The first class in the Owen Barnes Room

We held our first session in the Owen Barnes room last night and it was great success.

It really is a pleasure to be in a room on our own rather than in part of a sports hall - no more shuttlecocks landing unexpectedly on the mat during training. The people at the Bob Carter Centre (both the staff and the badminton players) have been a pleasure to work with for the past couple of years but, like any group, we've wanted a room of our own.

Being on our own also means that we can go back to a more traditional format for a session including such things as sweeping the dojo before the class and having time to fold hakamas properly at the end of class because there's no-one waiting to take the space as soon as we finish.
It also means we can return to a 'proper' warm-up session including a full misogi and ki-ai. We had to give up on a fair part of the misogi stage of our normal warm-up in the Bob Carter sports hall: it's not really possible to concentrate on your breathing when there are people in the hall shouting and grunting as they play badminton also it's not really fair to them to make them all jump as the club shouts 'ki-ai' at the end of the misogi. The only problem with re-instating the misogi is remembering it - it's hardly elegant having a crib-sheet on the kamiza table but it will have to do until I get back in the swing of things.

We put down the 45 mats we managed to store and they take over a fairly large part of the room. There are another 35 to come and we can probably completely cover the whole of the room with them, probably even with some left over. It looks like I'll have to go to the room with a measuring tape and get an accurate floor plan and work out how to get the best use of the full set of mats.

I ended up somewhat flustered on this, the first session, trying to get everything organised by myself, as Nigel was the only other person to see the premises beforehand. As we move on I'll start assigning a 'keeper of the keys' for a class so someone else can take over the security and making sure that lights are off, a 'mat monitor', etc. In future sessions the others will also already know where the mats are and how to lay them out and the like. I ended up trying to do so many things at the end of the session that I nearly forgot to lock the doors - thanks for reminding me Spencer!

I took a camera and even a tripod along an totally forgot about them so no photos from this session. I'll try and remember and get some shots next time. Maybe the lovely Karen (flattery will get you everywhere!) will come along to one of the sessions and give us the benefit of her professional expertise with the camera at a later date.