On the 19th of July, Liberte Karate's elite teens class was joined by former European Champion Sensei Rene Smaal. Sensei Rene is an elite karate champion from
Apeldoorn, Netherlands, who's accolades include the European Championship in 2011, multiple placings in the Karate1 Premier League, and finishing 5th in the 2016 WKF World Senior Championships in kumite. The session Sensei Rene had planned consisted of a variety of high intensity segments including multiple speed and reaction activities to begin the class and kumite activities, (front hand punching techniques), focusing on your ability 'leap' forwards off your back leg, and a kicking segment highlighting the importance of flexibility and stretches.

Sensei Rene's approach to teaching kumite training, while very intense and specific, focused on the ability to perform great techniques in a relaxed state. This emphasised how being tense during a movement can, not only make the technique more difficult to perform, but also highlights how it can become easier for an opponent to identify the movement you are about to perform. Similarly, Sensei Rene broke down multiple kumite techniques and provided us with multiple ways of completing each technique to ensure that you are getting the most out of every movement.

Sensei Rene also provided us all with very helpful advice throughout the session. This advice included telling us to lengthen our bodies as much as possible during a kick to get as much height and flexibility into the technique as possible. Sensei Rene also reiterated the importance of practicing a technique over and over again in order to continually improve and grow as karate students.

Having someone as accomplished and talented as Sensei Rene Smaal teaching and training with you is such an exciting and enriching experience. Training with Sensei Rene is an experience that us at Liberte will never forget. Each student involved learnt an incredible amount, and will continue to develop our karate with the knowledge that this experience has provided us with. We can't wait to share all the warmups, reaction activities and techniques that Sensei Rene has taught us with the rest of our Liberte Karate family.