Zen-Shin Martial Arts Association

176 Soho Hill, Handsworth, Birmingham, West Midlands, B19 1AL.

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Tel: 07976401214

May – The 3rd Phase

Returning to the Dojo

From the 17th of May adults were finally allowed back into the dojo. We are grateful for all who decided to return, and have missed having the adults here to set the example and inspire our younger students.

Listening to feedback from the adults, it seems as though you were also keen to come back to class, not only for the physically aspects, but also the social side, such as being part of our karate family.

Let’s hope moving forward that things will improve over time, and we can put the pandemic behind us. It is amazing how many of our students have used karate to maintain some form of normality in their life. We are so thankful for the people that were able to support us during the lockdown, and hoped we provided value to your lives during that time.

Coming back to the dojo, I have been able to see a stark difference in the ability of those who trained during lockdown, compared to those that did not. Sometimes it is very easy to forget the progress we make when we are consistent with our training. It showed me the impact that karate has had on our students’ fitness level, as well as their overall wellbeing.

It further highlights that negative aspects of a sedentary lifestyle, as well as providing evidence to show, that for many students, Karate is their only form of exercise. If we intend for the next generation to live happier and more fulfilling lives than our own, it is important that we instil them with healthy habits from a young age. Exercise is a fundamental part of this.

The Dojo gets better

Our dojo has also had some aesthetic upgrades. Most notably is the Tori gate we have framing our main entrance door into reception. The beautiful bright red gate marks the entrance to sacred places in Japan. One of our students. Greg, constructed the Tori gate for us to make our dojo more authentic. To us, and many of our students, the Zen-Shin dojo is a sacred place. I’m not talking about a religious shrine, place of worship, or pilgrimage destination, but a spiritually sacred place. A place where we connect with ourselves, in an attempt to reach a higher level of consciousness through our dedication to martial arts.

I want to say a huge thank you to Greg for his hard work and dedication to the club. We are grateful to have someone who values what we are trying to do, and uses his skills to enrich the dojo for everyone.

New Dojos open

During lockdown there was a lot of uncertainty regarding the reopening of venues for our other clubs. Mere Green school has failed to reopen for us. Mere Green library, whilst open for us, it is restricted in class size. The church hall at Saltley is yet to reopen, and we have had to cut back on one of the locations at Harborne. For a time, the reopening of some clubs seems doubtful. With a little of persistence and patience, we now have some more good news to look forward to.

Mere Green club will be moving to Coppice Primary School on Mondays, and remain in Mere Green Library of Wednesdays.

Saltley will be reopening at the dojo in Washwood Heath road on Tuesday and Thursday from 22nd June.

Whilst we are still looking for a second venue for Harborne, for now there is still a chance to train once a week.

We have seen a tremendous return to class from our Mere Green students. We all have adapted well moving to a completely new dojo in Coppice School.

Aldridge Dojo Begins

Sensei Jane has decided to open her very own dojo in Aldridge. The classes will be held on Thursday and Saturday at St Thomas’ Church. She will be assisted by Senpai Suzy. We wish Jane and Suzy a huge GOOD LUCK for them on their new venture. As a Sensei, Karate is so rewarding to teach, and I am sure the students will really enjoy learning from you.

A new timetable

With the reopening of our main dojo on Soho Hill in Handsworth, we also have a new timetable to go along with it. It feels like over the last year and a half we have changed the timetable many times to accommodate the different reopening phases put in place by the government. First it was adjusting to hosting classes online on Zoom. Then there was a partial reopening for students training outside in our carpark. Then some students were able to train inside for a few weeks before going back into a full lockdown. It seems to me that the end is in sight, and we have made a timetable to best suit out students, and to give as many different classes as possible.

Little Ninjas (4-6yrs) now have 3 classes a week to choose from.

Juniors (7-11yrs) have classes 4 days a week.

The ‘Heian’ class runs 6 days a week, with two of them being for anyone aged 12+.

The Kyoshi class also has 4 classes a week to choose from.

Offering the option to compete is important for us at Zen-Shin. We are introducing regular classes dedicated to the competitive aspect of karate. There will now be regular Kata and Kumite classes every Saturday from 3:00-4:30 pm. The classes will run alternately every week, starting with Kata on 6th June 2021. During this time we will focus exclusively on Kata or Kumite from the perspective of competing.  We hope that those who want to take competing seriously will have an opportunity to hone their skills. All other students who would like to take part would are also welcome to take part in our classes. We advise that students above the level of Red belt are eligible to participate in these classes.

Onwards and upwards

That is the end of this long summary post for May. I hope that June will just be as momentous for Zen-Shin and all our students. Happy training, and on behalf of the rest of the Zen-Shin family, we look forward to seeing you in the Dojo soon!


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