I have a fairly long garden, which several months ago I decided I wanted to use for light training. I had a small area of decking outside by back door, but a 3m x 3m square with rails isn't really enough room to swing an uke in.
At the very end of my garden I had a shed, a solidified half-full bag of cement, weeds and several piles of ash from where I had enjoyed burning the various junk that comes through my letterbox.
What I would like to share with everyone on AikiWeb is the first stage of a training area which I (along with copious help from my dad and brother) have spent the last two days putting up. Pictures at the bottom of this post, but first I would like to outline my overall plan.
Basically I have covered an area somewhere in the region of 3.5m x 6-7m with decking. This is what has been achieved over the last couple of days. I have a makeshift shomen/kamidana that consists of a dead bonsai tree and a picture of O-Sensei (one of my next tasks will be to make something a touch more tasteful and permanent).
After fixing up the shomen, I have two options, which I may end up combining into one course of action. The first is to blow a fortune on puzzlemats to Aikido-proof the area (currently it is only fit for Iaido practise or Aikido without any ukemi). Storage of the mats when not in use may be an issue, as I will need to clear the area for other uses on nice sunny days. I have a couple of pet turtles that will love roaming about out there. The second option is to construct some kind of semi-permanent structure around the area. This could be either in the form of a waterproof material suspended from above (or alternately a store-bought tent or gazebo), or maybe something made of wood. When the Winter comes it will be nice to be able to continue using the space for training.
But that is for another week or month altogether. For now I have the following: