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!