By: Sensei George Andrews – IOGKF England OTGKA

Sensei George Andrews recently returned from Siberia & Russia where he conducted a Gasshuku for over 100 eager participants...


After an 8 hour flight from London I arrived at Tomsk Airport, where I was met by the senior representative Sensei Andrei Odinsov and his friend Alex. Walking outside there was still evidence of snow that fell the previous week, but today the temperature would rise to 30c, which was quite welcoming, but for me a few hours sleep would replenish my energy.

The next day I was invited by a friend of Sensei Andrei’s who is a member of the Russian Federation Military who he had a wonderful personality and was such a gentleman, who entertained us with compatriot songs and prepared food and tea in the traditional way, which was totally organic, in his Dacha (Russia Country House) and after that he invited us to his Traditional Russian Bunya (Russian Sauna). What a wonderful way to end the evening, that night I slept like a log.

The next day I was taken to the Dojo where the training was held. It will be a fantastic venue when all renovations are finished, still present are the mural of gone by years of Russia’s past, but it will be a great place for Siberia to conduct future Gasshuku’s.

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During the training I counted about 100 people including many children and it’s always a pleasure to see smiling faces especially from children, I was very impressed with the effort of some of the participants; especially 3 boys with their instructor who is Sensei Alexander who travelled 2 days there and back just to train - now that’s what I call dedication!

The training over the 3 days at the request of Sensei Andrei would cover Iri Kumi Ju and Methodologies; I have put together a program that in the past as bought success and medal results to everyone that I have trained.

After the training had finished I was invited by a charming lady who teaches English at the Tomsk Technological University to speak with a group of students that would be taking exams in English - it was nice speaking with the students.

But it wasn’t all about training; I was taken to a summer camp to see and stay where the children of Sensei Andrei’s Dojo will participate in a Gasshuku during the summer holidays, on our way we passed miles and miles of forest with Birch and Pine trees and suddenly miles and miles of fallen trees. I asked what happened? They said the Typhoon in 2007 destroyed many miles of forest.

On arriving at the Campsite it was totally surrounded by Birch and Pine trees and nature and a river called the River Ob which is about one kilometre wide and is a major river in Western Siberia. After a BBQ, to my surprise, I was taken on a small ship down the river and all around there was outstanding beauty.

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for making me welcome and the Gasshuku a great success.