There is an inflection point in every natural process, OK so I might have read a few more work emails recently 🙂 . It is true though, I couldn’t help thinking that we had reached such a point today. The effects of training were very much in evidence as I set out for the karate kaiken this morning, the legs were tired but the morning sun was doing a good job of trying to make a break for it and I felt that I was living up to my personal challenge. Smiling faces waved at me as they zoomed past in taxis up the humongous hill to the dojo and I was struck by just how many face I knew from the gasshuku. People I had traveled with, trained with and laughed with, or they were just happy not to be running up a big hill first thing in the morning…
There has been a huge amount of storytelling and sharing of karate journeys over the course of the week, many should never be repeated and others are in fact the stuff of legend. Every now and again I remind myself to look around the room and remind myself how lucky I am! Lucky that I found people with the same sort of passion as I have experienced through my life. Of course, the truth is we are all nutters, but I guess there is some sort of group therapy to be found at a gasshuku 🙂
There is probably more truth to this than humor, certainly there is a huge sense of ‘family’ in IOGKF and lets face it, families help, support and keep people in line 🙂 Jokes aside, it was one of the things that really amazed me in IOGKF !
I have only been part of IOGKF for about 10 years or so, which is a blip compared to the lifelong experiences of some members. However, the one thing that I know for sure now, is that I have had the most amazing experiences in the last 10 years…and how do I measure that?
Well, I just look around the room at a gasshuku. I have had made friends from all walks of life, from all over the world, friendships that, most importantly, and unusually, extend beyond the dojo.
The gasshuku massive also looks after each other, lone travelers are quickly assimilated into the various sub-groups and made to feel welcome. Rarely is anyone left out and there is a great feeling of comradery through out the gasshuku.
Take the Aussies on this gasshukus, they match the profile as described above, all nutters, all passionate about karate, all lovely lads, and they have an ingenious method of making sure no one is left behind… how, they sound out numbers… (which I guess is a military thing) everyone has a number, they shout out in order, a missing number from 1-10 = someone is missing… today… they gave me my number… I am 11!
Everyone is now starting to think about the end of the gasshuku and their trips home. Sayonara Party arrangements are being discussed and so everyone is accepting that this wonderful experience is to draw to a close shortly…a time when we will take our memories and stories home in good stead ’till we meet again’.