Friday, April 14, 2006

Hana Matsuri

Saturday marked the day when Buddha became enlightened. Buddhism led me to Zen which led me to Aikido, so what better way to celebrate than to attend a special training at Peter Rehse's Himeji Shodokan dojo. The three hour morning practice was split between an hour of Yoshinkan led by Michael Stuempel, an hour of Aikikai led by Peter Goldsbury, and an hour of the local brand under Sakai Sensei.

Bryan Bateman of Seishinkan in London and I took ukemi for Michael, leading us through some variations of shionage that were similar enough, though much more powerful than the Hombu versions. I'd heard lots about Michael's aikido (in the book, "Angry White Pajamas") and it was great to see (and feel) him in action.

Next up was Aikikai with Peter G. Again, I've know his rep for years and it was a pleasure to be his sole uke. His nikyo was ferocious, and being on the receiving end of kubi-nage again and again definitely kept me focused.

The Shodokan basics were as intriguing as they were when I visited this dojo three years ago. I think they'd be a worthwhile study for anyone doing any type of aikido. Sakai sensei was incredible; his movements quick, crisp, and from the hips. He is a true man of budo.

After training, we all went for lunch nearby. As all of us met and knew each other from budo forums, our conversations stayed mainly in the cyber realm. It's funny how these days, budoka often talk about the internet more than they do about budo. Ah, modern times...

On the turntable: David Grey, "The EPs 92-94"

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