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Summer School survival guide

Some well-intentioned advice for those who might not have experienced Summer School for a while, or at all.

Preparation and packing


  • don’t forget your belt!
  • a small first aid kit is a good idea, particularly foot tape to help prevent blisters
  • bring a good-sized water bottle: it can get warm in the hall
  • especially for black belts and instructors, it is worth bringing bokkens and bos, as well as a few hand pads, as these may be used for practice

Laundry, bedding and toiletries

  • there is a laundrette next to reception, but bring a few gis if you can – you’ll go through them quickly
  • bedding is provided, some bring a second pillow
  • bring your own towels
  • the bathrooms do not come with toiletries, including soap
  • to operate the laundrette, you need to download the Circuit Laundry app

Kitchen and cooking

  • kitchen utensils, chopping boards, pots and pans, cutlery and crockery are all provided – some people bring their own, as everyone will be cooking at the same time and sometimes there is a battle for the cheese grater
  • the accommodation has fridges, freezers, ovens, hobs, and microwaves
  • bring a tea towel
  • in almost all cases, you will be in a billet with other members of your club it might be worth coordinating who will buy the washing up liquid and butter

There are convenience shops on campus.
There is a big Sainsbury’s in Canterbury. Some innovative types have their shopping delivered to Turing Court. It’s a good idea to stock up for the week on Saturday.

Plan for meals when you will be too tired to do much cooking, and for eating more than you normally do.

Some people share the cooking responsibilities; others fend for themselves. Same with the washing up. Know where you stand.

You don’t need to cook an evening meal on Saturday: a hot buffet is in the K Bar. We’ll head there straight from the welcome meeting.

Social formal wear

The Friday evening meal is a black tie event, so please bring your formal wear

Traveling to Summer School

If you are arriving via plane or public transport, let us know – someone might be kind enough to pick you up from the station/airport

Practice and physical wellbeing

What to expect from the practice

Practice at Summer School is like practice at any KDS course: intense, supportive, and enjoyable. The only difference is the quantity. If you have any injuries, let your instructor know. 

Keep hydrated, eat well, and get some rest between sessions. Drink responsibly.

Practice combines kata, kihon and kumite, but may not all be in the same session. Be prepared for anything!

Usually, practice is split quite evenly between mixed grades and grade-for-grade sessions. We will spend time practising as a whole group and in smaller break-out groups. All sessions will be overseen by expert instructors.

Many kyu grades gain a new and improved belt because of Summer School. You are being graded all the time, in every kata and practice: give each one your all.

Normally on Tuesday, you might feel a slump in your energy. Work through it: once you’re past the wall, the week flies by.


There are showers and changing rooms at the Sports Hall. Most people walk down to the hall in their gis.

Stretching and massage

Warm up for practice and warm down at the end of sessions. Some do this in a group, others on their own. Senior grade warm ups tend to look a lot like normal practice.

We have an on-site sport’s massage therapist to look after any aches and muscle tension. You can book a session at the course.


Make sure you fill out the survey for menu choices and t-shirts when this is sent round.

On Saturday, we will walk down to a welcome meeting delivered by the President of the UK KDS Management Committee. This is at Keynes College on campus.

You don’t need to cook an evening meal on Saturday: a hot buffet is in the K Bar. We’ll head there straight from the welcome meeting. 

On Friday evening we have our formal meal at Darwin College. Get dressed up and head over. After the meal and a few speeches, we will have our ceileigh. After last orders, many people head back to the billets to change and then quietly meet for a few drinks more.

Some clubs organise additional social events, such as meals out in Canterbury, during the week.


There will be an AGM for the UK Management Committee between practices on Sunday in the Keynes Lecture Theatre.

If you need help with anything, ask. There are many Summer School veterans, instructors, committee members, and organisers who will be happy to assist.

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