It’s been a really big year for us at ToriKai, our first full year running as ToriKai Martial Arts, without any pesky must-not-be-named viruses running rampant over our training schedules. There have been plenty of highlights for sure.
In February a small cohort from the Club went to visit the local Scouts, and did a trial lesson – which went amazingly. We’re pleased to announce we gained some students that night, and they’re still training with us now!
In March we held our first grading which incorporated students from both of our venues, at Yaxley, and it’s the biggest anybody could remember for a while.
Sensei Matt had the honour to attend and assist at the Junior Dan Grading with Sensei Karina at Tora Seishin, and to guest instruct their fantastic students over in the Huntingdon area.
Various members of the Club went to the UK Martial Arts Show, where Shihan Brian and Sensei Neil taught alongside Dragon Society International (UK) a mix of Kata Bunkai and Advanced Martial Arts concepts, and later on in the evening Sensei Neil and Sensei Woolley were inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
In June we held another grading, this time with a couple of Dan grades on the line, and we’re pleased to remind everyone that Sensei Woolley and Sensei Matt both passed, achieving their 2nd Dan black belts.
After months of planning, attempting, scheming, and calculating – we got our new 40mm mats, covering nearly the whole hall at Loxley. Sensei Matt was so thrilled he spent a whole lesson doing break falls and practicing take downs on… well everybody within arms reach.
September saw our first competition squad come together and start training for the Club’s first competition as ToriKai.
Time for another grading in October, which saw some of the highest standards we’ve seen, and some of our newest wave of students start to reach intermediate grades. We’re thrilled at how well our students have been progressing since COVID.
November was the first competition for a number of our competitors, those who had competed before hadn’t done so for many years. We are hugely proud of everyone who stepped onto the mats, and our squad of 6 brought home 5 trophies.
Finally, as we come to a close for the year, we had our December awards ceremony, which saw our students and instructors recognised for their hard work and contributions to the Club throughout the year. Congratulations to our Student’s Student Award winners, Kaysie, Liam, Matt, and Nick, to our Sensei’s Award Winners Leo, Tyrone, and Terry, to our Shihan’s Award winner, Nath. Finally congratulations to Sensei Matt on winning Coach of the Year, and to Sensei Martin for being awarded his 4th Dan Black Belt.
None of this would have been possible without the dedication, determination, enthusiasm, passion, and energy of the whole ToriKai family. Together, we can do anything. To every instructor, student, parent, supporter, follower, friend, family member, we want to thank you, whole-heartedly and unreservedly. However you do or don’t celebrate over this winter period, we hope you have an amazing break, and we can’t wait to see you all in the new year.