Check this picture out. It’s just like being at the Olympics. We’re lucky enough to be in Dublin this week with team England for the world karate & kick boxing championship.

Can you remember (read it here)? 3 of our young students (including our Samuel) from Valley Shorai in Rossendale, qualified to represent team England in this years world championship. A fantastic reward & achievement for their dedication to their chosen sport.

These world championships are an annual martial arts competition where competitors from all over the world assemble to test their skills against the best. Competitors can only enter by being placed in the top 3 in their own national championships (WKKC is ours), attending the required training camps & competing in a number of regional tournaments. This ensures that only the best of the best are in attendance.

USA teamThis year is going to be extremely difficult & competitive, as many countries have assembled (what they believe) is a winning team. We have teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, USA, Germany, Spain, Austria, Venezuela, Canada, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico & Argentina.

To put on such a massive global event costs a small fortune. And with being an amateur (non-Olympic) sport, there ain’t no funding coming from the world’s governments. Including the UK. The only way our 3 students could attend is down to the very generous donations from individuals (some even complete strangers) & sponsorship from a small number of local organisations.

So, on behalf of Valley Shorai, Sensei Neil Holroyd & our 3 students, we’d like to give a huge thank you & shout out to everyone who has given cash, contributed to any of our fund raising events & donated items or bought tickets for fund raising prizes. The club would particularly like to thank our business sponsors Aarhus Fire Protection, A J Properties & B. Sagar Painting & Decorating Contractors for their significant contributions.

I’m learning loads here too. Team is very important to our organisation. Aside of our customers. The creation of a high performing team is the most important element. And watching strangers come together from every region of their respective country to form a team capable of winning this world championship, is inspiring.

Ireland TeamIt’s taken us years to create a high performing team who all pull/push in the same direction & who are able to create the right environment for our organisation to grow. So to see so many national teams doing it in a matter of days is a wonderful thing.

High performing teams are full of ideas too. Ours has recently developed an affordable managed print service for families & another 1 for small organisations too. Both are unique and provide certainty of total cost. And I’m sure these national karate teams will be high performing teams too & will be discussing plans & strategies to take the gold medal home.

To finish off today’s opening ceremony, I’d like to write a personal tribute to Sensei Neil Holroyd…

Recently Neil suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA). And it’s very serious (often called a mini-stroke) as 1 in 3 people go on to have a full stroke. You’ve got to take it as a warning and take steps to prevent it. And thankfully, Neil has a great team around him (Louise (his wife) leading the way) who all make sure he’s following his recovery plan.

Neil has put his heart & soul into his karate club for over 20 years. Both the kids & adults love him, as he makes learning fun. My 3 children have trained with Neil since they were 5 & my eldest (Samuel) is now 17, a black belt & an instructor in Neil’s high performing team. Benjamin our 13 year old has progressed very well too & will soon win his black belt (1st Dan) too. Our youngest (Scarlett-Rose) is only 8 and already a blue belt. Which goes to show that the karate philosophy that Neil operates makes him different, sets him apart & keeps attracting new students to his club.

Neil has made a huge difference to the confidence in our children when dealing with confrontational situations. His motto is ‘karate is for defense not attack. But when you have to use it to defend yourself, use it.’ He does things right.

And he’s so proud 3 of his students from a little club (Valley Shorai) in a place not many people know (Rossendale) are representing England in the world championship this week in Dublin. And I’m so proud he chose to create a high performing team who have helped him recover, so he can be here to coach & even compete in his favorite Kata too.

High performing teams are extremely important to success and not just in business either. Neil’s karate club is his hobby but he takes it very seriously, as you can see with the creation of his high performing team. Who in turn, have made this weeks attendance possible. If you haven’t already created one, maybe it’s time to make a start?