Thread: Seminars
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Old 04-23-2007, 11:10 PM   #7
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
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Re: Seminars

Stephen Trinkle wrote: View Post
Ledyard Sensei,

I enjoyed reading your ideas regarding aikido seminars.

I was wondering what your thoughts might be on "gashuku" in comparison or in contrast to "seminar."

Thank you.

I am not George, but I have experienced gasshuku (h) and seminars, called koushuukai uK in Japanese, here in Japan.

As the name implies, gasshuku are residential and are far more geared to the group than koushuukai, where a visitor comes and does something like give a lecture. Here in Hiroshima, we invite only regular teachers like Hiroshi Tada to aikido koushuukai and they have been coming regularly ever since I came here. So the issue here is what you can learn from someone who is not your regular shihan (we have a regular 8th dan shihan), but someone whom you know quite well. Beginners have similar problems in understanding Tada Shihan's waza to the the problems they have in understanding Kitahira Dojo-Cho's waza, but this is thought to be inevitable: understanding comes only with training and Tada is one more means of achieving this.

In Japan gasshuku are almost exclusively organized by and for university students in their clubs. Usually, there are no visiting teachers in Japanese gasshuku and so the events is simply a reinforcement of daily training in the dojo, with the focus perhaps more on training. Some of the training is very much open to question.

Members of town dojo do not organize gasshuku because there is no concept here in Japan of vacations. In the UK and the US summer schools are organized and provision is sometimes made for aikido participants to take their families, so it becomes a kind of holiday. This is quite alien to the martial arts in Japan.

I suspect that the UK and US custom was started by Japanese shihan as a way of adapting their Japanese university customs to a new environment, and responding to a demand for vacation training. I have very good memories of a summer camp run by the New England Aikikai, where Morihiro Saito was the guest instructor.

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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