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Monday morning. (aka. payday)
Status: Still excited
This Saturday I was at that cross-dojo training I wrote about last time and it was fantastic! This was my first aikido 'seminar' ever and the whole experience was much more fun and productive than I had imagined.
We were a small group of about eight people from our dojo (Renshin Aikido Dojo in Copenhagen Denmark) and three from our sister dojo in Malmö, Sweden. Only three of us didn't have hakamas. As far as I remember we had the Sensei, who is a yondan, three nidan, a shodan a couple of 1-3 kyu students and finally myself (7th kyu) and two other low-kyu students from our own dojo. Our sister dojo brought their sensei, also a yondan, an ikkyu and a nikkyu student.
The seminar was to be held at a place called Tokai University Boarding School which is, as far as I understand, a boarding school for Japanese students. The students are very active judo practitioners and some of them also practices Kendo and Karate, so there were gis hanging to dry everywhere and the intercom interrupted now and again to announce something in Japanese I didn't quite understand . This all added to the Japanese feel of the place and set the mood from the start.
As we got there we were shown to their amazing sports facility and from there to the built-on dojo known as the Judo room. It was about a 100 tatami sized room with arching beams that supported the ceiling 6-7m above the floor. The room had three of its sides out towards the trees and big windows so the view was infinetely better than from our own urban dojo. It really was spectacular.
I had feared that the seminar would be for senior students only, but that turned out to be far from the truth. People of all ages, sizes and ranks were there to train, even very young ones. We started out by doing Aikido Toho (Iaido) for an hour, concentrating on the two first techniques. This may sound strange, but being in a room with 50-60 other people doing iaido completely silent was an amazing and incredibly peaceful experience. I realise that this may sound odd, but I hope you know what I mean. Having that long to go in-depth in the techniques and receiving tips from the instructor was really beneficial. I got a whole new understanding of the techniques, although it must be said that I hadn't done them in a long time.
After a short break we begun the Aikido training. Our sensei, being one of the three head instructors there, taught the first session. His warmup was intense as always, and some of the other aikidoka seemed taken a bit aback by this He then proceeded to show the first technique, gyaku hanmi tenkan ikkyo (as far as I remember) and we started. I paired up with another lower kyu grade from one of the other dojos. That day it seemed like the very same footwork I had trouble with last time (kosa dachi?) worked surprisingly well.
We continued doing gyaku hanmi techniques, the sempai doing variations with jo and bokken for the remainder of the session.
After another short break and a quick change of gi we started the final session. This time a senior instructor from the host dojo taught the class, and we started by doing tsuki irimi nage. We continued doing techniques against tsuki for some time, and went on to kotegaishi. The instructor demonstrated two very interesting counter-techniques to kotegaishi and we all tried them. Trying to actively work against your partner was an interesting experience. I haven't tried many counter moves yet, so this was hard but very beneficial for me. You get a whole new sense of the technique when you try to act actively against it. At this point I was training with a sempai and I only landed one successful kotegaishi.
At the end he concluded with a technique that falls outside our school. (we follow Nishio Sensei) It looked a bit like iriminage against tsuki, but after you evade/parry the tsuki you put your left arm around ukes back and jab the knuckle of your thumb against the right side of his ribcage. This causes uke to shift to the side rapidly, breaking his balance and making the takedown easy. Very interesting... I have no idea what it is called, so feel free to enlighten me.
All in all it was a great experience. It was interesting to see the differences of style between dojos that follow the ssame school. It was apparent (to me at least) that my own dojo have a more 'martial' interpretation of Nishio Sensei's techniques.
Oh well, all good things must come to an end but I am really looking forward to the next seminar whenever that may be.