All change please all change…

I cannot believe that the European Gasshuku is over, to be honest I am somewhat going through feelings of grief. For so long there was so much to do and plan
and get excited about and now that is all gone. The gasshuku came at a time when my professional life was also in a period of change, good change to be honest but change all the same.

Now I have a pretty simple view on most things, I’m a get it to 80% and the rest will come with inspiration, I’ve tried to be the person who gets things completed 100% and over the line but you know what…it doesn’t work for me. I know this, I generally pull things together at the last minute, I work at my very best under pressure and knowing this means that I tend to go from pressure situation to pressure situation along with a good dose of stress.

Fine. The week before the gasshuku and the entire world decided to message with questions about London and the gasshuku. Now I get it, I’ve been the attendee going to a foreign country and having to get myself to and from a venue for training so in my mind making sure that people had their queries answered was very important. This change of phase made the gasshuku feel so real, to this point there had been a handful of queries a month, now there were many a day.

There was still shed loads to finish as well, the gasshuku was pretty much stored in boxes in Tooting Dojo and the weekend before began the huge logistical process of getting everything across London to the UEL Sportsdoc. This, in the midst of a heatwave in London which meant, basically,  perma sweat! IMG_0487 3

By Sunday people were starting to appear and register and suddenly the gasshuku was upon us, our team, clad in their orange t-shirts sprang into action! We never stopped from this point until the Sayonara Party. The heat built and built during the week and words like ‘unprecedented heat wave’ were all over the media but we continued to train.

Now I mentioned that I was pretty last minute, well the big task that was hanging over my head during the week was the Sayonara Party. As MC for the evening I had to, well keep the show going and by Wednesday I had no slide show done, no plan and a significant level of stress. Wednesday was also a very long day as we also had a an open course so the total training time that day hit 7 hours and a very tired Ciara climbed aboard the first of 3 trains home. I was now getting requests from our party planner for ‘the deck’ and once home only managed to construct the first slide before I fell asleep, head in laptop style.

Wednesday was also the day that I got an offer of a new role that I had been interviewing for, a role that I really was excited about. So in between classes what was I doing… reading my contract!!

It hit 27C before we even left the house on Thursday, about the time that the level of fear for the Sayonara Party peaked to somewhere between bedwetting and a near death experience. I had the outline of a plan but it was a long shot. It all hinged around the purchase of origami paper the hope that drunk people at the party would be able to construct frogs from almost clear instructions.

Task 1. Find enough suitable paper for the 250 guests that were attending. Sure, not a problem in London, the evening before the party. Dragging my other half along we hit Stratford and the search began. Oh and the other thing that I needed was a top. No stress at all, failure would merely mean a flat party and badly dressed MC.

After wandering around the art department of a well known stationary store  in confusion at the brushes and paints I gave up and asked for help. Sure enough there was a ‘kit’ that included the right shaped paper. Problem solved. Purchase made.

Task 2. Find top. At this stage my other half decided nothing more was going to happen before food. Task 1.5, find an air conditioned restaurant. This led to much walking and disappointment which led to us  giving up and finding a spot 34789435_10160445506630417_522411556705665024_nthat had a fan.

Task 2. Find top. I was on my own for this and whilst the man headed off for a pint I was on a mission. I won’t bore you with the details but after speed walking through several stores a top was secured. Although to be honest I was disappointed that I didn’t go for the very overpriced sparkly t-shirt. Still task 2 done and with a little less than 24 hours to spare.

Now just Task 3 to complete… slide deck. I won’t lie, this was in construction up to 20 minutes before we asked people to sit for their dinner but it was done. Actually a great many things were done in the brief time before the party kicked off, tables were dressed, lighting arranged and the balloon wall reattached to the stage… the DJ arrived and told us he was going to the pub across the road. Sure what could go wrong.

It was not long before I was asking our guests to create origami frogs which they would race across the dance floor. It was an idea I had whilst knackered on Wednesday and it was not without its risks. Would people get involved? Would they find it stupid? Would they just laugh at the concept? Well, in true Karate style everyone got involved, even senior instructors took to their knees to encourage (cheat) their frog across the floor.


All in all the night ran pretty well. The DJ was awesome, he gauged the roomexceptionally and as soon as the first song went on people were on their feet. That was my finish line. MC Ciara put down the microphone and I joined the dance floor.

I am really sad that the Gasshuku is over. I have a new ‘project’ but I can’t talk about that just yet… so I’m not bereft of something to work on. I think people enjoyed their time in London, the team got loads of messages about the Gasshuku and excellent feedback. I also have a new role to go to which I am very excited about…and I have a shiny new title… VP of People.




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