Hitohiro Sensei seminar
Well, the weekend course was fantastic. The flock gathered round ours on Friday morning and Dr Dan drove us up to the National Sports Centre outside Birmingham, with a minor detail to Hume Towers at Shipston for luncheon.
The course kicked off on Friday afternoon with a jo class - spent mainly working through suburi - and then onto empty hand stuff. I found the first day very frustrating: what I think are stylistic differences in stance etc. plagued me (as they continued to all over the weekend) and Hitohiro came over and corrected me in many respects on what I imagine is quite basic stuff a few times. I was secretly a bit peeved - I mean, 5 years in I ought to be able to stand up! - but of course getting corrected on all this stuff is exactly what we train for...
Friday night Dan and I drove back to Shipston and visited the local hostelry - a pub which I think my dad used to frequent when he was younger - until the wee hours. Then it was up early the next morning for another drive over to the centre. Saturday went much better - maybe we just took a day to get into the swing of things. Bokken, jo, and 2 empty hand classes, all of which were excellent fun: everyone there was really friendly and eager to train. I found some of the movements quite .... err... "challenging", but what's new there?
In the middle of the day was a 4 hour break (for lunch and a "special keiko" class for 1st kyu and above), so Dan and I wandered off to Telford and down to Ironbridge for lunch. As its name might suggest, Ironbridge is the location of the first ever iron bridge, which still stands (dominated slightly by the power station someone decided to build just upstream from it). I was struck when examining a plate of local information about it, that it's only 250 years since the thing was built. It put the progress we've made in engineering since then into perspective: I just didn't think of metal bridges as being something remotely recent.
Sunday: more of the same, we were warmed up and in a good mood. A fantastic jo class, where I got to train with an extremely nice and helpful yudansha who was really great: we took a jo kata (11 or 13 count I think) and just worked on that, start-top and blending it. Then empty hand stuff, concentrating on attacks or holds by more than one person at once. Interesting.
And then? A 4 hour car journey courtesy of Dr D, and back to Brighton in time for an hours kip, and evening class - where I felt surprisingly unropey given my general level of fitness and the exertion of the weekend. Lots of work to be done on my forward ukemi from kotegaishe etc. though...