Challenge

Happy birthday to me!

Happy Birthday

Well… not me as such.  My own birthday was in December when I finally left the 20’s and hit the big 30.  Instead today marks the first anniversary of the Shotokan Karate Training website.

It’s been quite a year if I look back.  In a nutshell I’ve started to enter tournaments again, attended new seminars, met new karate friends and for the first time put my thoughts down in writing for the purpose of this site and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.  I’d like to say a thank you to everybody who has supported me with this over the last year and also followed the Shotokan Karate Training page on Facebook.  Without your support it wouldn’t be worth doing it.

I’d like to give a special thanks to Tipton Shotokan Karate and Matt Price Sensei for the seminar and content Matt allowed me to upload.  Also I’d like to thank my own club Ruach, Gary Beggan and Ronnie Christopher for their teaching and opportunities to enter various competitions.  In addition to this Sensei Sean Roberts who came over from Hawaii.  There were some extremely mind boggling lessons there that i;m still trying to implement in to my karate,  I’d also like to mention World Champion Luke Howard for his time for the interview for the site it is much appreciated.  I musn’t forget old friend and Sensei Tom Davies and his South Staffs club along with student Louis Powell for the excellent Kyu grading syllabus material permission to upload.

Finally I’d like to thank Sensei John Johnston for his publishing of my material to a wider audience stirring up quite a good debate earlier on in the year and the invite to Birmingham University to take on some of his students.

Here’s to another successful year and I hope to see you back to take on the journey with me.

Matt Cromwell

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ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for Dummies, a load of cold water over nothing?

As you’re reading this, it is certain that you’ve had to connect to the internet via one device or another and if so then I’m pretty sure that you’ve seen or heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has been sweeping social media sites such as Facebook and Youtube.  Everybody’s getting involved from Bill Gates to Kermit the Frog!  I had my nomination last week from fellow karateka Russell with an additional challenge to write about it for the Shotokan Karate Training blog.  Guess what Russ?  Challenge accepted!

If in case you have actually been living under a rock for the last few weeks, it’s time to get to grips with this challenge as it doesn’t seem to be disappearing anywhere anytime soon.  Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) also known as Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive degenerative condition that affects the central nervous system over time.  Early symptoms can include but are not limited to cramps, muscle weakness affecting arms or legs, slurred and nasal speech in addition to problems when chewing and swallowing food.  The challenge involves the nominated person pouring ice cold water over their heads and then nominating more people to take up the challenge.  At the moment there are currently around 5000 sufferers within the UK and there is no known cure.  The ALS association have asked posters of their challenge videos to hashtag in #icebucketchallenge, #alsicebucketchallenge, and #strikeoutals in order to further spread the word.  Donaters can text the word ICED55 followed by the amount eg (£5) to 70070

So why has this Ice bucket thing gotten so big now?  Well one of, if not, THE founding member of the challenge Corey Griffin decided to do it to raise awareness for fellow friend and MND sufferer Peter Frates.  Griffin was 27 from America and has since sadly passed away a little over 2 weeks ago after an accident whilst diving in to the Ocean from a building in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

 Corey Griffin (right)Corey Russell (Right)

I must admit three weeks ago I’d never even heard of ALS.  If it had have been described to me as MND I’d have had some clue, but I guess that’s the whole idea of these campaigns; to raise awareness.  I’d seen countless Ice bucket challenges done and plastered all over Facebook, but wasn’t sure what they were in aid of until I saw a video that really touched my heart.

Until this point it didn’t really bother me if I was nominated or not, but I guess I was hoping for the chance.  It sounds strange really, a hope that somebody will think of you enough to actually nominate you within one of their videos, a sense of feeling wanted I guess.  I know it’s possible to just donate without getting involved in the challenge.  I’ve seen this comment made plenty of times on Facebook, but the point is that there is an idea behind the challenge specifically involving ice in that the paralysing effects of ice cold water is supposed to reciprocate the same kind of sensation that an ALS sufferer endures.

According to http://www.express.co.uk, the Ice bucket challenge has raised in excess of £18.9 million and continues to climb.  Due to a big charity fund raising event within the Ruach karate clubs for MacMillan Cancer support, I decided to do two buckets.  One for ALS and one for MacMillan and keeping within the theme of karate I thought it only right I donned my Gi and tried to perform Kihon Kata.

If you do decide to do the ice bucket challenge and whoever you decide to do it for it doesn’t matter.  I cannot imagine one charity begrudging another’s fortune for using awareness to help us all do good for charity as a collective.

 

Good luck with your challenges!