Sometimes during times of darkness, a light still shines. In Aberdeen, Ronnie Watt's Karate continues to glow through this dark period in our city’s history. Guiding students through their karate journey, showing them the path along the way with his National Karate Institute.
During the Covid19 lockdown, all regular classes ceased, and students were facing a long period with no Dojo and no training. Not willing to be knocked down by such a blow, Ronnie and his students very quickly mastered the art of Zoom, to continue Karate training. Using Zoom's internet conferencing technology with fast broadband, Ronnie could teach from his living room to the students in their own homes. Live via the Zoom platform.
After some initial teething problems, Ronnie designed a new style of training to fit small places. By tweaking some of the traditional kata forms to suit and devising new training methods, he was able to keep people moving within the confines of their own home. Since starting on Zoom, things are looking up, and Ronnie has attracted some new students, both young and old. The lightening of restrictions allowed him to take some small groups for more dedicated training, with greater attention to detail, budo and grading. There is talk of a new hall where he hopes to get back to training in larger groups once the restrictions allow.
It has been heart-warming to see the results of the training come through from the more mature ranks of the National Karate Institute. Recently, at a grading outside Ronnie's house, held on his driveway Peter Stuart (71) achieved his brown belt after the grading which required him to perform 7 of the Shotokan kata and the Shodan syllabus.
Notably, Brian Welch (80) achieved his lifetime dream of becoming a Black Belt. It has been 10 years since his last grading and Brian was inspired to come back to Karate via Zoom by seeing others training during the lockdown. Brian had suffered a period of ill health and injury. He felt self-conscious about returning to a Karate class where many of the students are not surprisingly much younger. Zoom gave him the ideal opportunity to get back into shape at his own pace, in the comfort of his own home. It also meant he could stop and start as needed without feeling any pressure. Easing himself back into karate since the start of the Zoom classes in March.
Many of the young children have also been inspiring. To see them improve and respond to the lessons of Karate and Budo that Ronnie Watt teaches is inspirational. Many are well on their way up the ranks and look set to become the keen champions of tomorrow.
Zoom has been a welcome addition to Ronnie's teaching tools. Though it will never be a substitute for training in person. Especially not with a 9th Dan karate master like Ronnie, with an opponent and other karate students. Nevertheless, Zoom has been a vital connection between Ronnie and his students during the dark cloud of uncertainty that is the Covid19 pandemic.
Ronnie intends to continue the Zoom classes and points out how it can be an essential training method for students to top up their karate once things get back to normal. Though it has obvious disadvantages compared to one on one training in a dojo, there are some positives.
Zoom can be done anytime, anywhere with one or many students. Zoom is still an excellent vehicle for karate knowledge to travel, and for students to learn. For example, recently, Ronnie has had students from around the world joining in his Zoom classes, from Japan, The USA, Germany, Italy and Norway.
Zoom allowed Ronnie to continue the karate lessons during the lockdown. Where nobody could travel, meet or visit a dojo. The Zoom class has kept the karate alive and helped Ronnie shine the light into the darkness.
The gift of Karate
The Japanese word 'karate' comes from old Chinese and means 'empty hand'. Karate-do translates as the way of karate, and literally so 'the way of the empty hand'. Ironically, many of us are facing 'an empty hand' in our future due to Corona's impact and the economic collapse ahead of us. Training karate with Ronnie has helped many of his students stay focused and helped them through this darkness. "Ronnie has a gift", I've heard many people say that. I also agree. And it is a gift he enjoys and shares with others. Over the years, I have witnessed him share his valuable gift many times, with schools and Universities etc. Karate is a priceless generosity that Ronnie has given to many of his students, and his karate teaching guides them into better versions of themselves.
Ronnie and his karate are a much-needed beacon of light during these dark times. The Queen did well to recognise him with her OBE many years ago. As did the Japanese Government with the order of the rising sun, and the Aberdeen City Council, who made him a burgess.
Age is no barrier to self-improvement. Anyone interested in joining the National Karate Institute should contact Ronnie through his website www.Karate.scot
Aberdeen Karate continues to make an impact during the Corona Lockdown thanks to Ronnie Watt's National Karate Institue. During the Covid19 lockdown, all regular classes ceased, and students were faced with no Dojo for training. Not willing to be knocked down by such a blow, Ronnie and his students very quickly mastered the art of Zoom Karate training. Using modern internet technology and fast broadband meant that Ronnie could teach from his living room to the students in their own homes, live via the internet Zoom platform.
After some initial teething problems, Ronnie designed a new style of training to fit small places and suit an online audience of mixed ability. Since then, things are looking up, and Ronnie has attracted some new students, both young and old. The lightening of restrictions has allowed him to take some small groups for more dedicated training, with greater attention to detail, budo and grading.
This week it was heartwarming to see the results of this hard training come through from the more mature ranks of the National Karate Institute. Peter Stuart (71) achieved his brown belt after a grading which required him to perform 7 of the Shotokan kata and the Shodan syllabus.
Brian Welch (80) achieved his lifetime dream of becoming a Black Belt. It has been 10 years since his last grading and Brian was inspired to come back to Karate via Zoom by seeing others training during the lockdown.
The young children have also been inspiring. To see them improve and respond to the lessons of Karate and Budo that Ronnie Watt teaches is inspirational. Many are well on their way up the ranks and look set to become the champions of tomorrow.
Age is no barrier to self-improvement. Anyone interested in joining the National Karate Institute should contact Ronnie through his website www.Karate.scot.
Online Karate Lessons during Lockdown
Lockdown is well underway and looks set to remain in place for a considerable length of time. Unfortunately, our Karate clubs and school clubs will remain closed until government advice changes. The safety of our members, their families and the wider public remains our priority. In the meantime we were thinking, what can we do to help keep your Karate alive during this lockdown? How can we prevent the rot setting in and the lethargy, resistance to exercise and good practice winning over? Fear not. A solution is being sought out and is being tried and tested among the senior members. Our solution during social distancing laws is online training. Something that would have been unthinkable only a few moths ago but so far it has been successful. Ronnie Watt (9th Dan) has given a series of excellent, specially designed live training sessions from his living room with as many as 25 students of all ages taking part in the trial. Ronnie hopes to be able to open this to all members very soon. All you need is a smartphone, ipad or computer.
If you are interested in the online training please register your interest and we will notify you when a space becomes available and how to join in.
All Members and School Clubs
WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT
The announcement by the U.K. government that the country is now in the delay stage of the Covid-19 Corona virus pandemic has caused us to look at our position in the wider community while running all our public karate classes and school clubs during this period.
The health and safety of all of our members and the wider public is paramount.
Our priority is to ensure the that we do not contribute to any spread of this virus which may endanger the health of our members, their families and the public. After assessing all the evidence available to us we have taken the decision to temporarily suspend all of our classes from Tuesday 17th March until further notice.
We shall inform all of our members at the earliest opportunity of our plans to resume training
when it is appropriate to do so.
Ronnie Watt (9th Dan) OBE ORS
We have arranged three courses for people who wish to grade in April 2020
Cults Academy 10.00-12.00 noon
2nd Feb Squad Training and Kumite Assessment all members for Grading
1st Mar Squad Training Kata Special for All members Grading.
Squad - Open Championships to be arranged
Weekend of 4th April Grading for all taking part in the above courses.
April Club Kumite Championships.
Please bring your up to date licence for Signing- remember to have your Licence Promotion record as well as your Licence Attendance record signed for attending.
I look forward to seeing you and again and congratulate you for your wonderful contribution towards keeping our premier club at the top of the game, outperforming many well- funded world organisations.
Ronnie Watt Shihan
Our December Karate Course was an eventful weekend with an array of international karate expertise. A major event for karate in the North east of Scotland. Held at Cults Academy in Aberdeen we had two days of Karate organised for all students participating. The visiting instructors were Alf-Ronnie Fagerland (7th Dan) from Norway. Willfried Achillies (8th Dan) from Germany. Leading the course was our very own Ronnie Watt (9th Dan) and Jock Calder (6th Dan) all taking the lessons, and we were delighted to welcome the foreign karate-ka who travelled with their Sensei to Aberdeen.
The Saturday morning course encompassed three halls at the Cults Academy and Sports Centre where karate-ka were put through their paces in a gruelling training and grading session. The training focused on basic, Kata and Kumite techniques. Senior gradings lasted around 2 hours with almost non-stop activity and concentration.
The Sunday saw all the Karateka training together in the large hall, and each instructor gave in-depth advanced kata training. Looking into the detail of the movements and the meaning behind it. Jion, Gojushiho-sho and Meikyo.
Congratulations to all students who passed their kyu gradings and a special thanks and recognition to our new Dan grades.
Several NKI awards were given to some of our junior members who have shown dedication and exceptional improvement through their training.
The NKI Karate-do Kids of Active Excellence
The OSS Cadet Samurai awards were presented to Owen Douglas, Jacob Adam and Charlotte Adam by Lord Charles Bruce, Benedict Bruce and Ronnie Watt.
Sensei Willfried Achillies from Germany was presented by Ronnie Watt and Alf-Ronnie with a much-coveted Samurai award for his contribution to the martial arts.
Congratulations and thanks to all those who took part in this Kumite competition. It was obvious to all our Karate instructors that the hard work has been paying off with evident improvement among many of our karate students. The discipline and sportsman ship was to be admired. The event ran very smoothly and everyone enjoyed the occasion in a safe and well planned competition. The hard work now continues with our Masters Course planned for the weekend before Christmas. All students are encouraged to take part in this unique weekend of karate. Here are the results of the NKI nationals Kumite championship held on Sunday 3rd of November 2019.
NKI Nationals Results
Female (5-9) All grades
1st Charlotte Adam
2nd Aylee Mcintosh
Female (5-9) Novice – 4th Kyu
1st Ariesi Ojendrabe
2nd Aylee Mcintosh
3rd Chiera Dawson/Maisie Thomson
Male (5-9) Novice – 4th Kyu
1st Finlay Jones
2nd Cooper Watt
3rd Henry Johnstone/Ryan Forbes
Female (10-13) Novice – 4th Kyu
1st Milly Mcintosh
2nd Katya Todd
3rd Eva Worth/Eilsa Hughes
Female (10-13) Brown/Black Belts
1st Sophie Jonstone
2nd Nikola Lubizynske
Male (10-13) Novice – 4th Kyu
1st Arya Kusuma
2nd Torin Watt
3rd Andrew Taylor/Ryan Jairath
Male (10-13) Brown/Black Belts
1st Marco Abel
2nd Cameron Smith
3rd Jacob Adam/Nikita Kevra
Male (14-17) Brown/Black Belts
1st Ben Porter
2nd Naman Maheshian
3rd Aaron Keir
Female (14-17) Brown/Black Belts
1ST Charlotte Walker2nd Bethany Garden
Male Adults Senior
1st Stuart Odell
2nd Chris Morrice
3rd Scott Sutherland/Radoslaw Slomink
Female Adults Senior
1st Carole Kelman
2nd Lisa Douglas
1st Connor Davidson
2nd Andrew Mullen
3rd Gabriel Turek
We have an amazing karate course planned for December this year. Six hours of Karate training over 2 days with some of the finest and most experienced Karate Masters in Europe. Our very own Ronnie Watt (9th Dan) OBE ORS and David Calder (6th Dan) will be joined with two visiting instructors from Europe. Sensei Alf Ronnie Fagerland (7th Dan) will take a break from his busy schedule to make a special trip from Norway to visit Aberdeen. Also by special invitation, travelling from Germany, Sensei Willfried Achillies (8th Dan) will also be on hand to teach at our course. Each instructor will be bringing some of their finest squad members making this course and extra special blend of Karate training and friendship. The course will also give students a chance to grade to their next belt and there will also be a Dan grading on Sunday. Spaces are limited so register now and reserve your place.
A unique opportunity to train Karate alongside European Masters.
Book now to avoid disappointment.
Sunday, September 1st, 2019. After a lovely summer, the club took off with the first pre-grading course and Dan Grading in preparation for the many events planned before the end of the year. The session focused on multiple Kumite techniques using the legs. With tips on how to score quickly by enticing your opponent to move, so you can score a quick point using fast punching and kicking combinations. Of course, this is important, so you don't waste energy fighting for a full match chasing an opponent. The summer holidays meant some of us had missed some of the regular karate training sessions, because of holidays or other family commitments. So the emphasis on exercising and stretching the legs muscles was significant. You will likely be feeling your muscles and hips remind you not to miss any more training sessions. Karate is very beneficial for your body and training regularly is essential to your development, suppleness and well-being. A few weeks away without discipline, and you will start to feel these benefits slipping away. If you do go away, remember to keep training. Every little helps.
Congratulations to the students who passed their black belt Shodan gradings today. Your hard work and improvement is an inspiration to the whole club and gives us all confidence that there is a future for real karate in Aberdeen. Wear your belts with pride; you deserve them. Keep training and aiming higher. You have the foundations to become great masters one day. "Your body is a temple" Don't leave the foundations bare, build on them. One day you will look back and see how high you have built the walls of your temple and feel the true spirit that resides inside. This is Karate.
We have a visit from some special guest Japanese Karate masters who will be training our students along with Ronnie Watt (9th dan) on September 12th and a grading on October 6th.
Our national championships are on November 3rd.
There will be a self-defence course held on November 17th.
December 1st - will be a pre-grading course.
December 21st and 22nd we have karateka from Norway and Germany joining us for a special course and grading with Ronnie Watt (9th Dan) and special guest instructor Paul Kee (7th Dan) from Sweden.
The bonds of friendship between Aberdeen and Japan have long been in the making. With connections like Thomas Blake Glover ( the Scottish Samurai) being celebrated in Japan only now being recognised in Scotland after a century of history has passed. Ronnie Watt OBE, ORS has been one of the most robust links with our city and the Japanese since the days of Glover. A link verified by the Japanese when they gave him the Order of the Rising Sun, an award previously bestowed on Glover, making Ronnie the 2nd Scottish Samurai.
Ronnie is a 9th Dan Karate master who has taught Karate in Aberdeen and around Scotland and abroad for over 50 years. Ronnie also founded and organised the prestigious "Scottish Samurai Awards" that has been recognising people of all walks of life for more than two decades. The self-funding awards are supported by his Karate, donations and the hard work of the awards committee.
This weekend 15 Japanese school-children visited Aberdeen. They came from Nagasaki. Ronnie organised home-stays for them in Aberdeen with many of his friends and karate-ka. These children experienced a fantastic jam-packed weekend of Scottish culture and history. The weekend began with the Lord Provost welcoming the children and their families with a Civic Reception in the Aberdeen Town House. They visited the town centre, Dunottar Castle, Stonehaven, Drum Castle and Crathes. On Saturday they spent the day at the Lonach Gathering.
To experience a Lonach Gathering is something extraordinary. Especially if you are from Japan.
The children and families were accompanied by Ronnie and the Consul General of Japan and Lord Charles Bruce. They were welcomed into the arena by the master of ceremonies Robert Lovie and introduced to the Lonach audience with the pipes resounding in the background. On Sunday night the tour ended with a private party hosted by Pauline Dreelan. The party began with Ronnie's Aberdeen children giving a demonstration of Karate. The Japanese then joined in a bit of ceilidh dancing with Charlie Abel from Iron Broo Ceilidh Band providing the music on his accordion. The children loved the Scottish music and dancing and took to it like a duck to water.
One parent of the families commented on how much she enjoyed the company of the Japanese children during the stay. "They were so polite, and I will miss them. I was in tears when they left. It was very emotional. One of them was so fascinated by everything here, and they even took photos of what was in my fridge!"
It is not our differences that define us. It's our humanity that unites us.
On Monday morning the groups met up for a tearful goodbye at Aberdeen Airport.
This is the second such visit that Ronnie has organised for the Japanese in Aberdeen. The visits have become a pilgrimage recreating the historic trips of the Japanese students organised by Glover. The students who visited Scotland over a century ago on Glover's behalf, went on to modernise Japan and transformed it into one of the worlds most important economies. Glover and his students are celebrated and credited in Japan as the fathers of the new age of industry.
Who knows what might come of these modern-day trips, a century later.