All change please… all change…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, actually I had a load of time to stew on the flights home, a total of over 24 hours in fact. We finally arrived back from the Australian National Gasshuku yesterday morning when London was fast asleep. It was 04:30 when we landed and stood in line to grab our bags with the GB Invictus Games Squad. I’m rarely the lucky one whose bag arrives promptly and when we arrived to the carousel everyone was waiting to be lucky…the belt trundled by with little urgency almost mocking us.

This moment heralded not only the end of the holiday but a whole new chapter in my life. Getting to this point had been nothing short of a miracle and a series of huge co-incidences. I had seen this change coming, I generally trust my gut instincts… I’ve learned that I am often (sadly) right and this time I really wanted to be wrong. But no. Everyone told me to take my time and that everything would be OK, and they were right, in fact, so many pieces of the puzzle fell into place that I surprised even myself!

IMG_2865The first of the bags start to rumble by and Team GB have realised that they now had a 1 in 90 chance of getting the right bag.

My own puzzle came together with a speed that left my head spinning. I am someone who is good with change but this even surprised me. Of course all this happened whilst I was doing 50 other things… all at the same time!!! In the middle of all of this, a new work opportunity came into focus and final discussions were held at about the same time whilst trying to organise the European Gasshuku. Nothing in my life is straightforward, so whilst the registration for the Gasshuku was going on, I was deep in all sorts of conversations in the broom closet off the main registration room 🙂

Several non Team GB bags go by now, but nothing that resembled mine.

Then something I never expected… ever… I was asked to join as an instructor at a National Gasshuku… where…??  Australia! Now the first thing I thought of saying was a huge big ‘No’ but the guys involved did a great job of convincing me that I should go. I’ve no idea why, they have never seen me teach anyone!

Bikes and wheelchairs were appearing but no bags for me.


The GB guys had that post competition relaxed banter. This is familiar to me, I remember heading to competitions and the focus pre competition with the huge feeling of relief post event. Looking back over the gasshuku I have to say I kinda felt like this.

Certainly when I finally said ‘Yes’ to joining the Gasshuku I moved from excitement to  fear in about 10 seconds!

I owned up during the Kids Kumite session in Aus. to not being overly confident but told them that I had repeatedly pushed myself out of my comfort zone in order to grow.

This didn’t feel like a good idea when considering the gasshuku… I mean, international humiliation was on the cards.

Sure I’ve helped to teach classes and have even taken the odd warm-up for a gasshuku but nothing like this.

So, I did what I do best, I worried a lot.

When we arrived in Sydney we took a few days to ourselves and it seemed like we were in a bubble. By the time we made it to the gasshuku I had worked through my process and I was ready to go. I was 100% in and couldn’t wait to get started!

Over the course of the Gasshuku I learned so much, from the preparation to the delivery and all the bits that go with it! I was very lucky with this Gasshuku though, the people involved were awesome, the groups encouraging and easy to work with. I was really lucky and I may never get this opportunity again, but I have to say I had a great time, it was such a rush, I loved every minute! The kids class was the most challenging as there were so many of them, but the feedback was awesome!


Finally our bags arrived. That’s it. Holiday over. Thursday starts the new job.

Through all of this I have had  great support,  from my Sensei, to the guys in the dojo and friends from the world of work and elsewhere. I have loved my time spent in forests and parks with young ones on my shoulders hoping not to decapitate a toddler to dojo time in Okinawa and beyond.

To those who had confidence in me when I didn’t and especially my partner in crime who was there when the news seemed so dark, to deciding to come to Australia with me. Not only that, thank you for all your support, words of encouragement and the many many laughs!

To everyone, thank you so much!

One comment

  1. Sensei Ciara thank you for sharing your thoughts. You didn’t look nervous at all. You did so well and thank you for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. You helped and inspired a lot of people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s