Canada Gasshuku Day -1



Everything in Canada is a very long walk. I don’t have a car and literally everything is 2 kms from where I am to where I need to get to. When I first arrived it was quite cute, now, well it’s just a lot of walking. So I’ve started to try and think of things that I might write about as I work my way from my AirBnB to the Dojo to the Supermarket to the AirBnB etc.

Sometimes things just present themselves however. Yesterday was one of those days, when things just seem to come together and the day delivers way more than expected. Of course, with the oul jet lag I was up bright and early and ready to embrace the day. That was at 05:30 so not ideal. Added to this, I hadn’t had time to go and get things like coffee, so literally my only option was to wait until the local coffee houses opened before I could get my fix. The TV here is incredible. So, in order to try and pass a few hours in slumber, I thought I’d hit the box and see what was on. I know someone who would literally go into parallax with the amount of choice. I decided on “21 Jump Street”, having heard about it for years. I wasn’t disappointed.

I’ve been thinking of my first Gasshuku, I can’t really remember when it was, I was young, that’s for sure and I have memories of the Olympic Karate Club and a Sensei from mainland Europe. There were a few over the years and I remember being very anxious before each and every session. Even with years of competition experience, I still to this day at times get nerves. Of course, now they are more excitement never than anything else, but still.

Competition was something that I choose to do. I never really did Kata as that was way to much focus on me, Kumite suited me perfectly because as soon as the match started, I had to focus on the other person and I had no time for any more nerves.

I had a few instances that I feel added to this hatred of attention over the years. The first, came in primary school. I was never your model student and I found myself in a new school with a Head Mistress who ruled the school with a fist of iron. She choose me to answer a question at assembly and I hadn’t a clue of the answer. She then started to go through my bag, pulled my copy book from it and then started to comment to everyone in the hall about how badly my hand writing looked. She then, me crying and wishing my Dad would come back, dragged me to my classroom and started to look for the other copy books that were in a pile on my teachers desk. My teacher, did nothing. I was silently fuming. I mean I was 8 so as fuming as an 8 year old can get.

So yes, not a fan of attention when the attention is not under my control. So yesterday evening, I headed to the dojo of Nakamura Sensei and was absolutely delighted to see everyone. The dojo was starting to fill and some of the people from Denmark also arrived, amazing, you go ages without seeing people and then you see international friends twice in the same week.

Now I have to admit, the jet lag hit hard yesterday, I thought it was Thursday when in fact it was only Wednesday. I had that usual brain fog that comes with being up from 5am and so by the time I arrived to the dojo I was looking forward to just training. Turn brain off, train. I could do that.

We had a wonderful Jumbu Undo. I was ready for this, my legs were starting to free up after the flight etc and actually the brain fog was clearing. Then news. Nakamura Sensei was going to take those visiting the dojo on their own at the side. Bonus. OK, time to focus. We were a mixed group and so worked through a few katas. Then more news. Nakamura Sensei would call us each up individually and we would have to perform Kata. Individually, means on your own. Deep joy. Welcome all those insecurities and the nerves started.

I found myself back in competition prep mode. Why?? Time to have a chat with myself. Now I have a favourite Kata. I also have a Kata that I absolutely hate, which most of you know. So I decided I was going to do the Kata that I loved. If my knees popped out then so be it.

Then came the calm. I did my Kata as best I could and there were no nerves. I often say in classes, “you do you”, meaning show your own Kata. It’s yours, be proud of it. No matter what it looks or feels like.

I have huge thanks to say to Nakamura Sensei. I now have a heap of things that I need to work on and the entire experience was amazing. At the end of the session, Nakamura Sensei welcomed again everyone to the dojo and mentioned how it was great to have the “family” back together. I could not agree more. We are off to a great start here in Canada. We had a wee drink after training and then, I got back to the AirBnB expecting to watch a bit more TV. I was asleep in 10 minutes flat. I woke up to the tea that I made to put me to sleep still beside my bed… still full.

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