|Over two hundred enthusiastic Kenpo students assembled for classes in Portumnas Town Hall for the 3rd Annual European Kenpo Camp. The event was hosted by the Irish branch of the European Kenpo Karate Association (EKKA) and was based in the Shannon Oaks Hotel and Country Club in Portumna, County Galway. The Kenpo camp lasted for three full days and participants had the opportunity to take eight classes offering a wide spectrum of Kenpo skills from some of the Worlds most respected instructors. The training at the camp was very intense with great energy, it was physically demanding and the spirit among the students was fantastic. A remarkable sixty-five Black Belts attended the camp and they displayed a very high standard of skill and ability. Kenpo students travelled from across Europe to the camp, including contingents from Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Jersey, England and the United States. The EKKA. Irish member schools also gave great support to the camp with students travelling from Celbridge, Wexford, Galway, Trim, Dublin, Enniscorthy, Portlaoise, Offaly and Westmeath to be at the event. The atmosphere and camaraderie among the camp participants was great and many new friendships were established with the International Kenpo visitors.
The EKKA is a forefront of promoting and developing the Kenpo system in Europe, the association sets high standards for its members by providing leadership, knowledge and technical support. Kenpo 9th Degree Black Belt Sigung Stephen LaBounty headed the teaching panel at the camp. Sigung LaBounty has a remarkable forty-four years in the Kenpo system and his students have included John Sepulveda and Huk Planas. The Sigungs knowledge and wisdom was inspirational, everyone enjoyed his seminars. Other guest instructors at the camp were Professor Larry Beltramo 6th Degree Black Belt from California, who is a highly regarded international fighter and has been rated number two on the North American League.
Professor Edward Downey 6th degree focused his classes on the How and Why of delivering Kenpo techniques in the dynamic style of Ed Parker. Professor Downey studied the Kenpo system directly with Grandmaster Ed Parker 10th Degree Black Belt for fifteen years and has been a student of Kenpo for thirty-two years. Belgium Kenpo instructor Wim Sterckx was a popular camp instructor; his classes featured ground fighting skills based around Kenpo principals and theories. Danish 4th degree instructor Claus Pedersen also conducted classes at the camp and his practical hands on experience offered students another view of Kenpo. Two of Europes most respected Ju-Jitsu instructors Per Sørensen and Torben Simonsen gave classes at the camp; their classes focused on control and compliance techniques. Spanish Kenpo 5th degree instructor Eduardo De La Torre from Malaga gave an excellent class that was very well received. Texan Kenpo instructor Jeff Schroder 3rd degree and Celbridge instructor John Burgess 5th degree combined to give classes to the camps junior students. Their classes were entertaining and the children had fun while learning their Kenpo skills.
Camp director Edward Downey was very pleased with the outstanding support he received; the EKKA camp is now recognized as Europes largest and most prestigious Kenpo event.