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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 10:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 270 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 845,165

In Training March 20-21st Saskatoon Seminar Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #245 New 03-23-2009 10:21 PM
What a long weekend. Boy, do I feel bagged. Two seminar days aside, it doesn't help that we got so very little sleep on Thursday and Friday night; we also encountered some really thick fog on the way back home last night that kept me wide awake as Jon's second set of eyes on the road in the dark, so most of the drive was spent warily alert when I could have been sleeping. :-P We got back into the city around 1 last night and although I didn't have to work today and slept in, I could still use some shuteye. I'm surprised we weren't all absolutely kooky during class tonight.

Kawahara Sensei seems to be doing better with his health, from the looks of things - at the very least he was certainly in good spirits. Although a translator was not present at this particular seminar, I actually found Sensei relatively easier to understand - I think that he made a point of trying to state very clearly (or as clearly as possible) what we should and shouldn't be doing and even went so far as to try to break down techniques into steps, counting in Japanese as he moved through them.

In a way, I think that in not having as much verbal instruction, one is able to concentrate far more on the visual information they are receiving. Case in point, I took an American Sign Language (ASL) immersion course some time ago where you could only sign (or even just fingerspell) to communicate - you weren't allowed to talk. In spite of this, a number of the other students still tried to whisper to each other during the lessons instead of simply doing what the rest of us were doing: trying to concentrate on what was being demonstrated so that we could learn what was being said for ourselves instead of relying on someone else telling us. At the seminar, I found that although at times Kawahara Sensei would speak quietly, I think he was using a great deal more body language to demonstrate what he meant to compensate and as a result I thought I could understand a bit more than usual.

We've been hearing Sensei speak more and more of not being rough during seminars yet I'm also glad to see this is nicely balanced by a demonstration of a great deal of the older martial traditions behind some of the movements and techniques we perform. He spent some time going over some things I hadn't done before, such as alternate versions of Nikyo and Sankyo and some very practical hiji locks, including one that he alluded to as a good police restraint/walkalong.

Another highlight for me came near the end of the second day when he sneakily got us to do ten minutes of bokken kamae. At one point it became quite amusing to hear him go on about proper form and ramble about the different ways other schools hold the bokken, telling us to relax and giving us feedback on our form and posture while we stood there all the while. I couldn't help but think that he took no small measure of pleasure in seeing us squirm and took great pains to prolong the experience as much as possible. :-) Yet I actually found his storytelling helpful through it all as a contrast to similar posture-holding we've done in our own class (which is usually in silence) -- it gave you something to think about and concentrate on instead of the discomfort you were feeling.

As always, the weekend was a fun and challenging sweatfest (we were actually able to stay for the whole thing instead of just the first day for a change) and it was great to train with such a wide variety of people, fellow mudansha and yudansha alike. The folks from Saskatoon and Regina are always a lot of fun to be with and it's a shame we in the Peg aren't quite at the place yet where we can return the favour and host our own seminar...one day, I'm sure.

Those of you hoping to hear details about Jeremy's and my Ikkyu tests (yup, we tested!) will have to wait a day or so for the next post -- I figured it would be better to post about them separately and avoid an excessively long one.

Stay tuned...
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