills, classical weapons, sparring, jiujitsu and more along with the academic side of the many lectures. Bonding between students results from the common cause of physical training.

Many thanks must go to the organizers and others who worked together to host this event. The director for the camp was Heather Graves Sensei who worked for two months in advance to get everything. ready. Students all helped in various ways such as cooking, serving meals, cleaning bathrooms, setting up chairs, transportation, carrying equipment, and much more. A big plus to the whole weekend was the presence of the Portland dojo students that included Dean Underwood, Glenn Gholston, Rachel Brown, Grace Gholston and Michelle Escobar.

A further highlight was the appearance on Saturday of Peter Grootenhuis (San Diego) who gave his special lecture on Niches which sent a strong message to the students. Grootenhuis Sensei was confined to his wheel chair but reached new levels of giving energy and insight to the group.

There were numerous seminars and workouts. Below,  Master Devine lectures some of the black belts on the concepts of Ho On I Do (a Japanese phrase meaning to pass along knowledge of the teachers. There were over twenty four formal seminars taught. Some of the topics were the tea ceremony;y (ceremony included) by Michelle Escobar. A powerful workout using leg strength in kicks given by Rachel Brown would be contrasted with an academic seminar on Habits by Robert Graff. On Sunday the group converged on Lake Morena campground adjacent to the lake itself. It is a beautiful and quiet setting. There the group was able to practice techniques, kata, and other drills such as trying to fight while balancing on the vertical stumps.

The purpose of these camps is to forge our spirits so after three days of intense immersion, one is pushed to the limits in mental and physical ways. For the closing of camp the group met at Mimi’s Bistro in Santee on the way home. There were a few speeches and several belt awards. Significant was the awarding of full Shodan (black belt) rank to Sarah Brown.

Next camp (the 42nd winter camp) will be in February so hope to see you all there!





Camps and Trips

Just returned from Florida after competing in the national AAU championships are Yuri AAUteamGorokhov, Margaret Izotov and Heather Graves.  Heather was the coach and manager. Margaret managed to take a 2nd in sparring and Yuri got through to later rounds in kata. The competition was tough with over 60 national level black belts from around the country taking part. Meanwhile the dojo gets ready for the annual summer camp at Julian CA to be held July 20th to the 31st. Many students will come up a day earlier and train a day later as they immerse themselves in karate activities such as workouts, seminars, entertainment and good food. Days are hot which is why we call it ‘schochugeiko’ which is a Japanese term for training in the hottest art of summer. PMA has always used the theme that ‘black belts are born at camps’ and the camp really does challenge one in all aspects of endurance and mental stamina, not to mention getting the equivalent of several months of material packed into a short time. This year students will be housed in nearby houses and sleeping on floors as well.

Winter camp is coming soon!

The annual winter camp starts on Friday Feb. 5th and runs to Sunday. This year we are holding it at the Mt. Empire High School near Campo. We take over the school campus and run classes in the gym, on the fields and do academic seminars inside. This year the emphasis is on perfection of technique in detail. Black belts will get new katas and focus on academic material as well. Lower belts will be learning a wide variety of material including special sparring techniques taught by guest instructor Grandmaster Floyd Burk.

The Japanese term Kangeiko means training in the coldest part of winter but given our geography it will likely be 65 degrees and sunny. Some years however we have snowstorms during the camps.

These major PMA camps are held both in winter and summer and this is the 38th winter camp. Students are coming this year from San Francisco, LA, Portland and of course San Diego. Training starts at 730 AM with a meditation walk, then workouts, seminars that run until 11 PM at night. There is even a star gazing class. Plan ahead for the summer camp next August!

Special advance thanks go to some of the organizers for so much behind the scenes work to get this ready. Plaudits go to Heather Graves, Becky Black, Mac Low, Marc Adams, Jeff Platt, Allison Smith and Jim White.