England had an amaze balls week at the World Karate & Kickboxing Championships in Dublin. The event was huge with thousands of competitors & spectators…

What was was amazing. Our little karate club (Valley Shorai) based in a tiny place called Ewood Bridge were part of this magnificent event. And we had 3 students & our Sensei (Neil Holroyd) representing England. You just had to keep pinching yourself to believe it.

Our students wore the England badge with pride & performed admirable, holding their own against much more experienced world opposition. Although not quite reaching medal positions they can be very proud of establishing themselves at the very top of the world karate scene in their chosen specialisms.

Then the most spectacular thing happened. 2 months ago Sensei Neil suffered a mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack (TIA) and we all thought he had no chance of performing in the world championships, let alone attending.

But the Valley Shorai team all pulled together. Neil’s coach’s took on extra duties, which allowed Sensi Neil extra time to rest up & recover. And Edd (Neil’s training partner) eased him slowly back to some level of fitness.

The team got him to Dublin. Although a miracle (nearly) in it’s own right. That’s not the most spectacular thing that happened…

Sensei Neil only went and won a bronze. He was like a machine. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator (but in a white Kata suit & not a black leather jacket). Neil blocked everything out, even forgetting he was still quite ill. Nothing was going to stop him. In the final he was magnificent, only missing out on silver by a whisker.

It’s been inspiring for me witnessing the little Valley Shorai family become a team to make sure Sensei Neil made it to Dublin. And then integrating into the England set-up to become 1 big team ready to take on the world. Coming away with 69 gold, 42 silver & 62 bronze medals. What a bounty!

And then witnessing Sensei Neil overcoming adversity to win his bronze too. It just goes to show whatever knocks you down can make you even stronger, as long as you have the right team around you.

Building high performing teams is difficult. But when you see results like this, it’s worth it. And it’s not just sport who can benefit. Any type & size of organisation (even ours) can build & benefit from a high performing team too.

Finale night was fantastical. With top fights & demonstrations from the best athletes during the course of the event. Being an avid photographer Sensei Neil had his professional camera out spending a good couple of hours snapping shots of the fights & demonstrations, to share with his students on our return.

But I’m dreading this week. You see, Neil was clever. He recently signed up for our affordable home printing solution Infinity, which provides a wireless multi-function printer & unlimited cartridges for just £11.99 a month

So, no matter how many photographs Neil prints it’s only ever going to cost him £11.99 a month, providing certainty of his total printing costs. But it’s probably going to cost us a small fortune. Which I suppose, is a small price to pay for being involved in such a wonderful inspiring event & learning so much about building a high performing team.