About that, I’d like to remind next seminar of interest in Norway:
- Igarashi Kazuo, 7.dan in Oslo, at Aikikan – 21-24 apr.
- Frank Ostoff, 5.dan, in Trondheim, at Tekisuikan – 27-29 apr.
About that, I’d like to remind next seminar of interest in Norway:
Last Aikido seminar I attended was in North of Norway for the celebration of Aikido in Tromsø, a special seminar with Suganuma Morito sensei, 菅沼 守人 先生, 8.dan Aikido instructor and shihan in Shodo. Together with sensei, a nice group of Japanese aikidokas came from his dojos in Japan, Fukuoka and from other places.. and another good friend, Tomoko chan, 知子-ちゃん (she’s the cute one in the pic – not the first time in Norway for her though ) came from England!
The partecipation of Norwegian practitioners was very good and also from abroad, England and Holland, other close students of sensei travelled many kilometers for this special northern seminar!
The attendance had been so big, and so unexpected, that the organizer had to divide in three groups and alternating them practicing with sensei or a class with one of 3 other instructors: Kazuo Tokuda, 6.dan; Birger Sørensen, 5.dan; Robert Cowham, 4.dan.
I had been lucky to be in the group attending the practice with Tokuda sensei: without meaning any offence to the other instructors, I was a bit unhappy by this division, since I have been travelling from South of Norway, a long way, in order to practice with Suganuma sensei (or in this case with Tokuda sensei). I know I have to learn A LOT before, if ever, reaching Birger’s or Robert’s level in Aikido, but still, the idea of buying an expensive ticket for this seminar was based on many hours of practice with an 8.dan from Japan. And I was not the only one sharing this thought!
As I said, it seemed that Tromsø-club had been surprised by the interest in this seminar and they risked to make unhappy several of Norwegian aikidokas when they had to balance between organizing an unforgettable seminar for sensei and an equal good experience for the people that came to Tromsø for practice! In fact on Friday it has been said that the Japanese guests, and other foreigners, were going to take part, on Sunday morning, to a special trip to a mountain with some traditional Sami activities, like riding the reindeer..
Very nice, yes, unless this meant missing 2 hours practice with sensei!! Not so good for us travellnig to Tromsø for Aikido and not reindeer-riding!
But the organizer understood fast enough this problem and backed up with a morning practice with Bjørn Erik Olsen, 6.dan, and 2 afternoon sessions with Suganuma sensei, ended with the traditional Shodo session. Well done guys!
This year, I did not join the traditional Saturday party organized by the club, because its price was a bit too high for some of friends who still are students (or house-owner with a fresh new mortgage!), so we grouped up and went to have a dinner downtown, followed by a good sauna session and a long night-chat..
Yeah, we were the group sleeping in the karate dojo where most of the practice was taking place.. and also the big lunches (for the amount of people, not food ) on saturday and sunday.. nice dojo with only one problem: 1 (ONE, yes!) toilet for.. uhm.. 60++ people practicing.. Too funny the queue in the break before dan-grading!!!
Luckily, and unknown to the most, there were 2 spacious toilets in the sport hall around the corner from the dojo! And also the amount of garbage collected in the dojo kitchen had been removed at the end of the seminar: luckily for us sleeping there it was not smelling.. ok, a bit less than our own sweat uniforms!!
On Saturday there had been yudansha (black belts) grading: 3 people to 1.dan (shodan) and 2 people to 2.dan (nidan). Among those, many congratulations to two old friends from Trondheim that successfully passed the exam: Finn Arne to 1.dan and Håkon to 2.dan. And Mathias uke for one other shodan grading. I have been for a short part uke to the second person grading to nidan, Kay-Harry from Tromsø, and it was a very good feeling. I must say that I was quite pleased, this year, by the grading at the seminar. And it is not easy to please me: I am usually quite strict in the requirements, especially for higher grades, and too many times, in Tromsø, Brandbu or Oslo I have seen sloppy grading ending with the congratulations from the graduation committee.. surprising congratulations from any Aikido point of view!
In conclusion I was very happy that a fellow aikidoka from Stavanger (first on the left below, Christian) joined also this seminar, even being a different style from what he is used to, ie. Aikikai in Tromsø vs. Tomiki in Stavanger. OK, the larger amount of ukemi was a bit tiring, but he enjoyed the practice, and that is what it is important! At the end, enjoying the practice is the only important thing, and this year too, thanks too many friends, old and a few new, I also had a good time on tatami!!!
More than 10000 views on my not so much updated blog!
Good milestone for me!!!
Thanks a lot my friends!!!
My first holiday in China ended in a quite miserable way because of some unluck that characterize me generally and an unfortunate mistake I made packing my luggage (I should have known better.. I am so angry with myself).
But it would not be fair to judge this experience by this fact. Never be fast in judgements.. even if I forget that from time to time
I admit that the holiday had also started in a bit unexpected way: I arrived in WenZhou, 温州, in the night of friday 16th february and met my pen-friend, TingTing, 婷婷, only on saturday 17th, the actual Chinese New Year Eve. After having lunch with her family she told me that there were too many relatives for the dinner in the evening with the grandmother, and it was better if I was not joining them.. That was quite a disappointement for me, having hoped to spend that special Chinese celebration in a traditional way.. and furthermore, having been only few hours in WenZhou I could not really re-organize myself for doing something exciting for that evening..
So I spent the evening in the hotel assisting to the amazing fireworks show from the street in that area. Thinking back, if only I had planned to be in WenZhou a bit earlier, I would have had the time to organize something different in the same situation.. A bit of unluck at the beginning of the holidays too.. Now I have a little better understanding of family traditions in China, especially respect to foreigners, but still I refer to “experts” for better insight in Chinese life! That’s why I cannot blame them for not having me that night..
The meaning of this holiday has been, since the beginning, to try to experience something different from a common tourist trip: I did depend mostly on TingTing and let her deciding everything.. my young boss!
I have realized also that, in a place where not so many people could speak English and where there were also not so many tourist (3 Western faces seen in 10 days, airport in WenZhou included!), I am not anymore the explorer kind of tourist (if I had ever been).. or better, I did not feel much interest in going out alone and walk around and discover new things all by myself.. It might be the age (yup, I’m not a teenager anymore, even if the looks might deceive sometimes ) or just a shift of interests.. even if it does not mean that I will not travel unless I find a companion! Nah.. too difficult! And there are still too many places I want to visit.. I have just to find friends there!
Back to WenZhou now!
Right before receiving the un-expected news about New Year Eve, I had a wonderful lunch with TingTing father and mother, everything magistrally prepared by her (who works in a restaurant, unfortunately closed until after I left! But that I got a chance to visit..). I still do not know or remember the name of most of the things I have been eating, but I liked, loved everything.. ok.. mostly!
And I had other chances during those days to eat a lot of really good Chinese food, with a very special evening that had been “my Chinese New Year celebration”, a dinner offered by one of Ting Ting’s “brothers” (male cousins).. A room full of people , sharing a moment of joy. All Ting Ting’s relatives, that treated me as one of them.. ok, one that could not really understand many chinese words.. I have anyway improved my knowledge of WenZhou the dialect: “hai yu“, that means to drink the full glass when you toast and I learnt also the opposite way, “fu hai yu” for drinking slower (and there was something like “me i, me i” for having the glass only half filled with beer and not full!!).. Anyway the Norwegian drinking “culture” has been usefull!
That evening had been very special: those people that I had never met before and maybe won’t meet again, made me feeling like a very special guest.. i wonder if one day I will be able to “pay back” TingTing for this..
But before that special evening, I had another wonderful evening together with TingTing and Gao JinYing, 金影, her younger cousin: they took me to JiangXin Islet Park, 江心岛, a small island located in front of WenZhou downtown area, where monks live. Extremely beautiful in the evening, with the temples and the different part of the park illuminated and, during the Spring Festival, the fireworks form the main city lighting up the sky..
A few days before I had been to a local park in WenZhou, Ma An Chi park ,马鞍池公园, where we met with another TingTing’s sister (female cousin), her little son (full of energy and probably a bit surprised by my face!), TingTing’s mother, and grandfather and grandmother of the kid.. a really family day, a special family day, thanks to a very nice weather, that brought out to that park many families with small kids.. all having fun.. And that day I felt like a part of the family.. maybe a part living far away and visiting only for the Spring festival, but still not an alien! ;-P Ant the park was so much alive, with a great mix of children and elders..
A couple of evenings TingTing walked around with me and took me to some shops for buying local product (even if WenZhou is known for shoes.. I was more interested in Chinese food!!) and it was extremely funny for TingTing to see what for me was “special Chinese food” I wanted to bring back to Norway..
The last day, the weather was really bad.. raining without stop.. normal Stavanger weather in other words
TingTing could anyway spend afternoon and evening with me and we decided to walk to the mother’s restaurant so I could see it.. and on the way we visited also the old high school where she went few years ago. Unfortunately all the rain we got made TingTing sick for a few days after I left and she went back to work.. But that evening we went to eat to a not very Chinese restaurant: I wanted to treat her with dinner and I let her decide, and she took me to eat (with fork and knife!!) a very good steak!!
I was sad though because I had really a great time in China thanks to TingTing.. so when I followed her home (no, not to the door.. the family would have not liked that ) I felt a heavy weight on me.. That was the time to say goodbye.. but I did not want.. A last hug to this beautiful young girl that had been so sweet with me, and I will never forget.. but in that hug I tried to put my thanks to all her relatives, family members and friends that made this holiday unforgettable!
I can really say: I miss you TingTing – I miss you China!!!
我想念你婷婷， 我想念你 中国
…in Chiba shihan, 8.dan Aikikai, style…
TURN UP THE VOLUME!
Besides two days of really great practice with Jorma Lyly, from Vanadis dojo in Stockholm, at Sunyata dojo, I had the chance to meet a lot of good old friends, both from Aikido environment and not! (yes, sometimes I do something else than practice!)
One of the reason of going to Oslo, apart practice, it was for finally meeting Silvia, Sara‘s little sister, born 4th January 2007, and Enya, Pedram & Tina’s daughter, who was born the 27th of February, 2007!!
I have been further lucky that on Saturday there was a farewell party for Federico, moving back to Trondheim after a few years in Oslo and also there I had a great chance to meet friends and more friends, babies and more babies and not-so-baby anymore I hadn’t seen in a long time..
…to all the people that yesterday took part to the graduation, independently of the result!
The spirit was really good, trying difficult and more or less new things, helping each other and making group..
All those things represent true values for Aikido in life, not only when practicing on the mats!
Bob and me were extremely happy by what we have seen, not limiting to the pure technique..
We are all together shaping a very nice Aikido group that seems to expand from the training to a more close group of friends, independently of the great age differences!!
So, back to the pure Aikido part, congratulations to:
Hilde, for the great spirit after only few weeks of practice
Jacqueline, 6 kyu
Andrew, 6 kyu
Thomas, 5 kyu
Mortem, 5 kyu
Cem, 5 kyu
Olivia, 5 kyu
Roy, 4 kyu
Øyvind, 4 kyu
Geir Håkon, 4 kyu
Enjoy your weekend and see you back on the mats next week!!!