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The Men's Retreat with Sensei was a wonderful experience and I am very glad to have been able to participate in it. A lot of things happened at the event, two of them related to Aikido directly, the rest indirectly.
Sensei, Rembrandt, and I worked with a group of the men on Jo work while we were there, it was wonderful. At first I was a bit leery that they would get much out of it in the little time that we had to show them and work with them. Sensei did a wonderful job teaching, and the deep teaching that he does really sunk into the men there.
After we had worked with the group as a whole one of the men wanted to work with Rembrandt and I separately, wanted to really ramp it up, make it fast and "real". I thought that I would bow out and leave the two of them together. Rembrandt was the one that bowed out!!!! Leaving me as the Sempai with a brand new person that wanted to go fast with sticks, this made me more than a little nervous, especially when Rembrandt walked behind the new person and mouthed to me "Remember you are the sempai." Oh Boy a bit more stress and in weapons work none the less, something that I had an opinion that I wasn't really that good at. So we started off slow, a pattern that is easy, and Sensei had created especially for these type of events, we would ramp it up a bit work on it, then ramp it up a bit more, this went on for several minutes and we were going quite fast. It became interesting to me that my awareness expanded the fast
Last week I was training with Rembrandt after class. It was amazing and magical. We were doing a kind of physical conversation. There was give and take, and an exchange that often caused both of us to laugh. I found that if I used the slightest amount of upper body strength, in the conversation, I would instantly, and I mean instantly do a breakfall. It was wonderful!!!! It would happen again and again. It taught my body what my mind already knew, good Aikido has nothing to do with strength.