Two weeks ago I went to Portugal. This was the first time that I got on a fight and went somewhere in ages. I’d even fallen out of the way of “doing” travel.
2.5 years ago I became a hermit. I spent hours alone in my house. The very nature of the house changed, it was no longer the place I used as my refuge from life, it was my life. Rooms changed, the dining room became the dojo, but it was, during the day my office. We had a “spare room”, that became, after much renovation, (not by me), my office. I added to my gym equipment and my office now had a Peloton, rowing machine, and treadmill… so it was my offigym?
Fancy as home dojo sounds, it wasn’t.
Like everyone else, training was remote, online, virtual… words that pre-pandemic I loved, but now… urgh… my motivation just melted.
This from the person who averaged just over a Gasshuku a month for like the last 20 years.
The first International Gasshuku I went to was, ironically, only a few miles from my family home in Ireland. It was with the outstanding, Steve Cattle Sensei. I know I keep mentioning him in this blog, but his impact on my Karate and Personal development was huge. I was very much in the back row and feeling like a lucky visitor. Then, bugger, it all changed. On one exercise I was called out and he used me to demonstrate…Now for some reason, I remember patterns quickly at that particular moment I’ve never been more grateful of what had been a ridiculous talent. I quickly understood the exercise and thought, fine, let me do my bit and I’m done. Nope, he used me to build on this exercise for every iteration and I was his partner.
I learned so much that day, I left on a high. It changed my life. Gasshukus became an opportunity to really step out of my comfort zone, which, initially I had to force myself to experience, but then after a while, I started to really see what Sensei Cattle was talking about “gather the life experiences that will make you stand out from everyone else”. I was not even a blackbelt.
My first Gasshuku after more than 2 years in lockdown and I was… anxious.
Not about training, that was to come later, no, just about getting everything ready to get to the Gasshuku was now filled with nervous tension. I packed my bag a day before I was due to fly (I’m your ultimate last-minute dot come girl so this was new) I had documents for travel and pre-flight medical tests. I had evidence of where I was staying and maps of how to get there. All my pre-flight information was entered and I was armed with all of this for the flight.
I didn’t have a “passenger-locator-form”.
None of the check-in details mentioned it. I arrived at the gate with no clue. Frantically I completed the form online, I could hear some other passengers on the phone to their kids trying to navigate their phones to do the same. It was not a straightforward form so I assume they didn’t make the flight.
This weekend past also saw the latest online Gasshuku that focused on Seiunchin. Now heading into this, I didn’t know what to expect. Online Gasshukus during lockdown was a necessary evil. A glimpse as to what we could be doing IRL that was cruelly taken from us.
However, this weekend was different. The Gasshuku felt like a real Gasshuku. I had the decision to be there, it was a new way of learning, and OMFG did I learn a lot and worked hard. I had notes on notes and at one point my HR hit 92% of max. I did have the pleasure of working with Sensei Linda as her “demonstrator” partner 🙂 so much fun. For those who were there, the moment when she said “take the skin” yeah that was real.
I know some of us are in different jurisdictions and have different rules in force, but I’m starting to see the potential of the future, away from the house, back to “life”. I just need Putin now to not push the nuclear button.