Today may be a bit slow for me, after three days of Niten Ichiryu and Choken Kage Ryu. Kajiya soke and Watkin shihan (that’s not the way to address them by the way, but a shortcut to introduce them), provided almost 20 hours of training for a few more than 20 participants from Friday to Sunday. Pretty good numbers for shortish notice and a holiday long weekend in the summer.
We covered most of the basics for Kage, the tachi seiho of Niten and several of the kodachi seiho as well. During some free practice periods (during the Kage classes) I noticed students getting corrections in nito seiho and even the tachi ai bo set, the last few kata of which Denis received from Kajiya sensei, much to his (Denis’) delight. If my health continues to improve I may get him to teach them to me, but as it is I was happy to make it through one of the Kage classes. Long weapons aren’t kind to my weak back these days.
Denis is well pleased that there was a good mixing of groups duing the seminar, and that we had several beginners. There is a bit of a historical separation between a couple of groups, never antagonistic, just a couple of foci of instruction. This year what separation existed was dissolved as we all gathered to receive Kajiya sensei’s instruction. This is, of course, the purpose of headmasters in any art, as a way to keep separate practice groups from drifting apart. As long as everyone considers themselves students of the same teacher, an art sticks together. If an art gets too big or too separated by geography to be managed, it will naturally drift into different organizational units.
I’m afraid I can’t report on any losses of the sensei (it’s not a seminar until you lose the sensei) or similar adventures this far. Denis found some experienced helpers who took care of much of the organizational bits and pieces, and he was properly appreciative, saying that he often heard “already done” when checking on this or that. Like most of our seminars over the years, the participants pitched in and cleaned up, moved chairs and generally looked for things that needed doing when not swinging their weapons.
This is budo.
“Free practice is for youngsters” is a thought that floated through my head this morning. I will have to think about this a bit further but was it mostly that free practice suited others, rather than myself? As I have mentioned before, my style of Niten is a bit to one side, a bit two or three generations ago, so I try to keep quiet while sensei is visiting and to practice his style, as every other student in the seminar does. It’s almost like getting to learn Niten all over again. The same kata of course, the same principles, but different timing and a different “look” to the kata. I have discussed my history with sensei and his comment was “it’s all Niten” so this isn’t a problem. But when it comes to free practice I was reluctant. I was in the kage class or helping Denis learn the bo anyway, but if I had been doing the free practice I would have restricted myself to the kata we had learned. To go on to further material would probably mean I slipped into my “style”.
Is that it? No, I don’t think so, sensei would simply have shown me his method if I’d moved away from what everyone else was doing and I would have done that.
No, “free practice is for youngsters” might have more to do with energy levels? I was happy to sit down after six hours of practice. Also, seniors may be tempted to “help” to teach the youngsters and that is not polite or helpful at a seminar. I don’t mind correcting folks to what sensei has just taught us, but to extend that to other kata is a bit much. It’s not my seminar so it’s not my place to teach. Correction is not instruction.
Kajiya sensei is probably packing right now to head back to Japan and then off to Europe. Watkin sensei is heading for my cabin with Denis (I get to stay in Guelph for a bone scan, such fun) and then they will be heading for Calgary for seminar part II next weekend. (If you’re in the left half of the country you might want to check that out, see the links below.)
http://kamusokai.com/calgary/ Don’t email Alex right now, he’s challenging his next iaido grade in the US this weekend, but next weekend the Kage/Niten seminar will begin with Watkin shihan/menkyo. Oooh, clunky.
I’m sure they would make some room for beginners on the floor.
As for me, I’ll be starting my preparations for the Quebec City jodo seminar and grading. Check the links below. I bet you knew I was going to say that.
July 1, 2019
HYOHO NITEN ICHI RYU and CHOKEN KAGE RYU:
Calgary Seminar – Watkin Shihan on the weekend of July 6/7 Stampede weekend! http://kamusokai.com/calgary/
July 22, Jodo/Iaido class, Clarke Hall, Port Credit, 6-9pm
August 10,11. Quebec City, Jodo seminar and grading with Eric Tribe, Ed Chart and Tsubaki sensei.
August 16-18, Calgary Jodo, Iaido, more? seminar http://kamusokai.com/calgary/
August 31-September 2, Sei Do Kai cabin seminar.
October 4-6, Fredericton Jodo/Iaido seminar and grading.
October 26-27, MJER Koryu iai seminar, Peterborough.
November 8-10 Annual CKF Fall International Jodo seminar and grading. (Kurogo sensei and TBA), Mississauga (Port Credit).