Sometimes, it’s the simple things in life that hold the most meaning. Karate, for me, has always transcended mere physical training and skill development. It imparts valuable life lessons in the subtle beauty of good technique, which is starkly contrasted with the reality of combat.

Similarly, a gasshuku – a weekend of intense training amidst nature – offers more than just physical growth. It’s a time for personal reflection and introspection, a period of subtle yet profound transformation. A gasshuku compels us to momentarily set aside life’s distractions and delve deeper into our own journey, re-evaluating the fundamental aspects of our karate practice.

In the Spring of 2023, I had the privilege of being part of the Claremont Dojo, sharing this unique experience with like-minded individuals who embrace values such as respect, sincerity, humility, and commitment. We all shared a common goal: to progress on our individual karate journeys. 22 Waterfalls became a place where we, despite our diverse backgrounds, came together to sweat, learn, and grow. Our instructors were not just teachers but fellow students on this learning journey.

Of course amid all the training and obligatory dojo-ball, (you can’t have a gasshuku without it) there was a moment of healthy competition and teamwork during the obstacle course – a definite highlight, depending on which side of the winning team you found yourself.

These special moments in life can easily slip by unnoticed if we don’t make an effort to acknowledge and cherish them. Sharing time with fellow karate enthusiasts, in a place as unique as 22 Waterfalls during the Spring of 2023, is one of those timeless memories that I will forever hold dear. And I look forward to creating more of these moments in the future.

Sensei Annelize Morkel | Vyeboom Dojo | 5th Dan KSI