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Well, my final blog of my West Coast sojourn has arrived.
I was looking forward to the Saotome Sensei Seminar at the Redlands Aikikai dojo. I am glad that I attended, however, it was the most frustrating of all my aikido experiences so far. The reasons for this were as follows:
The Redlands dojo is a beautiful facility, with all mod cons including air conditioning! A luxury for most aikidoka practicing in the heat of southern California. Great for everyday practice, but for the purposes of this particular seminar, in my view, a luxury that I would have preferred to go without. The problem was the volume of the noise it made. Anyone who has attended a Saotome seminar will know that he is not the loudest of speakers, coupled with the fact that his english is a little stilted as may be expected, meant that unless I was very close, I got to hear little of what he was saying. Which was a great shame. My lip reading abilities are not that good, so much of the time I was straining to understand what he was trying to get across.
Speaking of speaking, on the 2 hour saturday afternoon session, over an hour and a half was spent listening to a lecture, mostly based around society, government, responsibility and such. Which for me was a frustrating and pretty irrelevant use of time. Maybe it was just me, most other people there seemed to be hanging on his every word, maybe they had much better hearing than me (very possible, I have tinnitus), also they were probabl