Martial Arts Summer Camp

2000 Summer Martial Arts Camp at Ecology Retreat Centre

Most of the group, after our early morning jog and workout.

This year we held our Annual Summer Martial Arts Camp in the beautiful Ecology Retreat Centre in breathtaking Hockley Valley. Students spent the entire weekend immersing themselves in the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the martial arts. They trained in Aikido, Judo, Meditation, Jodo, Chito-Ryu Karate-Do, Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate-Do, Grappling and Capoeira. See below for some student experiences and pictures.

The summer camp is a great chance to get away from all the day to day worries and renew yourself by particpating in an intense weekend of martial arts. You have the opportunity to challenge and push yourself beyond your previously defined limits, all in the company of some great, like-minded men and women. Each intensive day and evening gets started with a 6:00am jog and exercise and is followed by both instructional and challenging classes

Student Experiences

It's hard to believe
that almost 2 weeks have passed since the 2000 Martial Arts camp weekend. Most of the bruises and aches are now gone, but I wore them proudly as a symbol of the hard work and dedication of the weekend. I still find myself smiling those little private smiles at some of the many special moments of the weekend. These are experiences that will last a lifetime.

The camp weekend was many things for me. It was an incredible workout, a test to see how far I could push myself, a chance to learn from some of the greatest masters in the martial arts, and most of all a chance to share some special time with a great group of people. We were very lucky to have such an amazing, supportive and fun group of people to train with. There was a great time had in sharing experiences, talking over meals and around the campfire. It was a treat to spend some time talking to Sensei and his peers outside of class.

The training was truly inspiring. I really did enjoy all the sessions (even the run was fun in parts). Some of the highlights for me included Jodo, kicking class, Chinese sticky hand and holding the hand to learn moving around, and Aikido (surprise Rick!). I had great fun with Capoeira and Judo and all the other sessions. Somehow the Sensei's made all the sessions fun and interesting. I learned from and enjoyed all of them.

All too soon the weekend was over and we had to drag our weary bodies home. The warm bath did feel good, but somehow the evening seemed empty without the group of close friends that seem more like family every day. I've left with the strong desire to better my skills in several areas (I definitely need remedial front breakfall training before next year), and with the inspiration each of you provided throughout the weekend. What an honour and a privilege to share a weekend of training with 3 incredibly talented Sensei's in each of their specialties, and a dedicated group of students. I can't wait until next camp!
Lynn (2nd kyu)

This year was my first Karate camp.
If I had seen a preview of what was to come, I would have bowed out gracefully thinking that there was no way that I would survive the weekend. But to my amazement, I discovered that I can push myself way beyond the limit of my expectation. It made me realize that I can do almost anything when I set my mind to it.

I will never again complain about doing knuckle pushups at the dojo because it sure beats doing them in the gravel. Carrying someone on your back twice around the dojo seems so easy in comparison to once up the hill. I particularly enjoyed the jo training, learning the new kata with Sensei Mitch, doing the judo ground work and trying Aikido techniques. Looking back, I think I even enjoyed the morning run.

I would like to thank Sensei Bob, Sensei Mitch and Sensei Ward for giving me an opportunity to try new things and for making this weekend an experience that I will never forget. Thank you for helping me realize the limits I can reach with determination and effort. It was a privilege to share the weekend with you.

I would like to thank my fellow students for every smile, every 'thumbs up' and every encouraging word that gave me the strength to go on when every muscle ached. I think we all came away closer after sharing the pain and the joy. It is people like you that make our dojo so special and I am proud to be a part of it.

A special thanks to Sensei Ward for making the weekend possible and for believing in me.
Arigato Gozaimasu, Gale (4th kyu)

Wow! What an Endorphin raising experience!
('What a high!')'Martial Arts Camp'…to me this sounded scary at first, something like 'Army or Boot Camp'. I was torn between looking forward to it and being really worried about how I was going to survive it, especially the 2 hour 6:00am jogging. If anyone had told me I would be doing such training, survive and yes, enjoy it, I would have told them they were crazy and it would never happen. Yes, it was intense physical training, but what fun we had! Sensei surpassed all in planning a fun, learning experience for all in a serene environment. Kudos! I think we all agree that we were privileged to have three of the greatest black belts training us…an experience to never forget.

I must commend everyone in his or her determination, perseverance and mind power. So many times we said to ourselves (at least I did, and I heard a few people say it too)... "I can't go on". But, quickly thinking positively…"if we are currently running up hill, then we must have to run down hill to return, I can do that!" and "my muscles are killing me, but this is fun and I want to learn more". A special thanks to you ALL, you helped me make it through the entire training. I only hope that I was able to motivate you as you motivated me. You are all my mentors, my drive, my friends, and my extended family. This weekend brought us even closer together…especially with Gale walking around in her curlers and me in just my towel (sorry if you missed these!).

I found the most frustrating and upsetting thing for me was not being able to participate physically in everything after I hurt my back. I did however, attempt to absorb everything mentally. There is so much to remember. I wish I could just play it back or download it and store it on the computer.

Which martial art did I enjoy the most (besides karate)? Jodo. The skill and precision of using a weapon quickly caught my interest. Having been a professional dancer, I also enjoyed the dancing martial art (Capoeira) (if only I could do the acrobatics)! I would also like to do archery (I enjoyed this in university) and sword fighting one day.

Can I wait until the next summer camp? No…let's have one in the winter!
Nicole (5th kyu)

Where do I begin?
If I had to sum the whole weekend experience up in just one word it would be - INCREDIBLE! everything from the location, the meals, the company, the teachings, the spirit, the dedication, the positive energy and the support. I would find it very difficult to pick one aspect of the whole weekend that I liked and enjoyed the most. To me the whole weekend was challenging both physically and mentally. It really is satisfying to know that you CAN really do anything as long as you JUST DO IT.

Thank you to all for an amazing weekend. To all of my fellow karate ka - thank you for your inspiration, enthusiasm, and support. It helped me survive the weekend. To the Aikido group - your guidance was very much appreciated during our training sessions in Aikido. Everybody - both Karate and Aikido students worked very hard over the weekend. It's apparent to see that you all are very dedicated in your training. I would like to just mention about a very special person who really showed her spirit and dedication - Nicole, even though she injured her back - she still wanted to try and never gave up. Way to go Nicole!!

Sensei Bob for all of his wisdom, and for sharing with us his knowledge of his martial arts experiences and for showing us how to have FUN. The cartwheels and the Capoeira were awesome. Sensei Mitch - for teaching us the techniques to develop flying, spinning kicks. The Kata - Ni Sei Shi Sho - was an experience and it's hard to believe it is an Orange Belt Kata.

And, to our Sensei, thank you for all the hard work you put into organizing the weekend camp. The location was very beautiful and peaceful. I appreciate and am very thankful to have had the opportunity to experience yet another camp. Thank you for being there to help and inspire us along the way.

Sensei, I'm sure I can speak for everyone when I say the weekend was a HUGE success and a big accomplishment for all who attended and we all look forward to next year. Again, THANK YOU to everyone. Please take a few minutes to read this verse. I got it from the lobby up at the Camp. I believe that it truly reflects our team spirit and our organization.


  1. Help each other be right....not wrong.
  2. Look for reasons to make new ideas work - not for reasons they won't.
  3. If in doubt, check it out. Don't make negative assumptions about each other.
  4. Help each other win and take pride in each others victories.
  5. Speak positively about each other and your organization at every opportunity.
  6. Maintain a positive mental attitude - no matter what the circumstances.
  7. Act with initiative and courage as if it all depends on you.
  8. Do everything with's contagious.
  9. Whatever you want ... give it away.
  10. Don't lose faith and never give up.
  11. HAVE FUN!!

Arigato Gozaimasu, Theresa (4th kyu)

Karate Basics outside Taking a moment for a group shot
More Karate Basics Aikido Sankajo technique
We're supposed to do what to the tree?
Learning a new Karate Kata and punching...
Aikido - Basic techniques After the Capoeira class
The Basic Capoeira Ginga Choking techniques
Leg locks... and arm locks
A group picture Seitei Jodo Kata
Basic strikes with the Jo (stick)
Karate front kick Timber!!!
Nature's makiwara Ouch!!

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