Training update

Sitting in front of the computer for the last two hours is making my shoulders ache, and I have a good reason why I don’t want that to happen today, so rather than spend ages writing about the other cool place I went to this weekend I thought I’d knock out a quick post about training before heading off.

Despite moving homestay, I will be continuing to do Shorinji Kempo with Kousei and the guys until the end of November. I’m really enjoying it and now I have a structure to my training as Hatsuno Sensei has decided that he’d like me to grade for the first brown belt (third kyu) before I return to England. *gulp*. I was initially rather freaked out by this, not to mention the fact I felt completely undeserving, but reflecting on it further, I don’t thing it’s a big deal.

Whereas in England getting your black belt is the be-all-and-end-all, here it’s just the begining. In many karate clubs in the UK it takes at least 3 years (or longer) of training to get to that level, in Shorinji, and indeed many other arts in Japan, you can do it in a year of heavy training and practise. I guess that just reflects the difference in cultures – in the West we want it all now, focus on the end goal and frequently lose interest when we’ve reached it, over here it’s seen as a longer-term thing to become part of your life.

The best thing about this decision (and indeed in my opinion the best thing about grading full-stop) is that it will allow me to focus on learning a body of knowledge, and then have a test to make sure I know it, and to correct the things I don’t. As I mentioned before, there are a lot of similarities between Shorinji and Wado, especially in the go (hard) techniques, and my kicks, punches and combinations are all good enough to pass with only small tweaks. What we are mainly focussing on are the ju (soft) techniques, primarily wrist locks at the moment. They are really cool and something that I will be able to assimilate into my karate training too.

Speaking of which, tonight is my first Wado session, hence my not wanting to cane my shoulders by sitting in front of a computer! I was recommended another dojo by Tassie, my Wado instructor before I switched dojos to train with Leo Sensei. He did a few sessions with Takagi Sensei here a few months ago and gave me his name but no contact details to get an intro. So being the resourceful type I did some googling, came across someones blog who mentioned him, via another blog that mentioned a karate internship (sounds cool, might apply, something for another post), emailed them, and in short am meeting up with Lawrence (who also did the aforementioned internship last year) to go to training tonight. Takagi Sensei is actually away for a few weeks so we are training at Arakawa Toru Sensei’s dojo. I think Takagi Sensei may have been over to the UK and demonstrated at the Haslemere branch of my Wado organisation, as googling his name also brought up their homepage.

Excitingly, I will also be training with Norma Foster, who is the highest graded female Wado (Kai) student. She is supposed to be inspirational to train with, so it’s awesome to get the opportunity to meet her.

Also, the weekend of the 13th-16th November are the World Karate Federation championships, which are being held in the Nippon Budokai, just down the road from college. It’s causing lots of excitement that they are being held in Japan for the first time in 30 years. Lawrence is doing some translating for them, so I will get the details from him and buy my ticket – yay!

OK, short quick post my arse – time to go now!

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