After the Covid-19 Pandemic prevented us from having our annual summer course at Milton Abbey last year (2020), expectations were high about this year’s course. Fortunately, timing was perfect as it coincided with the opening of the country, but unfortunately Covid hit some of our members at the last minute!
“Freedom Day” was also the first day of the Gasshuku. The weather could not have been better, probably as hot as last year and the year before that.
Everyone arrived early on a beautiful morning to the most fabulous setting. Milton Abbey is a very special place and anyone who has been there is always affected by the magnificent building and the grounds. Sensei Chris Thompson started teaching at the school in 1988 and decided to make it the venue for our summer courses in 1990. Since then we have been going to Milton Abbey almost every year.
Training started in earnest after lunch, with another evening session in slightly cooler (or less hot!) temperatures. More intense training followed on Tuesday, building up to the Dan Grading on Wednesday morning. Our usual guest instructor taught Jion and Jitte kata on Thursday morning, when we were pleased to welcome guests from Andover and Bristol.
More photos can be found in the Summer Gasshuku 2021 Gallery.
Click here to watch the Summer Gasshuku on video (by Pete Saunders, Dover Club).
Some comments received from our members this year follow below:
“Last year was horrible, lots taken away from us, freedom, family and everyday activity. But coming to the Gasshuku has given a level of normality back, a purpose, a positivity to go forward whilst things are a little uncertain. We have hope and being here has brought joy, meeting old friends, making new, in our common love for karate within our Washinkai family. It has been part of my life and family for many years and I hope to continue for many more years”.
“I have been ‘parting the clouds’ and ‘seeking the way’ all my karate days. I can honestly say that training at Milton Abbey Washinkai Gasshuku 2021 has shown me the horizon of true spirit, a true honour. A great, honest, hard-working Association. Osu. Dover”
“The atmosphere at Milton Abbey this year was fantastic, no doubt amped up because last year was cancelled and people were greeting old friends whom they had not seen for two years due to Covid. We trained hard, helping and supporting others when needed, grateful for the breaks and for the social life in the evening. Milton Abbey is definitely a part of our life and we look forward to 2022!”
“What a brilliant time we all had, great training and socialising with old and new friends. The weather and food was excellent (apart from no bacon!) You’ve got to be there to experience it – so book early for next year!”
“The 2021 Gasshuku was special to me, as not only did it start on “Freedom Day”, it also signified what I hope to be the start of normality in life. After 18 months of lockdowns and Covid, karate has unfortunately taken the back bench for most people, being restricted to on-line zoom classes, or just practicing in the garden or living room. It was great to be able to train outside once again in superb scenery with people who I’d not seen in such a long time, something Covid had stolen from us all. I look forward to the many more years of training to come”.
“Really enjoyed the Gasshuku, it was a fantastic experience. Washinkai is the friendliest club I’ve ever joined! I’m sore all over!”
This from a Milton Abbey “First Timer”: “This was my first Summer Gasshuku. I found the perfect combination of like-minded people, amazing location, fantastic weather and excellent food. I did a year’s worth of learning and laughing in just four days and I now can’t wait until next summer!”