What does it take to be an England Squad Member? (0 comments)
Three weeks to go the World Cup and preparations are almost at an end for all squads worldwide. So what does it take to be a England Squad member and represent your county on the international stage?
The Head Coach is Sensei Ohta, Chief Instructor of Japan Karate Association England and JKAE hold annual open squad sessions but do you have to be able to throw a perfect Jodan Mawashi Geri to get onto the squad?
A quick chat with Sensei D’Onofrio, Assistant National Coach, may surprise you, “It is not necessary for perfect technique. For me the important things are spirit, character, willingness to learn, work hard and commitment”. Obviously, you should be training but the England Squad selectors are also looking for more than that. If selected on to the Squad, you will go through hard training sessions that will push you and your Karate to levels of which you had not previously dreamt. If you come with these qualities and are committed to training the Squad coaches will give you the skills to compete.
It is important to remember that you may spend a year or so in development before you get a chance to compete. Rachel O’Halloran, seasoned veteran of the Squad, World Cup and European medallist, says that she herself “started off as a very nervous little girl at her very first session and it now means a great deal to still be a part of that now as a senior member and watch the juniors grow and develop”.
Train, train, train and train, a love of Karate will reflect in your performance in the Dojo. As well as normal and regular Dojo training, a Squad member is also required to do individual practice at home. Supplementary exercises and conditioning where you can are also expected—short sprints, plyometrics and stretches. Commitment, willingness to learn, spirit, character and working hard.
Once on the Squad, you will be in a unique position. As Mohammed Salih who is currently on the Squad explains “you are in a circle of committed individuals with the same mindset and goals as one another, both physically and mentally”. The Squad members push each other and celebrate each other’s individual developments as a team. In addition to this, the Karate knowledge of the Squad coaches is exhaustive, all are 5th Dan at minimum. England Squad members receive the total focus and attention of the coaches at all sessions. The Coaches break down their techniques and then building them back up again to make them faster, stronger, smoother.
– have the desire to improve
– want to develop your Karate
– want to experience a Squad atmosphere and compete
Come and along and try out!
You don’t have to be perfect but you must have spirit, character, want to learn and work hard.
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