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moon in the water Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-26-2010 11:46 PM
niall
Offline
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the water does not try
to reflect the moon
and the moon has no desire
to be reflected
but when the clouds clear
there is the moon in the water
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 155
Comments: 1,110
Views: 619,328

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In Training midsummer training Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #12 New 07-23-2010 11:08 AM
midsummer training Shochugeiko: Training conducted during the hottest months of the summer in order to cultivate physical and mental strength, a Kodokan tradition since 1896.
Kodokan New Japanese-English Dictionary of Judo


It's 35 degrees Celsius today in Tokyo - 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Yesterday it was 38 - over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity is high. There is what's called the urban heat island effect. It is hot. Everyone starts to feel lethargic and low in energy - natsu bate (夏バテ) in Japanese. But the solution - air conditioning - is even worse. Trains and shops and restaurants are all cold. Humans are gradually being shepherded away from nature.

Japanese people have always had a close relationship with nature. The passing of a year has very clear phases and the rhythm of the seasons is marked with traditional events and customs: like cherry blossom viewing in spring and moon viewing in the autumn.

So the Japanese people have developed traditional ways to fight the heavy summer heat. Many houses have wind-chimes (furin - 風鈴). Even a tiny sound gives the impression - real or imagined - of a slight breeze. Then there is a custom of exchanging summer greetings cards. Some people draw their own cards in watercolours or ink and wash (sumi-e) and send them to friends and relatives with a polite enquiry about their health in the heat. And there's a special day in August (doyo no ushi no hi) to eat eel (unagi) to get stamina and to protect against summer sicknesses.

And then there are ghost stories. In Japan ghost stories are told in summer to bring a chill on the hot evenings. Seriously.

And nearly everyone has a fan. There are two kinds: a folding fan or sensu - 扇子 (in budo we have a tradition of a tessen - an iron fan - 鉄扇 - which can be used as an effective weapon); or an uchiwa - a round plastic-framed fan made of paper often given away free as advertising. Years ago the frame used to be made of bamboo.

In budo we have midsummer training - shochugeiko 暑中稽古 (keiko in the heat). A week or ten days of training every day.

We are supposed to make a special effort. If you do every practice you get something - a certificate or a towel!

But actually I don't believe in the value of shochugeiko. I don't think that you need to make a special effort once or twice a year. If you're training seriously and hard that is enough - what more could anyone ask? So I don't believe in doing anything different.

The winter equivalent is kangeiko 寒稽古 (cold keiko) in January. Kangeiko: Special winter training conducted early in the morning during the coldest days of winter to build stamina and strengthen the spirit, a Kodokan tradition since 1884.
Kodokan New Japanese-English Dictionary of Judo


I don't believe in the value of kangeiko either.

But just writing those words about winter is starting to make me feel cooler.

The winter equivalent is kangeiko 寒稽古 (cold keiko) in January. Kangeiko: Special winter training conducted early in the morning during the coldest days of winter to build stamina and strengthen the spirit, a Kodokan tradition since 1884.
Kodokan New Japanese-English Dictionary of Judo


The winter equivalent is kangeiko 寒稽古 (cold keiko) in January. Kangeiko: Special winter training conducted early in the morning during the coldest days of winter to build stamina and strengthen the spirit, a Kodokan tradition since 1884.
Kodokan New Japanese-English Dictionary of Judo


The winter equivalent is kangeiko 寒稽古 (cold keiko) in January. Kangeiko: Special winter training conducted early in the morning during the coldest days of winter to build stamina and strengthen the spirit, a Kodokan tradition since 1884.
Kodokan New Japanese-English Dictionary of Judo


Yeah that's much better. Thank you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y%C5%ABrei
http://www.mangajin.com/mangajin/sam...sts/ghosts.htm
http://ghost.new-age-spirituality.com/japanese.html

photo: Wind Chime used by kind permission of photomix (http://www.flickr.com/photos/randomix/2930109521/) under creative commons licence

© niall matthews 2010
Views: 3889 | Comments: 15


RSS Feed 15 Responses to "midsummer training"
#15 11-26-2010 08:29 AM
niall Says:
Sounds good. That sounds like shandy in England or a panaché in France. I'm sure you already know Japanese beer is very good - light and refreshing.
#14 11-25-2010 05:03 PM
(continued)The Canary Islands are known to have the whole year spring temperatures between 20º and 30º, But sometimes the sirocco wind comes from the Sahara desert and if it is in summer the temperature goes up until 40º, our teacher always says to train soft, but then we are doing one kokyunage after the other, I'll tell him: that is what you call soft? And after that training the best is a little beer with seven up called clarita, that brings you in form again
#13 11-25-2010 05:02 PM
Niall this comment is to warm you up, if it is freezing again in your place
#12 07-31-2010 05:17 PM
The handwarmers, a brilliant idea! I wish I had thought of that back then!
#11 07-30-2010 04:07 AM
niall Says:
Thanks Eric. Yes, you're right. Numb feet and cold floors! I've seen a few people with pulled muscles and similar injuries down to the cold in January. Japan is a couple of degrees warmer than England in winter but I remember one training in kenjutsu when people were putting handwarmers down the back of their keikogis.
#10 07-30-2010 12:28 AM
I always had a harder time with winter trainings. Every morning, practicing at 7:30. Putting on a cold gi. The cold floors. Fighting over the little patch of sunshine for the morning stretches. One day we were practicing jo kata, and after each, we would slam our jo down so hard it would echo throughout the dojo. On one of the last ones, I looked down, and I had smashed it right into my foot--but it was so numb and didn't feel it at all. Left a mighty nasty bruise!
#9 07-25-2010 05:32 PM
niall Says:
Thanks Ziv - great point about cramps and stiffness. Natural conditions are best if possible. By the way I talked about some sounds of summer but there is also a distinctive smell of summer in Japan - burning mosquito coils (katori senko). We used them in an old dojo where we had to put out the tatami before practice.
#8 07-25-2010 01:09 PM
zivk Says:
{continued...} After attending several seminars in fully air conditioned practice halls, I can understand my teacher reluctance towards air conditions. After such seminars I usually suffer from muscle cramps. I recon the reason is the occasional sitting with a sweaty gi in these cool (or even freezing) halls. After such seminars, I feel relieved to return to the natural hot and humid atmosphere of my dojo.
#7 07-25-2010 01:07 PM
zivk Says:
I can relate to the hot and humid summer practices. The Israeli summer is not as hot and humid as in Tokyo, from what you and my teacher say, but somewhat close. Until recently the gym hall where we practice was not air conditioned, so summer training is usually done in hot and humid atmosphere. Even after the air condition was installed, we rarely turn it on. My teacher insists on keeping it off, saying (as you describe) that these are the conditions in hombu dojo.
#6 07-25-2010 05:10 AM
niall Says:
I should tell the free beer refill story. After training on Thursdays we always went for a meal with our teacher Asoh Sensei. And one hot summer they had a special unlimited free beer refill offer for a fixed price. One of the students was a big American ex-marine who after the hard training could put beer away faster than they could bring it. At the end of the evening the manager of the restaurant gave him an envelope with 20,000 yen ($200) in it and said, "Please don't come back!"
#5 07-25-2010 05:00 AM
niall Says:
I mentioned the sound of a wind-chime giving a cooling feeling. Somehow one other summer sound - fireworks - gave a refreshing feeling during training. From the Hombu Dojo in Shinjuku-ku we could hear them sometimes (from Harajuku?) and from Minato-ku too (maybe from the Odaiba waterfront?). One more cooling thing I didn't mention was cold beer and beer gardens! Cheers Billy.
#4 07-25-2010 04:49 AM
niall Says:
Hey thanks Billy. I remember in the south of France we had to use a special pure local soap to prevent heat rash on our wrists (where the uke gripped). Hawaii was hot too but not uncomfortable. But the heat and humidity in the concrete of Tokyo is so oppressive if there's no breeze.
#3 07-25-2010 03:46 AM
Makochan Says:
The hottest training I can remember was at the open air dojo in the base of (probably the car park) the YMCA building in Bangkok Thailand. That was something. Loved the post Niall, I will show Susan. Best, Billy
#2 07-24-2010 05:08 AM
niall Says:
Thank you Daisy.
#1 07-23-2010 04:21 PM
Daisy Luu Says:
Our dojo is not temperature-regulated, and during the particularly cold winter evenings or hot-and-humid summer training days, I totally get how training can be a test of physical and mental endurance. It's really something when you can feel how hot the mat is and pour tons of sweat just putting on your gi and hakama! Thanks for this entry--I learned quite a bit from it.
 




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