Early in January of 2020 we booked our annual slot for our Hombu Dojo in Lymington to host our annual Workshop on 5 December 2020 as we had been doing for 14 years.
And then came Lockdown 1.
We had already built a considerable learning resource online in words, pictures and video and most of us put it to good use.
The weather was kind and during a Spring and Summer of brilliant sunshine most of us did our fair share of outdoor training restricted by new rules that outlawed contact.
Nearly 60% of our training is non-contact anyway, so there was still much to do.
And Sensei got to know everyone a little better during his 1 2 1 sessions each week which he really enjoyed.
Looking back at the records he kept of each one, progress was good, although most needed a little nudge here and there and were looking forward to resuming their training as soon as was possible for a little more on the spot direction.
There were a huge number of highlights during this time, not the least of which were the "Lockdown Funnies" and the competition to identify the audio clips of a self-selected Karate kata sheet read in Japanese by those who took part.
The spirit in which all of this was undertaken was admirable and just "so Budokan".
Sadly, we were unable to resume our training at Lymington, a place we had happily and conveniently called our home for so many years.
Training took place in a number of new unfamiliar venues where we complied with all of the new regulations, which influenced the ambience and spirit of the Dojo somewhat - but we soon got used to it.
Our booking at Lymington for 5 December had been cancelled, so we found another venue in New Milton, where we had been training on Mondays.
Then there was Lockdown 2 and this venue had decided to close its doors until 4 January 2021!
So another venue was found just down the road at the Community Centre.
A better feel about the place and the people there were much friendlier and it could turn out to be our next regular venue if the price was right.
The new Tier 2 regulations closed this venue down until January and a few days later we were told that Hordle WI would be open as usual, so we didn't have to implement our Plan B for our annual Awards presentation to a car park in the Forest!
The only problem? Saturday 5 December 2020 was not available, so with just days to go we switched to the title of this piece - Sunday 6 September 2020 - the first time we had held our final workshop of the year on a Sunday.
Only the people who were actually going to receive an award were invited to attend as numbers were limited by the space available.
Although we will still be training for a few more weeks, it felt like a poignant end to an extraordinary and truncated year which affected us all in a variety of different ways. Ways which we will prabably never forget.
And pleased to say - "It came to pass that the head, heart and soul of everyone in the Dojo was lifted - long before the Sake!"
The Awards Presentation on Sunday 6 December 2020
Certicate of Rank
Mike Clapham Godan
Alex Blunt Nidan
Ivor Hobbins Nidan
Will Butcher Shodan
James Bryden 2nd Kyu
Dojo Officials Announcement
Mike Clapham Shihan
Toby Mellows Shidoin