the sun in the “eyes” of the office..

29 02 2008

..ok, the “old” offices..
This picture was taken last year, at a not too different period, and it was more or less the same weather as this morning, after a “few” days of rain.

And when I was on the bus, riding past the old offices (in less than 2 years in Stavanger I changed office already twice!) the sun was coming out from the clouds exactly like in this picture..

And from the new offices I do not really have any chance to take pretty pics, neither with sun nor with clouds and rain.. Or, I haven’t had yet, this chance!

Anyway, let’s hope this break from the rain will last a few hours more!!


Kashima shin ryu seminar in Trondheim!

28 02 2008

Last weekend I was in Trondheim (ohh.. I miss that place so much sometimes!) for the first preparation seminar of Kashima Shin Ryu kenjutsu before the summer visit by Inaba sensei, first time in Norway!

About this first attempt of teaching Kashima to people with no or little kenjutsu background, I can say that the organization needs a bit more re-thinking. Bjørn Erik Olsen, technical chief of Norwegian Aikido Federation, Reimekan dojo in Tromsø and main reference for Inaba’s sensei here in Norway, came to the seminar assisted by two of his closer student from Tenshinkan Oslo. And in Trondheim there was only one other practitioner close enough to Bjørn Erik style.

As a consequence of the wish of Bjørn Erik to teach the closest form to Inaba’s sensei one, the practice became quite.. slow! After many cut exercises and proper way of walking exercises (useful, but maybe more for the instructors?), the paired practice was not really paired! One of the pair had always to be one of the advanced student or Bjørn Erik himself.. ie. 4 people exchanging partner among the partecipants of the seminar.

I wonder now if it would have not been better to have 1 session open only to club instructors where the basic exercises where shown in more details and next a more dynamic practice for the other days, leaving the heavy details to club instruction.

In the way the seminar has been performed, I spent most of the time watching or walking around cutting.. or being allowed to perform only one part of 1 kata. Of course everything is vital for a deep understanding of sword work. And we all know that in Japan before you were allowed to perform the whole kata you had to practice many years, both for Kashima Shin Ryu school, and Aiki-ken and even Aikido, but as also Bjørn Erik said, we are not in Japan, not at that time, none of our instructor is at that level and our Western mind would never accept this kind of practice.. So maybe, for the intention of the seminar, there were a bit too many details and too little practice in itself. None of the people there thought t obecome a Kashima expert in one seminar, but a few (me included) had practiced a similar form for some time: not correct in Inaba’s way, true, but I admit I was hoping to see a bit more forms. A pity only I could not practice the last 1.5 hour, but a pity also it had come to the last minute to do some of the second series (uradachi) after many many hours of kihondachi.

All in all, it was ok practice for the time I dedicated to it. I am not too sorry I miss out some of the sessions.

As Bjørn Erik said, one must find his/her own way, for sword practice but, I say, also for Aikido and not mix too much. I am not an Inaba sensei student, I will never be: I like kenjutsu as a side practice for Aikido and I love Iaido for what it is. I value the details and notes I got from this seminar, and I know that the seminar in Oslo (where there are all Bjørn Erik students) will probably be more dynamic. So I recommend people ionterested in this kind of school to go to the Oslo date: 5-6 April @ Tenshinkan dojo.

I will not be there, because, as said, I want to focus on things closer to my own Aikido and budo feelings. But I will not, of course, forget the practice and what learnt (or tried to learn.. I have a very sloppy position.. too high.. like, uhm, all the people there? I check all the people cuts: if my knee was too back respect to the front foot I must say that most of the people, advanced students included had the same problem.. a pity for me that most of the remarks I got where only about my knee position.. very few about cut and hip movement, that I know are not so good either.. details.. details..).

As last information, here it is the formal invitation to the Kashima summer seminar, with dates and costs:

Dear Kashima Shinryu practitioner

As previously announced, Minoru Inaba sensei, 8th dan Aikido and head master of the Meiji Jingu Shiseikan in Tokyo, will give two budo seminars in Europe next summer, one in Norway and one in Greece.

We hereby invite you to the seminar in Norway!
Below follows some key information about the seminar. Additional information will be available at
The seminar will be held at Brandbu (near Oslo) in Norway, from 2nd to 8th of August, 2008.
The detailed seminar schedule is not finalized, but we know that:

    • The first class begins at 15:00 on August 2nd.
    • The last class ends at 12:00 on August 8th.
    • Tuesday will not have classes, so people will have time to relax or experience the surroundings of Brandbu.

Instructions will be translated to English.
The seminar is held at Vestoppland Folkehøyskole, which is a college with their own dormitories. This is where the Norwegian Aikido Federation holds it’s annual summer seminars. The seminar fee includes all meals and accommodation and the rates for practitioners and non-practitioners varies depending on the type of accommodation:

Type of accommodation   Practitioners   Friend/family  
Double room                      500 €            250€   
Class room                        425 €            215€   
Children under 3 years are free of charge. Vegetarian meals are available.

Information about how to get to Norway and Brandbu is given here: How to get to Brandbu

Due to the limited number of places, participation at this seminar will be by application. Please apply as soon as possible by filling out the on-line registration form, which is now open. The minimum Aikido grade requirement is 4th kyu.

All available information regarding the seminar will appear at Questions of common interest will be answered there.

Next steps
The next steps concerning your participation will follow the following time plan:

Action Deadline
Individual application As soon as possible, and before April 1st
Application feedback As soon as possible, and before April 10th
Payment Before May 15th

Seminar crash..

27 02 2008

Unfortunately Erik’s seminar in Stavanger crashes with one other seminar in Norway, George Koliopoulos, 6.dan Aikikai, at Fudoshinkan Hamar, and Christian Tissier, 7.dan Aikikai, in Frankfurt, Germany.

I admit I would have been in Germany if Erik was not coming here.. 😀

Erik Vanem in Stavanger!!

26 02 2008

Erik throwing SverreFinally we are ready to invite you to the second seminar organized here in Stavanger, at Kampsport Instituttet:

Erik Vanem, 3. dan Aikikai from Oslo Aikido dojo (my main instructor for at least 2 years) will come here in the weekend 14th to 16th March!!!

Take a look to the invitation (in Norwegian! Ask me if you need help!) for more details, like training times and price.

For the first time since I am here, it will be also possible to perform Aikikai graduation for the level of 6. and 5. kyu.

Take contact with me in advance if interested. The graduation syllabus is available here and the graduation papers must be printed out and signed before lunch on Saturday 15th. The prices for graduation, fixed by NAF are available here.

Back to Stavanger!

20 02 2008

Back to town.. and work.. and crappy weather.. after my first seminar tour in the year 2008, of course with my favourite Aikido sensei, Endo Seishiro, 遠藤征四郎, 8.dan Aikikai.

Starting from the last practice of which I had only 1 hour, in order to not stress on the way to the airport from the training hall.. it was a pity to see sensei with bandage for protection on both wrists and on both ankles.. even if I have been told that he said that one wrist is OK and he used both bandages only to remind himself that he was not at top condition.. In fact, as they told us both in Finland and in Sweden, he had to visit a doctor for quite serious joint problems and he had been close to cancel the seminars..

Luckily enough he felt better.. I mean, luckily for us!!!

Please, sensei, take care of yourself for many more seminars like the past 10 days!!!

This time he did not went much around practiticng with all the partecipants as he is used to do, letting almost all the people feeling in reality his great Aiki(do), but it is always a pleasure to see him in action! 🙂

And I always hope that the few notes I either posted (here & here) or just wrote on my notebook will not disappear too fast from my mind.. but stick a bit around.. and maybe stick also to “my Aikido style” too! 🙂

Reisedagbok fra Japan!

18 02 2008

Cool Sverre..This time, some Norwegian language.. 🙂

I want to finally link to Sverre’s diary about his first trip to Japan, in November 2005.

The sort of good experience I hope to have myself in Japan tour 2008!

And many tours after that too!!! 😀

Open Aikido weekend!

15 02 2008

Tonight, here in Stockholm, the open weekend seminar with Endo sensei will finally start!

Finally it is more for my dear friend Svein and the great big bunch of friend from Trondheim and Norway coming over for the weekend! They have been looknig forward to that for a long time and I know a few have been reading my blog too 🙂

Wednesday evening, last yudansha practice. The very last session has probably be the absolute best one for me. It is possible that because of the general tiredness in my body and mind helped to keep the latter open and the former relaxed.

We practiced shomen uchi, both the proper way to perform the attack and some possible taisabaki – ashisabaki for entering the attack. And next we tried to perform free movement based on the contact.. And next sensei said (as many times before, but at that moment it was just perfect! Another proof of his perfect timing!):

Treat uke as water simple.. so difficult.. so easy to picture.. still so complicated to perform!!

And the practice, based simply on shomen uchi and movement, kept on going with extremely good spirit (sensei asked also uke to attack with a smile.. not laughing though!) and high intensity.

I am pretty sure I was not able to treat my ukes as water, but I am not used anymore to practice with such good contact from my partners.. so I am trying to enjoy and value every second of training, even if I am not lucky enough to be used as uke by sensei..

Thursday, day off from “official” practice, brought me 2.5 half hours “unofficial” practice, just before lunch! First part with Ulli from Frankfurt – Aikido, second with Magnus from Vanadis.

I got interesting comments and things to work on from both sessions, a bit more from the first one, since Ulli was so kind to answer a few of my stupid questions about how and what to teach to beginners and not..