Time seems to gather it’s feet and sprint during a gasshuku, what seems like days of training and events at the outset, somehow transforms itself and before you know it, you are getting ready for the sayonara party! At this very moment, I am camping out in Sensei Linda’s room until my taxi arrives.
This MCF has been really awesome, and before I go on I have to say thank you to all who were involved in the organisation of this wonderful event!
I started this gasshuku after a series of pretty hectic work weeks and with loads and loads of life ‘stuff’ going on, nothing bad, just lots of it and no time to take a pause and figure out the way to ‘win’. Days, weeks, months were filled with the sort of stuff that really fills your head, takes loads of brain processing time and ultimately just leaves you drained at the end of the day, never mind at the end of the week!
By the time I sat on the fight to Toronto I was more than ready to relax. But then, you don’t really relax in the true sense of the word on a gasshuku like this, there is the pre-training and post training ritual to ensure that
But training is cathartic, and by the time we had started training I felt that I had found my center again and I could breath. But it seems like we went from the first night of training in Nakamura Sensei’s dojo, to the Masters demo and then we were lining up for the last time. I am always a mixture of happy and sad at this point of a gasshuku, happy with the leaning but always sad that things have come to an end.
There was a huge focus on ‘back to basics’ from many of the instructors this weekend and this meant we had a chance to deconstruct much of our training and ensure that we were getting the right level of focus on individual techniques. This is also pretty tough training.
There were some amazing stand out moments of the last few days, I mean the construction of this gasshuku is really interesting as there are a range of instructors with really different areas of speciality so you can go from kata to bunkai to basics to knife work and everything in between. Probably the funniest in my opinion more or less snuck out of Sensei Bobby Smith as he talked about the importance of footwork and
sabaki… which he was delivering in a very serious and considered manner, which he then topped off with ‘if your block is shit’. My words are not doing this story justice… but suffice to say that I was unable to breath for the laughing for about 10 minutes… hilarious.
Then there is the incidental stuff that happened in the midst of everything… like losing a Sensei in a shopping mall before training and having him paged over the tannoy… and lets just say the things you learn about people when you play ‘2 truths and a lie’ is very very interesting…
In seriousness, I have so many take aways from this gasshuku, my notes extend across pages and pages so there are loads of things to work on! But it’s more than that, this gasshuku has really motivated me, has made me really think and really want to get better. At the masters demos we saw outstanding demonstrations from the Senseis that really showed that there is aways room for improvement and honestly after seeing them… none of us have any excuses…
The way the all teach is interesting, they were all dripping after their own classes, which isn’t the norm for all Senseis. Even more food for thought!
So as I try and navigate my way to the airport and make sure that I have everything with me I am filled with nothing but positive thoughts from the last few days. Thank you to all my friends who shared their experience with me and to new friends… great to have you on board!