Cumbria Seminar And Competition Recap

By Helen Wiggan
Published on Feb 28th, 2011

On Sunday 13th February 2011 in Cumbria, Sensei Mike Ilderton & myself held a self-defence seminar & inter club Kata competition. Mike also assessed 6 Brown belts whom hopefully will attain Black belt status in May of this year in Newcastle.

The course started well with 30 juniors & 6 adult students filling the training hall in the little town Barrow. The students & parents were amazed at the fitness of Sensei Mike & found it hard to believe that next year he will be hitting another mile stone in his life hitting '70'. He jumped around warming the class up, kicking and punching like an 18 year old.

On the course the adults were shown self-defence techniques, unfortunately for Pete the 1 and only male adult, he became the 5 womens target practice for the day. The kids practiced break falls with a mixture of Kenpo-Jujitsu & karate. They all loved it and 2 hours seemed to fly by.

After a short break and time for some students to leave, the remaining 15 took to the floor in their 1st ever Kata competition. All very nervous they performed their Kata's, Kihon Kata, short forms, sword set, pinan shodan & Pinan sandan. All performed well it was a tough decision, but there was 1 out right winner, tiny William Law Brown Belt who displayed excellent etiquette & technique. The grades range from red belt to brown belt, with a red belt girl taking 3rd place & green belt girl taking 2nd place.

We then had another short break leaving Mike & I with the 6 Brown belts to put them through a tough training session. James who is only 13 but very tall & strong as Mike was soon to find out, when teaching him a sparring combination, James let go with a maewashi geri to Mikes Ribs OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All in all it was a fantastic day & all the parents & children including me, enjoyed the day. We have a great deal of respect for Sensei Mike & think he is just such an awesome loveable guy. We cant wait for him to return to Cumbria once again.

Students from the Kata competition

In the photos 15 students from the Kata competition, far right sensei Helen Wiggan, back left Sensei Mike Ilderton 6 hope full black belts with swords.

Six hopeful blackbelts with swords

Filed under Reviews

Author Bio :: Helen Wiggan

At the age of 12 years my father sent me & my brother to Aikido in Cumbria. On reading all about the art he thought it would be of interest to us. Every Saturday morning we went along and after about a month we had learnt to breakfall and count to 5 in Japanese, after approximately 8 months we had gained a tab on our belt and learnt how to do basic throws. Unfortunately we both didn’t realise that without practice you cannot become efficient and gain belts just for turning up. We left Aikido, grew up married and had children of our own. I moved to Burnley and it was only when my own son at the age of 6 years started jujitsu, the Sensei Alan Clarkin asked me to have a go. I got on the matt in 1988 and have never looked back. I trained 3 times a week without fail. In 1994 I also decided to have a go at Ryukyu Karate with Sesnei Steve Costello, which I trained in twice a week also. I was so dedicated to martial arts that it became my way of life, every day I would practice. I travelled every Sunday morning 40 miles for a 2 hour training session with Instructors of different styles of karate, including Wado Ryu, Shotokan & Shotokai. I trained in Budo with Professor Phil Millner who is sadly no longer with us, but he was a really tough guy with good old school traditional training methods, we would train outside and throw each other about on the grass (no Matts), winter training sessions were done out in the snow, I remember one session having to stand in kibidachi (horse stance) holding a very large snowball, I cant remember how long I held it for but I know I couldn’t feel anything when blocking students punches afterwards. I don’t think these methods would be aloud now.

In June 1996 I gained my 1st Dan Black Belt in Jujitsu & my 1st Dan Black belt in Karate. In December 1996 I became the instructor of Barden Martial Arts in Burnley, teaching both children and adults jujitsu. While running this club the children won many kata & kumite competitions both locally and nationally, with my own son becoming British Kata champion.

In February 2000 not only did I gain my 2nd Dan, my dedication to teaching and training gained me a trip of a lifetime when I was chosen to represent the North West in Brazil South America; here I trained with the COE (Commando Organisation Elite) specialist police force. I spent 2 weeks of learning & teaching, swapping ideas of the different ways in which martial arts work. I was also part of a documentary which was shown on Brazilian TV about the work of elite forces.

After the school where I taught was demolished & closed, I started training at the martial arts academy in Burnley with Sensei Ray Bell 4 times a week teaching the children and adults here. In May 2003 I gained my 3rd Dan in Jujitsu.

In 2005 I moved to back Cumbria and opened 2 clubs of my own teaching Ryukyu Karate which is basic karate with self-defence moves from jujitsu. After being nominated by parents I won teacher of the year in the love your community awards.

In 2009 just by chance after reading about Sensei Mike Ilderton in an online magazine I got in touch and have become very good friends with both Mike & Dee & his students from Newcastle. Mike comes over to Cumbria to teach American kenpo & I have been over to Newcastle to train with him. Mike is always at the end of the phone should I need any help with martial arts. I am privileged to be part of the MALC & look forward to training with many of the instructors I have yet to meet.


Are you a martial artist and have advice or experiences you want to share? If so, contact our editorial team about becoming an author. Be part of our community, contribute an article.