Category Archives: Martial Arts

MACAW 2015 – Parakeet Marquee Schedule

Read about some of our tutors here, and make your bookings here.  Places are limited.

Sunday 2nd August

14:00 – 16:00 – Silver earring workshop with Adele West.  £30 inclusive of all materials.  More details

16:10 – 18:10 – Pottery workshop with Jane Masterman.  £19 inclusive of all materials.  More details

Monday 3rd August

10:00 – 12:00 – Hawker’s Hut Watercolour workshop with Lynne Holehouse. £19 inclusive of all materials. More details

14:00 – 16:00 – Throw a pot with Jane Masterman. £19 inclusive of all materials. More details

Tuesday 4th August

09:00 – 10:00 – Beading workshop with Adele West.  £12 inclusive of all materials. More details

Wednesday 5th August

10:00 – 12:00 – Summerleaze acrylics workshop with Lynne Holehouse.  £19 inclusive of all materials.  More details

19:00 – 21:30 – Singing workshop with Hermione Swinford.  £19 – bring your own voice.  More details

We are all born with an innate capacity to project our voices and communicate every nuance of  emotion . Music is at the core of our culture and as human beings we are in possession of a unique and expressive instrument.  All birds can sing and human beings are no different. Singing is wonderful therapy and it can also be one of the most moving and important art forms as well as holding an important role in many spiritual practices around the world and throughout history.  Occasionally we lose touch with this intrinsic ability and feel for various reasons we cannot sing as well as we’d like. There can be a real yearning to re-discover our voice, and to do so can be a great joy. It may take time and patience, but along the way there will be many glimpses of the great gift that is one’s own unique vocal instrument.

It’s extremely rare to be ‘tone deaf’ . We all learn to speak through mimicry and can communicate with subtle nuances of pitch-but often through formative experiences we can become nervous of singing with the degree of physical commitment needed for correct tuning.  ‘Singing in’ a song is an extremely important first step for all professional singers, where the simple process of repetition creates a muscular memory of the tune within the body, in the same way that dancers learn choreography.

Thursday 6th August

10:00 – 12:00 – Our family – family tree session with Lynne Holehouse. £19 per family.  Inclusive of all materials.  More details

Macaw marquee

Macaw 2015, Bude

Martial arts summer camp is dead….long live MACAW!

Ok, so camp isn’t dead, but its name is changing to be more in line with our broader vision – a martial and creative arts workshop, MACAW.

At a Glance

  • When? Saturday August 1st – August 8th.  Formal training starts Monday 3rd August.
  • Where? Upper Lynstone Camping park, Bude. See here.  Camping and static caravans, though may stay wherever you like.  You must book this yourself.
  • What? Martial arts, various styles, creative arts such as painting, pottery, live music
  • How much?  You must pay for your own accommodation.  Most students stay at the campsite.  Martial arts training is paid for by student donation using a red envelope system (see below).  Creative arts such as painting and pottery are paid for in advance through an online booking system here.
  • How do I book? Book your accommodation directly with the campsite or wherever you choose to stay.  Book your creative art lessons in advance through the site.  Martial arts training does not require advanced booking, but as a courtesy, please do let us know if you are planning to attend MACAW (contact form at bottom of page).

This year sees a return of our tireless director of martial arts, Mr Liam Grange, bringing his melange of skills to the martially inclined.  We’ve listened to feedback and observed the last five years activities, and this year we are moving towards a more formal programme of events.  We are joined by a new friend Mr David Thomas, who will be teaching a beginner’s course of Feng Shou kung-fu in the early afternoon, Monday to Friday.  Having trained with David, I can tell that you if you’ve only eight years of martial arts under your belt, then there is still plenty to learn from David. This will be followed by a beginner’s taekwondo session taught by Mr Jason King.  By formalising a schedule and catering to beginners, we hope to open the camp to complete beginners and anyone else who may be a bit shy, or wanting a time-table to work from.

Liam giving it to an impertinent balloon

Liam giving it to an impertinent balloon. Photograph courtesy of Simon Tatler, SCVT Photography

Other guest instructors are yet to be announced and confirmed, but we are anticipating the return of Mr Alex Grange, who ran such an excellent taekkyon course last year, and all our old friends will be made welcome as usual.

Creative Arts at the Parakeet Marquee

This year we have another marquee available (thanks Chris!) that will be dedicated to the creative arts – we see the return of fabulous Lynne Holehouse from the local Seventh Wave Gallery with three new art lessons – Hawker’s Hut in water-colour, Summerleaze Bay in acrylics and sand, and your family tree in your finger-prints.  Last year, Lynne’s Chinese water-colour workshop was oversubscribed and produced some beautiful work (here).   If you wish to attend any of these lessons, you must book in advance as places are limited.  Each session is £19, but there is a discount if you book all three.  Book here for these activities and all other prepaid events.

Also returning this year is the lovely Jane Masterman, not only as a student but as a teacher too.  Jane will be booking raku pottery sessions, final details to be confirmed shortly.

Hannah Power

BEFORE – Singer song-writer Hannah Power.

Hannah drinking from a saucepan.

AFTER – Hannah Power performing vocal warm-up exercises with a saucepan of enhanced cider, at a previous martial arts summer camp

This year we are opening the Parakeet Marquee for acoustic sessions to visiting and local musicians.  All students are encouraged to come and show their musical or dance talents.

This year Dragon Taekwondo’s Hannah Power will be singing for us.  Hannah has a wonderful voice, not to be missed.

Local band Austin Powys will be on-hand for at least one performance, accompanied by camp long-timer Alex King, and The MACAW team is busy negotiating another local band to play, so watch the Facebook page for updates.

This year we are lucky to have Mrs Lisa Southard, founder of BlackBeltBooks and local ITF Taekwondo instructor performing an evening reading from a selection of her two published books – Tales From the Tenets, and The Time Travelling TKD Tour Bus and Other Stories, both of which are available on Amazon.

Curry will be devoured again this year.  Book yours now here.  If you don’t book it, Sajla won’t make enough of it for you.  Do be a hungry fool!

Sajla's Taaza Curry.  Simply superb.

Sajla’s Taaza Curry. Simply superb.

Changes to Charging

As most of our customers know, Martial Arts Summer Camp is now in its sixth year.  The first four years training was provided absolutely free of charge, with year five seeing the introduction of a small fee for training, and ad-hoc charges for additional creative-arts, first aid training, curry event and lantern making.  This year we want to offer an improved service, and ideally, try and turn the business away from being a loss-maker for the organisers and teachers alike.

Nothing to see here.

Nothing to see here.

Here are some facts and figures to consider:

  • Marquee insurance –  £600 per annum
  • Instructor accommodation for the week – £80 each
  • 5 days of work at British minimum hourly rate for over 21s = £6.50 x 40 hours = £260

I don’t think anyone would disagree that our excellent teaching staff deserve more than the minimum wage.  Food for thought.

At MACAW we understand that a lot of students are primarily attending for the martial arts, and that traditionally, martial arts clubs scrape a living by charging cheap for medium – large numbers.  We also acknowledge that there is disparity in payments between martial arts instructors and creative arts instructors, for no appreciable reason.

To help close the gap, this year we are introducing the red envelope system for paying for martial arts instruction and for making contributions to the cost of the marquee insurance .  The night before you leave, please endeavour to pay a sensible and fair fee to the instructors of your classes by placing your payments in a red envelope with the instructor’s name on.  Red envelopes and receptacles for the same will be provided, and allow for anonymous donations.  At the end of the week, MACAW staff will decide if the system is sustainable, or whether we will need to swap to a fixed rate system, which will inevitably exclude some students.  Please help keep MACAW running by supporting its staff.

…and finally…with timetables!

Two marquees mean that we can train whatever the weather.  How good is that?  Furthermore, if you fancy an alternative to training, try some art.  Let’s have another massively successful camp.  This year we want to encourage the general public in the campsite to join in a bit more and to spread the word.  We have a great success story – last year saw Chris Chant (below, with Marcie) attend his first camp, and on the strength of his experience – that you helped give – joined a local karate-jutsu club and is about to take his 8th kyu exam.  Congratulations Chris, that’s the embodiment of MACAW.

Karateka Chris and daughter Marcie.  Chris now trains at Doryoku Rye Karate Jutsu in Plymouth.

Karateka Chris and daughter Marcie. Chris now trains at Doryoku Ryu Karate Jutsu in Plymouth.

Godzilla versus Mothra

Godzilla versus Mothra

Its very likely that this year will see the start of MACAW hitting the festival circuit.  That being the case, you can fully expect more of this sort of mayhem.  MACAW will also be offering a range of branded clothing featuring our beautiful macaw logo embroidered on hoodies, teeshirts, polo shirts, rugby shirts etc.

Many thanks to Simon Tatler of SCVT Photography for kind reproduction of Godzilla versus Mothra, Karateka Chris, Liam in orange, Nothing to see here, Sajla’s Taaza Curry and the Macaw Marquee

Parakeet Marquee 2015 Timetable

Parakeet Marquee 2015 Timetable

MacawMarquee 2015 Timetable

MacawMarquee 2015 Timetable

Ancestor Shrine

Martial Arts Summer Camp 2014

This year’s camp was a great success.  I have written up the events complete with some photos on my Macaw.Events webpage – look for the “Previous Events” menu item, Somehow writing about it here seems a bit redundant.  I am currently busy looking for new work and investing time in some business ventures, so once again my writing has been rather sparse of late.

Mini-Event Schedule for Summer Camp

Monday 11th August

Order some great food.  Sajla will be preparing this food in her kitchens and delivering to our site.  If you would like to order, please do update the relevant comment section under the same image on our Facebook page, or leave a comment here.



Tuesday 12th August – 3pm – 5pm

Lynne’s amazing handiwork below, again, you will need to book and in this case pay up front as Lynne will be ordering materials for this course, so don’t miss out.  Spaces are limited.

jase flyer copy



Wednesday 13th August – Lantern Parade

Cost is £1 donation for materials, but don’t let that stop you paying more!  You will need to make your own lantern at camp, I have all the materials, and your lantern needs to be ready for use on Wednesday evening.

A picture of some lanterns

Lantern parade at The Eden Project. Photograph copyright Tim King

training Phoenix – beginners

on saturday I was delighted to welcome a new student, aged 8, named Phoenix. unfortunately i had no dan grades available at the time to run my class, or to give Phoenix some proper initial attention, so I started with my usual spiel I try to give to all beginners:

  • you may feel a bit silly and that everyone is looking at you.  they’re not – they are too busy training hard to care about how you look
  • everyone else was a beginner once
  • just try and copy everyone and do the best the can, and i will help you when i get a moment
  • if you got everything right straight away, i wouldn’t need to teach you anything!
  • shout a lot.  lots and lots and lots

i then did my beginner’s warm up session – this is like a normal warm up, but with the crucial addition of racing up and down the hall, with everyone shouting as much as they can.  this can really help normalise shouting and making a noise, and helps to get shy students of any age over the hurdle of hearing their own voice. it generally makes people laugh too, because inevitably someone will scream or otherwise yodel entertainingly. in the rare absence of comedy noise, i will make some myself. for special occasions, i will insist on cheese-themed kiyups.

still in beginner mode, we move on to absolute basics, complete with a recap of how to assume the various positions.  this is a great opportunity that i missed – on this occasion – to involve senior students.  i remind the not-beginners that it never hurts to recap this stuff, then i stand near Phoenix, or at least where he can see my clearly, and describe what i am doing, as i am doing it.  don’t over-egg the description though, once or twice should be enough.

we progress through basics, and i will take the opportunity to wander the class making small adjustments to any student that requires some.  i don’t dwell on the young fella too much, he’s not going to get it perfect – its enough that he’s there for now.

i notice that Phoenix is struggling with the long stance, and foot placement in general, and knees, the whole thing really.  i ask a blue belt, the most senior grade i currently have, to continue the drilling for the rest of the class.  i take Phoenix aside for some one to one tuition, and though he is very attentive and eager to be correct, he struggles with bending of leading knee, straight back leg, foot angles, hip position.  its then that I notice the parallel lines of the tennis court markings, and they come to my rescue, once again.  this is the main point of this article.

we play follow the leader.  first of all i lead my way up a single line, baby steps, once foot in front of the other on the same line.  then longer steps, giant steps, all on the one line.  i use the baby and giant words.  then Phoenix leads and I follow.  now we swap to using both of the parallel lines, again with the baby and giant, but this time paying attention to each foot being on its own line.

by swapping between baby and giant, and tightrope and train-tracks, Phoenix makes enormous progress in all of his long stance work, and they are considerably better than at first.  the use of lines, language and swapping gives us an opportunity to establish some common terms – fun terms – for leg spacing, both vertically and horizontally, length of stride, being balanced versus unbalanced, as well as a chance to feel the difference between them all.  we now have a shared vocabulary based on something tangible, on the floor, rather than difficult abstract ideas for eight year olds.  at this point, i was then able to start introducing front kicks and front punches, again using the parallel lines with the added geometry of the front punch making a triangle shape.

as an added extra, it gave two out of three blue belts an opportunity to lead the class, a new article to write, and a proven approach for beginners stance work.  i will revisit this approach this saturday, and perhaps get the whole class to do the same, as there are still some with poor hip and shoulder positioning.

i was delighted with the learning outcomes by the end of the class, both for me and Phoenix.  i was very lucky that my friend and teacher,  Master Niall Grange, turned up to help for the rest of the lesson.