Irie sensei in Dublin

13 04 2014


A wonderful seminar for my first visit in Dublin has now got to the end.

Great time especially with my good fiend Jerry from Indonesia, that I will visit in October for Irie sensei seminar there:


We had a great time on and off the mats!!


Flying to Dublin

12 04 2014

(That was of course yesterday!!)
Leaving behind Dutch coast:


And then English coast:


I finally got to the green Irish land:


With a so typical sky (or at least what I would expect, first time here):


And the plane parked with all it’s. “little” green friends:


Utrecht, Netherlands

9 02 2014

It has been now a little more than three months since I have moved to the Netherlands for my new work here. In this period I also had a one week training trip, with my new colleagues, to Seattle, at the company headquarters. A lot of first times in little… time. I have not been very good at updating lately but still I got no plans to abandon this little personal blog.

Plans is a big word for me though! Lately, the “plans” did not work out exactly as.. planned!!

As for last September I moved back to Europe. I will write more about this in the future, but among the different reasons that people might try to guess the only thing sure is that I did not move back because I did not like China!!! As a matter of fact I still miss extremely much my life style in China and the friends over there (Hong Kong and Taiwan included).

This return to Europe has not been easy. As I have been fast in enjoying and getting use to the life in China I had expected that getting myself re-acquainted to the European life style would have been easy. I was wrong. More than 5 months back and I still do not feel “home” for several aspects. Without going too much in details now, I admit I did not expect the Netherlands to be so expensive. After many years in Norway, basically 80% of my working life there, you get the idea that the rest of Europe is much less expensive than Scandinavia. Then, China of course gave me a completely new dimension about life and costs. I can’t say I was too much used about Chinese life, but, before moving to Utrecht, I had asked my friends in Italy about their typical expenses in terms of house rent and everyday stuff, people living in medium large cities.. but Utrecht turned out to be different, to be as expensive as, in comparison, large Italian cities. It is the first time that the rent of the tiny place where I live takes an extremely high part off my salary, and translating in RMB the rest I make more or less the same amount of money I was making in China!

I expect that when I know better the city I will manage to find the cheaper spots for both shopping and out life. Unfortunately lately I do not have much motivation to go out and explore. I am just interested in getting good at the new job and learn more about the medical industry my work relates to. And see what kind of doors this new experience will open for me.

On the other hand, being back let me meeting again lots of Aikido friends and Aikido instructors I really missed when in China. As people that know me can imagine, Aikido was of course among the reasons that favourite a return to Europe. Here in Utrecht I have joined a club where I feel my Aikido fits the best (after trying for another one first). The style (of both clubs where I have been trying actually) is the one defined by Ikeda Masatomi sensei, 池田昌富, an extremely structured Aikido with a lot of variations of techniques. I cannot say it is anywhere close to any of my teachers’ styles, but in the club I joined now there is more work on the contact and not an obsessive attack by uke resulting in a struggle where tori had basically no way out except.. kicking his/her partner in the nuts! And the people here has at least tried to meet other teachers in their Aikido life, outside from their own style. It is so easy to say to have an open mind, much more difficult to have it!

At least, when at best, now I can have again 3 session of practice in the weekdays and a better feeling of fitting in a “foreign” style. And then travel somewhere in the weekend ;-) A good Aikido friend told me about Yasuno sensei‘s words:

…in any case never give up your practice; in case you should not enjoy the keiko because you can’t train techniques as you like, nobody will never prevent you to train your ukemi like you want

Now it is Sunday, one of those few I am spending in Utrecht (no Aikido and no trip to Germany to visit 潘蕾) and finding the time to see a little around, check out some shops (open on Sundays is good, because they usually close before I get back from work!), have a walk in the centre and some time to tidy my place, before a few weekends of travelling!

So, a delayed happy new year and good luck to all of us for 2014!

Resolutions, predictions and 2013 wrap up will come later! With more words from my little world! :-)


a cloudy afternoon

2013 Aikido seminars

8 02 2014

Wrap up of an year of travelling/training for Aikido:

8 – 10 February:  Helsinki, weekend seminar with Endo sensei
11 – 17 February:  Stockholm, yudansha and weekend seminar with Endo sensei
23 – 24 February:  Hong Kong, weekend seminar with Endo sensei, for the 1st time in HK!
1 – 5 May: Saku, special anniversary seminar with Endo sensei
31 May – 2 June: Shanghai, weekend seminar with P. Lee sensei
11 – 13 June: Shanghai, week days seminar with Irie sensei
14 – 16 June: Kyoto, weekend seminar with Yasuno sensei
20 July – 4 August: Beijing, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Shanghai – summer Chinese tour with D. Rascle sensei
21 – 22 September: Bolzano, weekend seminar with Takahama sensei
17 – 19 September:  Rome, weekend seminar with Endo sensei
29 November – 1 December:  Vienna, weekend seminar with Endo sensei

..and I cannot count it as a full seminar, but I had a wonderful Saturday practice with Philippe Goutard sensei in Torino in October and a double session in Cologne with Jorma Lyly sensei in December :-)

Bye bye Italy

30 10 2013


…and nice to meet you Netherlands, Utrecht:


…and for starting with the right foot:


A nice session with Gouttard sensei.. and with old friends in Turin!

18 10 2013

I spent last weekend in Turin: I had planned to visit my best friend Silvio and by chance I could also attend a session at Yoake dojo with Philippe Gouttard sensei.

First time I practice under his teaching and it has been a very nice experience: he worked a lot on the way uke should deliver the best kind of attack, a sincere attack that tori can use in order to perform the technique and learn also what is good or bad in the execution. As sensei said, when uke falls he/she must enjoy it as natural outcome of the movement, not like something that has been forced upon him/her.

With Gouttard sensei and Vittorio sensei

With Gouttard sensei and Vittorio sensei

Sensei pointed out as well a few errors in my movements that will certainly help me to be a better uke, and especially things that could be dangerous when practicing at higher speed with more advanced people (like harmonizing arm and body movements when receiving techniques like shihonage and nikyo ura).

I had also another first time at the seminar: first time I have to sit down during practice! OK, I’m not proud of neither my condition nor my belly, but I had always managed before to slow down keeping moving.. At this session we had probably 20 minutes of jiyuwaza changing 2-3 partner

I found a very nice interview with Philippe (wit a few videos) that tells more about his Aikido life and his personality. Furthermore, it made me think how it is important always to remember we are Western people doing an Asian martial art, therefore we have a good set of differences. As Philippe sensei says, he realized our Asian teachers are just normal human beings that are good in doing something we want to learn as well, but they are not gods, magicians or heroes! This is something some other sensei forget often, especially some Japanese ones!!

I leave you with just a couple of nice videos (of several) of Gouttard sensei in action:

The rest of the weekend turned out to be very relaxing and especially I enjoyed discovering some part of Turin that I never knew and a new word as well: the apericena in San Salvario area.

“AperiCena” is a neologism derived by the fusion of the 2 Italian words: “Aperi(tivo)” (aperitif) and “Cena” (dinner), being a nice new way to spend time with friends, enjoying a less formal meal, more various and cheaper than a typical dinner. A good example (from the net) is shown below:

Kascia Mercoledi' AperiCena 5

The apericena we had was not too different in the restaurant called Lanificio San Salvatore in San Salvario area in Turin. The area had been for a very long time mostly known for the quite high criminality, being a multicultural aggregation of people, mainly industry workers or poorer. What I have seen in the streets around the area of Lanificio in the evening is an extremely nice meeting area, with several small restaurants and bars and a small square full of young people enjoying the still not too cold evening.

A very nice weekend all together, Aikido, friends and good spirit! And tomorrow I’m going back to Torino, even if no Aikido this time! “Just” friends!!

Norwegians at Sport Combat 2013

12 10 2013

Not only Thy Thy, but also Kim now has finished his video for the Sport Accord event in St. Petersburg this year, representing Norway


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