Re: USAF-ER 25th Anniversary Winter Camp
As some of you may know we had to postpone Winter Camp to February due to Hurricane Wilma striking the South Florida area a week before it was scheduled to occur.
Well, things finally came together and the seminar started on Friday. Due to a change of location -- the Holiday Park gym to the hotel ballroom and due to the number of people sensei added in extra classes and included extra dan and "kyu" (yeah, right) classes.
Yamada Sensei kicked the seminar off in the first "kyu" class. Sensei announced at the beginning of class that he was "colored blind" and that he couldn't tell the difference between white and black belt so everyone could train. Sensei emphasized taking uke's balance as your entered irimi from the ai hanmi grab. He taught basic techniques from ai hanmi katatetori we did kokyunage, kotegaeshi, shihonage and nikkyo. At the end of class Sensei announced that he was no longer "colored blind" and that the next class will be for dans only. In that class he taught the same techniques from attacks. Also, I took the opportunity to take some pictures, and so did Karen. Karen and I were like the Yamada Sensei paparazzi. "Yamada Sensei, look here!" Well, we didn't really do that, but we wanted to at least.
The third class was taught by Donovan Waite Sensei.
We worked on the uchi opening and did ude garuma from standing then from suwari waza. Then we did nikkyo ura from standing then nikkyo ura from kneeling. Donovan emphasized moving both your hand and foot at the same time. What I realized if I don't over think what I'm doing and just imitate his movement that the technique falls in place much easier.
We then had a four hour break for lunch. Clyde Takeguchi, sensei kicked off the afternoon classes. I really enjoyed his teaching method. He would have us work on various openings of a technique to a strech and then we would all break up into groups. I remember one set with iriminage he did three entering "depths". On the first you enter irimi but infront of nage and you do kokyunage, then the middle you do iriminage, then the deepest you end up behind nage you do more of an ushironage throw. Also, he emphasize the balance taking points on each.
Then the next two classes were by Shibata Sensei. I made it through about half the class, and I don't really remember much of what we worked on. I tried to take pictures but it was so hot in the room that my camera lens fogged up.
Saturday-- the longest day of the seminar
Penny Bernath kicked of the day at 9:00 and taught what we call at Florida Aikikai a "Penny Class." But considering we were practicially on the same size mat we have in dojo. (We used our tatami from the dojo plus about 12 other old mats from another school.) Penny started the class with the tenkan throw and she ased us to work in groups of three. Well we had so many people on the mat we worked in groups small enought to get through the line quickly enough before she had us do something new. I was in a line of about 6-8 people, and we could only use about two tatami length ways. After tenkan throw, we did it in hanmi handachi, then we did the irimi throw standing then hanmi handachi, then we likewise did: tenshin, uchi and soto. Then after doing each one individually we mixed up all five openings. After that Penny had us do any technique from g.h. katatetori (the same attack we've been using the whole time) then while utilizing the same openings perform a technique.
The next two classes were by Yamada Sensei and like the previous day we had a "kyu" class and a dan class. It's "kyu" because everyone is allowed on the mat. I took the kyu class. I really don't remember what we worked on. And once again during the dan class I was taking pictures.
Then we had testing: only about 11 tests in all, which is really small amount of tests for Winter Camp, but many people either tested at the seminar in New York in December or at their own dojo. We had three people test and they all did really well. I was really happy for my one friend who tested for nidan. He moved away to Texas last year and we all really miss him. He's like an uncle to me as I've always been able to talk to him about my Dad, Mom and other family stuff. Also, or guy going for sandan had really nice clean technique and really had a great test. The shodan had the biggest change. Sensei actually had an ukemi test where he would call up another higher rank to throw the shodan candidate around. They all did great and they all passed.
The evening classes were kicked off by Shibata Sensei and this time I took his first class. I really don't remember what he taught but I am beggining to really grasp what he's demonstating. For example we worked on gyakyu hanmi kotegaeshi and reverse kotegaeshi. He demonstarted both at the same time. I began to realize that he was demonstrating different but related techniques. The next class he taught was for all dans, and this time I was able to take pictures.
And Peter Bernath closed the evening teachnig techniques from morotetori. We first did variations of kokyunage. He did an irimi and two different tenkan variations. Then we did a one-handed shihonage. Here, I was working with this really big man -- tall, and big. The thing with this technique is it depends on nage holding on as it is more of a connection exercise. I think I annoyed him a bit because I was trying to tell him how it works. He finally asked me where I traind and I said with Peter. He was like, "oh, so you're familiar with this technique." I said, "yes, and I know what he's trying to teach you." Well, we didn't much any where and thankfully the technique changed soon. We were on to line drills this time. One was two different versions of kaitennage with a tenshin opening. You would perform it on each one of nage's hands -- the top one or the bottom one.
Then the night was over and on to the cocktail party. Thankfully, Karen allowed me to stay in her room along with Mary and Gaia (from AikiWeb). I got to take shower in their room along with my friend Mina. I went out with some of my dojomates for dinner after the cocktail party then back to the hotel. I think the four of us stayed up till about 11:30 talking, and I know we all could have stayed up all night talking.
The next morning we had two 90 minute classes. Shibata Sensei taught the first class and Yamada Sensei taught the second. I took part of Shibata Sensei's class but then got off the mat because I got really moody and grumpy and little anxious, too. But I did get to practice with Gaia here. I had fun training with her. I need to get off the mat. But I got back on for Yamada Sensei's class, and I'm really glad I did. It was a really great class. We worked on techniques from Shomenuchi. He did a lot of "break fall techniques" sumi otoshi, maki otoshi and uki otoshi. Lots of fun, and for the first time at a winter camp I didn't bow out and avoid the breakfalls. I just jumped right in and got throw into them like a big girl!
Well, at the end of the seminar Yamada Sensei announced that Winter Camp will be in February again, and at the hotel in the ball room. Everyone really liked having classes in the same hotel -- although we could have used more mat space. I think this helped add a lot more camaraderie to the seminar than previous ones.
Also, I had a really great time hanging out with Karen, Mary, and Gaia. They are some pretty great ladies even though they like to wear bathing suits and to swim in the "cold" Florida Winter.
See you all next year!!!!!