July 16th 2017 was marked by another grading at Oxted Karate School SKCE. Everyone was awarded with their new grade and a clean pass. Results:
4 Orange Belts
2 Yellow belts
5 Green Belts
1 Purple Belt
July 16th 2017 was marked by another grading at Oxted Karate School SKCE. Everyone was awarded with their new grade and a clean pass. Results:
4 Orange Belts
2 Yellow belts
5 Green Belts
1 Purple Belt
Only one week after our grading we went on to the 3rd SKCE National Championship.
SKCE Oxted was represented by 3 students and Sensei Alexandra Merisoiu who came back with a total of 6 medals:
– 3rd place SANBON KUMITE BOYS JUNIOR 12yrs & under Up to 7th Kyu
– 2nd place KATA MALE VETERAN Up to 4th Kyu
– 2nd place SANBON KUMITE MALE VETERAN Up to 8th Kyu
– 2nd place SANBON KUMITE MALE SENIOR 19 yrs + Up to 4th Kyu
– 1st place KUMITE FEMALE SENIOR 16 yrs + Shodan & above
– 2nd place KATA FEMALE SENIOR 19 yrs + 3rd Kyu & above
The total number of entries was larger than expected with 254 individual kata entrants, 242 kumite entrants and 59 team entrants and, for the first time, SKCE had extended invitations for other Shotokan organisations.
On November 20th 2017 SKCE Oxted hosted their first belt grading. Everyone passed they examinations and were complimented on their performance nu Sensei Eric Pitch 7th Dan.
SKCE – Shotokan Karate Centres England (est 1981) – opened another club in Oxted. SKCE Oxted School is led by Sensei Alexandra Merisoiu, 3 Dan Black Belt in Shotokan Karate, British and National Champion, and part of the SKCE international England team. Practicing Martial Arts since 1995, under many reputable instructors from around the world, and competing in the sport since a very young age, Sensei Alexandra is looking to pass down to her students the knowledge she has acquired over the years.
On the 20th November SKCE Oxted hosted their first, local grading at Oxted School, students welcoming Sensei Eric Pich, 7 Dan, director of SKCE, as examinator. Sensei Eric opened the first dojo in Granville Road, Kilburn on 14th January 1981 when he was just a 2nd Dan. Over thirty years later Kilburn SKC now boasts numerous dojos with a reputation as one of the country’s top karate clubs and Sensei Eric has risen to 7th Dan with over 800 students.
Congratulations to all students who successfully achieved their grading:
Graded from White Belts to Orange Belts
Matthew John Watts
Graded from Orange Belts to Red Belts
Everyone conducted themselves like true Karate-Ka, giving their best and every student passed their grading.
Students are locals starting at the age of 5-6 up to adults 40+. In fact there are parents training together with children, making for a an excellent family activity and special time to bond with the kids.
What SKCE teaches
SKCE is dedicated to traditional Shotokan Karate which is the most widespread and popular Japanese style of the art. It is a fast and dynamic style which uses quick body-shifting to evade opponents and launch attacks. It is known for its powerful punching but also employs spectacular kicks, open-hand, elbow and knee techniques. Throwing, leg-sweeping, locking and controlling are also taught as students advance in skill and understanding.
SKCE prides itself on welcoming people from any background, ethnicity, age and sex and fosters a positive and inclusive spirit which aims to develop the best in each individual student. Over the years SKCE has earned a formidable reputation in competition tournaments. Students (adults and children) compete regularly and have won hundreds of trophies – many national and international.
Is Shotokan Karate The Best Self Defence Style?
Have you ever done research on different Martial Arts styles thinking “which will be the best for my child to learn self defence?”. You’re not alone.
Students and parents asked me this question, so I thought I’d write a short article with my answer, which is short:
Any Martial Arts can be “the best” self defence style, it all depends on the abilities, skills, focus and quality and length of training of the student.
You see, if you train, develop your skills, and learn how to use them, any Martial Art can be your self defence weapon. So the answer to the question is: Possibly.
Thus, what do you need to do to be able to use a Martial Art (Karate or whichever you choose) in self defence – which we hope you will never need to use:
There are hundreds of different styles of Martial Arts. That’s a great thing, because we all have different personalities, thus while some styles will fit us like a glove others will not. For example Karate Shotokan, with its low stances, fits be best. While I practiced, was good, and liked other Martial Arts I seem to always go back to Shotokan Karate
Every instructor will have her or his own style of teaching. They also have their own personalities. From some you will enjoy learning and learn very fast and easy. From others you might feel you can’t get it at all. That’s alright, find the instructor that fits you best, so you take pleasure in learning.
Martial Arts are not fitness classes. It’s not about burning calories and toning your body. In fitness classes if you miss a class you didn’t miss much. But in Martial Arts are much, much more profound than that. Miss classes and you will be left behind. In Martial Arts you train not only your body but you keep your mind sharp. To achieve that level of discipline you must make an effort to go to every class, even if you have to cancel going out with your friends.
If you want to ever be able use your chose Martial Art in situations which require using your skills, you must train and be consistent.
Learning and developing efficient and effective skills requires time and dedication. It’s not only about knowing how to kick and punch but also when and how to use them, and how to defend from them as well. You must learn about timing, reading your opponent and reacting at the right time.
In competitions we stop the fight when one of the opponents scores. In some Martial Arts there is continuous fighting, but not in Karate.
Although competitions are not real life fighting they can place you in situations where you need to make fast decisions, and teach you how to read and react to an opponent you’ve never met before.
You also experience what it means to be hit, not knocked out (well, depending on the Martial Arts you choose this might happen) but enough to show you how it feels and teach you how to react.
You see, if you never experience being hit in a controlled environment, your body will not know what to do in a real life situation. I experienced this when I was attacked on the street. I was hit but didn’t blink, it was normal for me, my body wasn’t shocked because it was nothing new, and so I was able to respond with a more clear mind.
The difference between a successful Martial Arts practitioner and others (whatever success means to each of us) is that they make a commitment to train, be consistent, have patience, and give their bet at every single lesson. The techniques become their second nature and if they ever need to use them in life threatening situations, their bodies will react immediately.
Remember, however, that your aim is to avoid any form of violence, whether verbal of physical.
It was a long time ago, but not that long, when I was skipping Karate training because of exams, stress and the pressure. I remember well how exhausted I was after spending hours upon hours sitting in for courses, travelling back home (over 1h) just to study some more.
I was lucky enough to have parents who understood that physical strength and fitness means mental strength and productivity. I was also lucky that they never forced me into sports. They knew exactly how to guide me so I don’t end up hating the very art that formed me.
I remember trying to convince my mum, showing how much I have to study and how many projects I was working on, but my case couldn’t stand. She knew better, that I will do more work and study easier if I had a break. You see, I’ve always been a bit of a workaholic, as a student and adult. So she would take time out of her evening to drive me to my Karate class. Not always, sometimes she would see there is a lot to do, but at lest twice a week, she would encourage me to train for 2 hours, if not more often.
The truth is the most difficult part was until I got there. Of course, my parents never ever pushed or forced me to go training. Instead, their strategy was “go 2 more times, if you don’t like it you don’t have to go anymore”. They got me with this every single time. Of course I liked it, it was and still is my life.
Anyway, back to exams. The reality is that coming back home after 3-4 hours (including travelling and Karate class) I was less stressed, less worries, felt less pressure, and I was more relaxed, calmer, more patient, focused and a lot more productive.
I think I was able to do in 2 hours after a Karate class what I’ d normally do in 3 hours or so. Just because I was more productive.
I guess when I moved to Oxted and realised there aren’t many options to learn the traditional art of Shotokan Karate, I saw it as my responsibility as a 3rd Dan Black Belt to bring the art to Oxted School students. So I did and I hope students will find in Karate what I found when I was their age.
I’ll begin by saying that it takes a lot of courage to step into a serious Martial Arts Dojo. It takes courage to stand in front of someone who wants to hurt you. And it takes even more courage to just stand as a target for your partner and trust her or him not to knock you out. It takes courage to be a Martial Arts student.
Just by showing up, day after day, week after week, even when things get tough and “life gets in the way” (good excuse!), you build your self confidence, self esteem and shape or re-shape your life.
The truth is you feel bloody powerful when you step on the mat knowing you are prepared, you have the tools to face your opponent, the same tools you will use to face the world and all the problems it throws at you, although the latter will not involve much physical contact.
The nervousness, or those butterflies, you feel when you spar is the same as the one you experience when you give a presentation. I’m still nervous every time I compete or even when I perform in front of the class. I am, however, very comfortable speaking in public. This ability to speak in public comes from my career in Karate and particularly competing. Although competition is not necessary I took this path.
Every time you push yourself to train, even if you are only 10% that day, you automatically build your self confidence and a stronger you – insider and outside.
This is a great example from my life. Training and competing in Martial Arts lead to me being comfortable speaking in public. I’m not the best of them all but comfortable.
If you look beyond the physical, Martial Arts are more than just punching and kicking, they shape your entire life.
But you don’t see that as a child. Maybe later in life you will. So it’s up to parents to guide the kids on the path.
I wanted to give up Karate many, many times as a teenager. Luckily my mum knew how to guide me (not force me) back to my training.
Although I didn’t like it then, I am very grateful for that now.
SHOTOKAN KARATE CLASSES AT OXTED SCHOOL
When I moved to Oxted and saw there is not much going on in terms of Martial Arts, and particular Shotokan Karate (which is the ancestor of most modern Karate styles today) I decided to open a small class at Oxted School for kids and adults who want are serious about learning The Art.
At the moment of writing this article we train every Wednesday from 7-8 pm. But, depending when you read this article, things may have changed. Better to contact us first. Also contact us to book a free lesson.
Alexandra Merisoiu, Founder of The Merisoiu Technique – Institute Of Health And Human Movement passed her 3rd Dan in Shotokan Karate in 2013, under SKCE – Shotokan Karate Centres England.
She went on to compete for SKCE at regional, national and international level, represending England at the 2015 SKDUN World Championships, where she places 3rd at Kumite Team.
After more than 20 years of learning and practicing not only Martial Arts Shotokan Karate but also Daito Ryu, Qi Gong and Ninjutsu, Sensei Alexandra decided to open a small Karate class at Oxted School in Oxted, Surrey, after moving to Oxted in February 2016 from West London.
Although this class is mostly for beginner, there are also Black Belts that come regularly to train in Shotokan Karate, or to complement their own Martial Art. The class is also for children over 6 years as well as for adults, and it is held every Wednesday at Oxted School Eden Hall from 7-8 pm.
You can try the class first by coming to a FREE lesson. Click here to book.
Since 1995 Alexandra has explored how the body and mind works. She has done this through using many different sporting techniques and working with a wide variety of highly respected coaches.
Alongside numerous national and regional titles since 2014, Alexandra has achieved an impressive record at World and European level competing for England over the past 3 years:
*Kata – forms or fight with multiple imaginary opponents;
**Kumite – sparring
For Alexandra’s complete competition record: http://alexandramerisoiu.com/alexandra-merisoiu-karate-shotokan/
Sensei Alexandra is now teaching Martial Arts Karate Shotokan in Oxted, Surrey, at Oxted School every Monday from 6:30-7:30 pm and Wednesday from 7-8 pm. Book your FREE lesson or ask for more information. You can also just show up on the day at Oxted School (Monday – Old Hall, Wednesday – Gym Hall)
Yondan 4th Dan Shotokan Karate
Level 4 Low Back Pain management and prevention (April 2016)
Level 3 Personal Training
Level 3 Exercise Referral (working with GPs to support patients’ recovery)
First Aid Qualified
Founder and Head Coach of The Merisoiu Technique – Institute Of Health And Human Movement
Alexandra is also featured in national and local press, such as The Guardian, County Border News and Ridge Radio Tandrige, as well as writing for several other online platformed. Check them all out here.
With Sensei Alexandra Merisoiu you know your children are taught at the highest level, in a traditional Martial Art, by a qualified and respected professional.
Article published in Oxted County Border News. Read the full article online.
Alexandra Merisoiu, who has moved to Oxted, is known as The Body Engineer.
She is the founder of The Merisoiu Technique Institute Of Health & Natural Human Movement™ and coaches groups and one to one in the ever changing woodlands around Oxted and Limpsfield – men and women.
She has been ranked second and third at the world karate championship and has twice been national karate champion and is a 3rd Dan Black Belt in Karate Shotokan. She still competes at an international level. It is through these learnings that she has created The Merisoiu Technique
In her latest article Alexandra, who is teaching karate at Oxted School, explains why youngsters should practice Martial Arts
Martial arts are among the most complex and complete ways to develop physical and mental skills, which are then taken further into day to day life as adults. The practice shapes one character and personality, and influences the choices one makes throughout life.
Sure, I may be biased considering I have been practicing martial arts for the past 20 years. There are very good reasons though, which are not subjective.
Develops both sides of the body
A Martial Arts student uses both sides of the body. As I always say, your body is a whole unit, we are not made of individual pieces. Martial Arts develop a complete system.
Developing both sides of the body means there will be less muscle imbalances, and less injuries and pain later in life. Furthermore it develops both sides of the brain, the analytical and creative side.
Let me give you an example. As I have experienced throughout my own life, being good and admin, understanding accounting, being able to understand and teach body mechanics, and also design websites and write articles, helped me start a business and grow it without much help.
But this applies to school work as well.
Trains the body from all perspectives
We’re not talking only about cardiovascular, strength and speed, but mobility and flexibility, balance and control over one’s own body as well. We’re talking about mastering your own body.
And I am not talking only about arms, legs and trunk either. But also about stability muscles in the body that help maintain a good posture, and reduce the risk of injuries, such lower back, for example.
It’s about developing strong foundations upon which to build a strong future structure. Martial Arts are a complete system that strives for balance, mastery and perfection, both physically and mentally.
Challenges the mind
Martial Arts are not repetitive. Sure, you repeat the techniques so they sink in, and the body remembers them, but within a few years you will probably know hundreds of different techniques, twists, turns, jumps, what they do and how exactly they are done in the smallest of detail. Of course, it depends on the instructor as well.
Furthermore, in Karate for example, there are 26 sequences, called Kata. Remembering what comes after what and doing them at the right pace, while tensing and relaxing the body at the right times, is very mind challenging. Some of the Katas are so similar that even advanced students and instructors sometimes make mistakes.
Variation and Creativity
If you are lucky to find a good instructor, you will learn to use every little part of your bodies, from head to fingers and toes, everything. These are your weapons.
Besides the self defence part, learning how to use the body in hundreds of different ways will lead to movement and mental creativity.
Later in life your children will not only be awesome at maths or physics or programming or just foreign languages, but they will excel in a few they love AND be very, very good at everything else they attempt.
For example, I am a coach. Biomechanics seem very logic to me and easy to understand. But then I also write poetry, books, creative pieces, blogs (I have hundreds of articles all over the internet now), I draw and paint (although a little rusty, not enough practice).
Furthermore I design and build my own websites and almost all the art work you see around. Being analytical and creative helped me to design my life the way I wanted it.
Do I owe this to Karate and how it developed my mind? Yes, I strongly believe I owe Karate an important part of my development as an adult. But it’s not just me. It can also be you or your child. Join me at Oxted School, Eden Hall, every Thursday from 8 pm, for 1h, and experience it yourself.
Awareness and Self Defence
Although fighting should not be the main reason you practice a Martial Arts, it is a valuable component and skill for children as well as adults in today’s society.
The fact is that no matter how good you are, no one is bullet proof. Learning to fight will not mean you will never be attacked.
However, it does reduce the risks of being attacked. Why?
ATITUDE. A confident and grounded, but not arrogant, individual walking down the street is less likely to get attacked.
PLUS, it is not about knowing how to fight but most importantly knowing how to AVOID a fight. And that comes with awareness of their surroundings and the people around you.
Martial Arts are considered a sport. Many do it for health and fitness reasons. And that is great. I like that.
But what many do not know is that Martial Arts develop what I call purposeful skills.
Many of the movements you will practice in the class will become second nature to you. Movements such as lifting, throwing, catching, playing other sports, driving and even things such as peeling a carrot or sewing become easier to understand, learn and do.
When strong foundations are in place, everything else is easy to build on top. And Martial Arts are among the disciplines that can set those strong foundations.
Confidence and self esteem
Sure, now I compete at international level for England. Now, people look up to me and learn from me. But as a kid I was bullied in school.
However, as I grew up and continued my Martial Arts practice, my life changed 180 degrees.
I became very confident is my abilities. In high school, university and masters I was among the top students. I was raising my hand and I was speaking in front of the class without fear. This comes from competitions and performing in front of crowds, where you have hundreds of eyes watching you.
I got scholarships, I was good at all subjects International Business Banking Finance and Trade related, some better than others but all at a pretty high level.
I also strongly believe that Martial Arts give a special level of confidence and self esteem to children these days when they are bombarded with all sorts of magazine covers models who are photoshopped to look perfect (or what some call perfection).
Respect, Humbleness and Discipline
Martial Arts are about respect, respect for Sensei, the teacher, for parents, for older and younger people, for the Earth, waters, animals, birds and insects.
Your kids will learn to respect and appreciate the world around them coming from a humble but confident place.
They are their own Hero
Karate gave me a unique image of myself. I don’t follow athletes and I don’t want to “become” like a certain Olympic athlete. No, not even secretly.
Seriously. I have no idea who wins what unless someone comes and tell me. I don’t follow anyone in particular. I do enjoy watching tennis, skiing and swimming competitions, but very seldom. I am my own hero.
The only hero I see is the one I look at every morning in the mirror. And I believe everyone should see the same thing.