Jujutsu shinsa this Thursday

Just quickly, I wanted to remind everyone that this Thursday will be the last time Matt G will be attending the dojo as a Toowoomba local. Matt has been a core member of the Club over the past two years, and I would like to wish him all the best for his move up north and the next phase of his career. He has promised to continue representing us up north, and found a study group to keep polishing his Jujutsu, Iaido and Kendo with whomever of his new colleagues he can entice. 

As a result, we will be running a Jujutsu grading for him during Thursday’s time slot, and hence neither Systema or Iaido will be run that evening.

Please come along to support him on the evening, and have a look at the process for grading in Jujutsu if you are unfamiliar with it. We are planning to have a light supper afterwards, so if you could please RSVP your attendence (and any dietary requirements) so that we can sufficiently cater. 

Alterations to the regular training schedule and moving forward

Some of you may have noticed that there are as yet to be announcements regarding arrangements for summer training times as promised last week.  

Unfortunately, after the publication of last week’s Budo Bulletin, the Principal of Holy Name Catholic Primary School informed me that the usage rate charged for the MEAC would immediately increase from $15 per hour to $20 per hour, and that we were not to proceed with any of our planned cleaning or maintenance activities for the MEAC. We were also informed that we had to agree to the new terms immediately.  

An immediate 33 per cent increase in a fixed cost is hard to absorb for any entity, particularly where that fixed cost is the largest (by a factor of more than nine) of any other cost we sustain as a Club. BBRD has always remained resolutely not for profit, and has always encouraged participation and non-financial contribution over strict application of training fees. We have been able to do this due to the extremely generous terms we had secured for the use of the MEAC. Our training contributions have likewise been well below the current “market rate” that other similar Clubs might charge. 

However, the implementation of this decision and the presentation of a speculative invoice for December usage comes at an awkward time for the Club. December has historically seen a drop off in both casual and monthly-paying attendance, and so represents a squeeze from both increased costs and reduced income. 

In any decision to move forward, we need to ensure that we are being fair to all parties involved. First, the School is within its rights to ask for an increase in rent, as the MEAC can be viewed legitimately as an asset for which a reasonable financial return could be expected. Second, it would be patently unfair to ask members who have already made their monthly contributions to again put their hand in their pockets for a one third contribution to make up the shortfall, particularly given the expenses of end-of-year seminar and grading costs, and in the lead up to Christmas. 

The most immediate thing we could do in the face of this was to rationalize our training times. Our standard class time has been 15 hours per week, and deliberately spread so as to give folk the maximum chance of attending as many of the Club’s training sessions without overlap.

Unfortunately, this is unsustainable for the rest of this month. As a result, we will be contracting training to two nights per week and have two, rather than three, hours on Sunday. From this week, and for the remainder of December, we shall be training Tuesday and Thursday nights 6-9 pm then Sunday 10 am-12 pm. Fire and Flow and Taiko drumming will be on recess for the remainder of the year, Jodo shall be shifting to the other nights (still to be advised by Eric as to the exact schedule), and FlexiFit will potentially reconvene once we have had a discussion with all regular participants as to the best way forward.  

And in the new year we shall re-evaluate our options. At present, what faces us is a $15,000 usage bill for the MEAC in 2018 if we were to maintain the same training schedule we have had for the last few years. At a monthly average number of “unique” participants at, let’s say, 15 people, that is equivalent to a little under $84 per month per person without factoring in any other expenses. Once those other costs are added (not including insurance/affiliation fees which we charge as yearly membership costs), that figure is closer to $95 per month, which is roughly what other similar organizations in Toowoomba charge. What impact that will have on the ability for our members to pay is yet to be discovered. Given that we are a student-focused club, and many of our members have very little disposable income, this may in fact plunge attendence rates to unsustainable levels unless we make other substantial changes. 

The Executive will be having a planning retreat this Saturday where we will be working through our options. These will of course include fee increases, permenant training timetable changes, and relocation of some or all classes to a new venue(s) . This will also be impacted on by any change in attendence rates (both positive or negative) in the new year. On the plus side, there are a number of opportunities that will be available, including the QKR initiative that will provide State-government vouchers for children to participate in Kendo. 

Please rest assured that we will be collectively working to implement the most equitable solution, and that we shall keep everyone in the loop regarding what we decide. Risk and opportunity are almost inevitably paired in any circumstance, and we shall work hard to minimize the former and maximize the latter.

But for the immediate future keep training hard, enjoy what break you might have over the coming weeks, and, as always, I will look forward to seeing you in the Dojo!

Sword arts workshop

Hello everybody,

There will be a kenjstsu workshop on the 23rd of this month (December).  This workshop is open to all BBRD members who practice the sword arts, which includes practitioners of iaido, jodo and kendo.  The workshop will be held at the MEAC and will start at 0900 hrs (9 am) with the keiko yamae to follow.

I look forward to seeing everyone there.

Eric

Quick reminders: Summer schedule etc.

Just a quick reminder that given Holy Name Primary has finished their school year, we will now have unfettered access to the MEAC for training. As usual this means a few things. First, I will be heading in around 11 am to return items to the dojo we took over the weekend, and to start setting up the space for us over the summer. If anyone is free around 11 am, please consider coming in to give me a hand. We shall be having a thorough clean of the MEAC floor and surrounds next week, including the hiring of an industrial floor cleaner. Please keep an eye out for the details as it is definitely a case of many hands, light(er) work.

Second, given that we will not need to spend time laying out and packing up the mats, we will be starting most classes at 6pm and at 7.40 pm sharp. This will be reflected on the website timetable later today (when I get a chance to do the alterations). Please ensure that you arrive at the dojo in sufficient time to get ready and start on time. I will also publish some lunchtime session times as well, so please keep an eye out on the calendar for this.

Third, given the end of year dinner, there will be no Jodo or FlexiFit on this Wednesday night.

Fourth, we shall be conducting a Jujutsu shinsa on Thursday 14 December, so anyone wishing to attempt the challenge must let me know no later than this Thursday, and Thursday night training will be dedicated to it.

Finally, keiko yame will be on Saturday 23 December, and keiko hajime on Tuesday 2 January. Keep an eye out for more details as we announce them!

So as always, I'll look forward to seeing folk at the dojo over the summer continuing our budo journey.

 

Weekend QKR seminar wrap up

I’m sitting here this morning feeling quite tired but extremely pleased with the weekend just passed spent in fine company and doing what we all love to do.  

This year’s QKR December seminar and grading was again held on the Gold Coast, this time a little further away from the beach at the old Cararra basketball stadium (in between the Metricon ALF stadium and the new Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre). I want to commend the efforts and achievements of all BBRD members who participated in the humid and hot conditions, and maintained their concentration and focus well beyond comfort zones. 

The headline result from the weekend was that everyone was successful in the grades they attempted.
Kendo: 
 • Kateena Martin 5Kyu (double grade) 
 • Matt G. 1Kyu

Iaido:
 • Tracy Campbell 2Kyu
 • Sian Carlyon 1Kyu
 • Matt G. 1Kyu
 • Michael Baczynski 1Dan

More significantly, feedback from the senior sensei, particularly in Iaido was excellent. Specifically, that after two long, hard days of practice that grading preformance could not be faulted for the level folk were attempting, and indeed far exceeded both requirement and expectation.  

I also wanted to congratulate all others who successfully graded yesterday, especially friends of the Club, Rob Doncaster (2Dan Iaido), and Nash Wu (3Dan Kendo) . We will all look forward to continuing our training journey with you! I also wanted to thank all of the senior sensei who selflessly provided their time over the weekend to organise and teach.  T. Tsukadiara sensei, Kolb sensei, H. Tsukadaira sensei, Okamoto sensei, Tamura sensei, Johnson sensei, and Kee sensei— domo arigatogozaimashta! It was also wonderful to spend some social time with Tamura, Johnson, and Kee sensei on the Saturday night. 

I also wanted to note how priviliaged I feel being able to spend the weekend with everyone. It was Sean T’s very first Kendo seminar, Minty’s first time away with the Club for a weekend trip, and Maaike came down to provide team support and convivial company. It was also Matt G’s last BBRD trip as a Toowoomba local, and while we are saddened by not having him “on tap”, we will certainly look forward to opportunities to continue to catch up at seminars after he has relocated north. Essentially, there was nothing more that could be wanted save for the luxury of a few more days doing the same thing — excellent company, great food, beach time, spa pool time, and dinner with senior sensei. We even managed to crack out the Majhong set on Saturday night for a few solid laughs. 

Aside from grading success, I wanted to share how proud I was of everyone’s efforts over the weekend. Matt G once again took on the punishing insanity of grading in both Iaido and Kendo, splitting his time across both on the weekend. I think we have sealed a promise to use rougher than usual handling to prevent him from contemplating doing so in the future, and we will look forward to see him decouple his shinsa attempts next year. Tracy battled her way through badly swollen ankles to produce some of the best kata performances I have seen her do at the time most important to do so. Likewise, Sian, still recovering from recent surgery, greatly impressed the sensei for how much she improved over the weekend, and again the exceptional quality of her grading performance. Minty was sprung with the surprise of being motodachi during the kata section of the shinsa, and ably looked after everyone on the Kendo side of the hall. 

A special fighting spirit mention should go to Kateena, who managed to push through the physically exhausting weekend, and successfully graded despite the unusual circumstance of being the only person attempting their first ever grade. The 6Kyu grading can be the most challenging mentally because it is often the very first time someone has been to a weekend long seminar, and certainly the first they have seen a “live” grading process. As this grade is the very first to be tested on the weekend, you do not even get to see others go through the process, and that uncertainty can be particularly psychologically taxing. Usually, there is at least a cohort of others in that circumstance that you share this leap into the unknown with. However, Kateena managed to do this not only solo, but well enough to convince the grading panel of five to double grade her after a little more than six months training any type of martial arts. Well done Kateena, you did yourself and the Club proud!

So I will certainly be looking forward to the next trip away. Till then, we shall continue to keep practicing and putting in the miles to forge, fashion, sharpen and polish our performance. 

 

 

This Wednesday, 6th December, Awards night and annual dinner

It's that time of the year again and the BBRD end of year dinner will be held this Wednesday night, 6th of December starting at 6:30 pm at Kajoku Restraunt, upstairs at 430 Ruthven Street.

Could you please send your RSVP ASAP to Sian at sian.carlyon@usq.edu.au with the number in your party we can ensure there are the appropriate number of reservations made.

See everyone there!

No Jodo Wednesday 6 December

Hello All,

Due to the BBRD end of year dinner being held this Wednesday, there will be no Jodo on Wednesday this week.

Hope to see everybody at the dinner.

Eric

QKR Seminar and shinsa this weekend!

As regular readers will be aware, this weekend coming will see a record number of Club members go down to train and challenge for grades on the Gold Coast. I want to wish everyone all the best in their efforts this weekend, and at the final sessions of training this week. 

This will, of course, mean that there is no Kendo on Sunday at the MEAC, and we will confirm on Thursday if Arnis will still be on.  

For those of you heading down this weekend, please check the Kendo & Iaido @BBRD group for a checklist of what to do and what to bring for the weekend.  

Iaido this week (and hence, no FlexiFit)

In preparation for the seminar and shinsa this weekend, I will be travelling down the hill both tonight and Wednesday to get a little more polish from Tom sensei. Therefore, FlexiFit is cancelled for this week and next week (due to the Club end-of-year dinner). For those keen for a stretch, I am considering running a second, lunchtime class over the summer (subject to demand) so let me know your interest, and we shall see what we can do!

End of year Dinner and Awards night

We shall be holding our end-of-year dinner on Wednesday 6 December to celebrate a particularly successful year at the Club and as a farewell to Matt G, who will be leaving us mid-December to take up a post at Tully. I am aware that there will be a few folk who are unable to make that date, and I do apologise in advance. However, this date was the one where we could potentially have the greatest number of Club members come along. 

We are planning to have dinner at Kajoku, so please keep an eye out for the official RSVP on Facebook and the Club’s website so that we can give Jeff accurate numbears for the booking. As always, partners and family are most welcome to come. 

We will have a whole bunch of grading certificates and special awards to present on the night, so make sure that you have cleared your calendar to attend!