Saturday, 26 July 2014

Quick overview and some feedback from the Aikido / Budo Kenshu seminar in Tauranga - 23 July 2014

Hey all,

sorry for the lower frequency of posts recently, but it is likely to persist for another while as other work demands my focus and attention - the fruits of which I hope to be able to share with you at a later stage.

Nonetheless, some sharing took place last weekend in Tauranga where I taught a seminar for the third time round. No photos were taken, nor videos made this time round. All there was was some excellent and most enjoyable work form all the attendees as we explored some of the questions I proposed. I've quite come to like this type of seminar teaching, in which I don't simply present something that I am presumably good at, but share what I am currently trying and working on in my own practice, what works, what doesn't work and what I think about it as I find my way through it. In this format, I think of the dojo as a laboratory and everyone on the mat, including myself, as a research team. I just happen to throw in the research question and then we see what we find out about it throughout the day, if we keep some of what we have found, discard it all, or else.
A photo from last times massage element

This time round the entire day was at its core based around being and always staying centred, or connected, using the body as a unit, or whatever else you might want to call it (much in the way I have described in a recent post) and to keep it that way no matter what changes of position we might make or might come in from the outside. Throughout the day we started this exploration by actually trying to breath in such a way that we equally expand in all six directions during breathing. This established a most fundamental sense of connection that we then carried forth into the rest of the day, as we tried to keep it through 'simple' activities such as sitting down and standing up, walking, changing directions and then actually having to deal with an opponent that comes in to grab or strike us.

In regards to some of the other topics touched upon throughout the day, from relaxation, to mobility, striking/atemi and massage, I will share a very kind piece of feedback that I have been sent and that has been approved for posting:

First and foremost, thank you for a wonderful and fulfilling day on Saturday at our Tauranga dojo.

For each of us pursuing excellence in Aikido, we must each follow the path that leads us towards our perceived destination, occasionally changing direction to adapt to circumstances in either our physical or mental space. It is a journey that requires dedication and focus, and your seminar highlighted the very real space of relaxation for me. 

I recall reading a story about an elderly Japanese sensei that had the opportunity to train with O'Sensei. When asked, by the interviewer, of his most memorable moments whilst training with O'Sensei, his reply was "he was always relaxed with every move he made and in all circumstances".

There is no doubt that O'Sensei was an accomplished exponent of Aikido in it's purest form, elevated to the highest levels, and for him to train in such a manner is obviously worth considering. We touched on it during your seminar, and I found this area of training to be exciting on many levels and plains.

Thank you.
Dean Spense, Shodan, Tauranga Shinryukan Aikido Dojo"