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Spring Gashuka 2009

Phoenix Karate Spring Gashuka 2009

This years Spring Gashuka took place Saturday, March 28th on the campus of Mt. St. Mary’s University with our Kancho Dan Soller presiding over the day’s events.  We will look back on our 25-year history and say it may have been one of our finest.  We were approximately 60 strong from young to seasoned.  We all traveled far and wide to attend the event.  One amazing thing that jumped out at me immediately was the level of commitment so many had to come and train.  I truly understand what it takes to make the trip since I have personally attended 22 years of such events.  So kudos to all who showed!!  For those students in attendants there would be no disappointment.  Although the day was cool and dreary the atmosphere was down right fired up inside the legendary aircraft hanger we trained in.  It was a morning of rekindling old friendships and the beginning of many new.  One mustn’t forget what makes our Association what it is…. It’s the people.  We have built such a wonderful community that joins forces three times a year to train and train we did!!!  I can’t help but say I am proud that we as a group took the opportunity to go and train with our Kancho Dan Soller.  Sensei Ryan said it best when he said “we all were born in this period of time and have been connected one way or another to have the opportunity to be trained and observed by an outstanding teacher, martial artist and individual”.  Once the formalities were out of the way the training began.  Kancho led the beginning warm up finished up strong by our Sensei Ryan.  We covered all our basic kihon over the watchful eye of Kancho Dan Soller, Shihan Gary Reburn, Shihandai Cathy Melanson as well as myself.  After our basic training we broke off into a very energetic callisthenic session.  It showed the true heart of all attending.  Directly from there we were lead by our Dai Sempai Brendan Spealman in a very rigorous high intensity bag striking session.  Excellent job Dai!!!  We had taken a short break and we heard the call for The Ring of Oyama.  We quickly circled up and the Kumite began.  The fight sessions were awesome!!!  It never ceases to amaze me the level of intensity, focus and desire I see in our Phoenix fighters.  We soon broke off into a hugh round robin of Kumite.  It was a fun way for all of us to mix it up with several other students fighting at 10 to 20%.  It is a wonderful way to get to know other students while seeing many different styles of fighters in a short period of time.  We had several tests going on as the day progressed and we certainly had some amazing results from our Mount dojo.  I was very impressed by how tight the Mount group of students were.  I could see them all lending encouragement and support every step of the way for their fellow students testing.  We once again broke off and had a cool kata session.  Each group picked one kata and performed that kata 10 times in a row.  Short sweat and to the point and it was back to the Ring of Oyama.  I had few highlights that I truly enjoyed seeing.  I loved watching Derek Gordon Jr. Kumite with our Kancho Dan Soller.  Derek was tough and unrelenting on Kancho.  It says a lot about Derek and his inner drive to do well.  Another stand out to me is when Alyssa Marie hip threw one individual down hard and took his back immediately for a rear choke.  Man it was just awesome!!!  I also was in amazement watching Sempai Paul flow into the most amazing wheel kicks.  It reminded me once again the beauty and power we wield as serious martial artists.    I could go on and on with stand outs but I’m sure we will hear about them at Camp Phoenix…but just a little more embellished!!!! We once again circled up but this time only the upper belts were asked to stand in the ring. All others were to sit and observe.  It was exciting to watch the level of skill and power the black belts exhibited.  I’m sure all who watched felt the same as I.  Last but now least we ended with a spirited breaking session by all the testers.  Once again showing the total focus and commitment all had to their test and the day.  At the end of the Gashuka we prepared the room for our ending belt ceremony.  It was such an amazing sight to see such a hugh V with Big Bob at the point.  When the ceremony was over and the final pictures were taken it was time to close out another Phoenix Karate Gashuka.  As always the day was an absolute high for me. 

Its funny some may say a four hour drive is far… I say it’s a wonderful time to reflect on the spectacular days events.

Train hard and often.


Shihandai Anthony Codispoti
Head Instructor – Red Bank Dojo
Phoenix Karate  
16300 Old Emmitsburg Road | Emmitsburg, MD 21727
Map & Directions | | 301-447-6122
Frederick Campus | 5350 Spectrum Drive | Frederick, MD 21703
Map & Directions | | 301-682-8315