Horii sensei in HangZhou

1 06 2010

First Aikido seminar of this Chinese adventure! First Aikido weekend after 2 months of.. nothing! First days after the seminar with pain.. everywhere!!! And, once again, not first, not last for sure, my best thanks to the inventor of sports tape!!!! 🙂
Hangzhou - West LakeNight train Friday night to HangZhou, the city of West Lake. Arrived there around 6am, so I went for a walk, walk to the lake, around the lake and then to the hotel.. why not? Maybe because I walk all the time and then my feet, all the time, suffer in some way. OK I’m used to blisters, but I forgot that I was not used anymore to practice on hard mats (tae kwon do style, the blue and red square type). So since both blisters exploded just before start practicing, I wrap up both feet in good sport tape protection!! Like old times, with seminars in series in Europe!! Cloudy, gloomy day at the lake (like last year) but amazing watching people practicing various forms of tai chi quan in front of the lake.. so China!! So beautiful!! 🙂

with Ulrich and Shawn from Shanghai AikidoHangzhou Aikido club has, on paper, about 40 members, but 10-12 is the common number of people at practice, and also during this seminar there were about 8-10 locals. Etsuji Horii shihan, 7th dan from Aikido Kobe Sanda Dojo, Japan. He traveled from Beijing, where he practiced before at  SeidoJuku dojo and came from there with the two main instructors of the club in the capital: Edmund Wan, 5.dan (based in Hong Kong but often teaching in Beijing) and Pearl Koo, 3.dan. There was also another younger student from the same club. And there was my dear friend Ulrich from Shanghai International Aikido club, and me.. from no club.. ok, from Jūshinkan Stavanger/Hefei Aikido dojo.. 😛 On Sunday another student from Shanghai, Shawn, club joined the seminar. A nice bunch of people!

Aikido seminar in HangzhouFirst time with Horii sensei, except maybe a short practice with him in Tanabe in 2008 during IAF huge seminar. His Aikido is solid, effective. Nice short movements, closer to hombu dojo Aikido than Endo sensei, clear and he worked on several basics from ryote dori, katatedori gyaku hanmi and katatedori ai hanmi  attacks. Also on Sunday we had a weapon class: bokken practice, working on lots of basic cuts and basic foot work, all prepared in a very nice way.

I really enjoyed practicing basic movements with sensei. Even if you could feel the strength and power when gripping his wrists in any of the attacks, his way of performing the technique was very relaxed. No pushing or pulling. The movement were very smooth. He had also a great way of showing the best position uke should take during the technique in order to avoid painful situation and to always protect him/her-self. That is Aikido too!!

Furthermore sensei went around and practiced with everyone on the mats, showing the mistakes and giving the real feeling of the technique, when he was performing it. That is always one of the best and most important aspects for me. The times that sensei threw me around I had very good feelings: powerful throws always executed in a very relaxed way. I felt I did struggle here and there in order to relax properly. After 2 months off the mats, I think I was quite stiff. Especially for kihon, more static movements.

The trainings were well structured, building up in complexity but working mainly on basics. Also the bokken session on Sunday was extremely interesting, especially after months  of no practice. Sensei showed us most if not all the basic cuts, using only one hand to hold the sword, and we practiced both hands! Right and left! First one cut at the time, then combination of 2, with a change of direction (like for example, kesagiri downward and then kiri-age upwards). And then some applications, involving also foot work and a good contact with the partner’s bokken. Working especially to improve maai concept (distance and timing) with always a mental eye on the Aikido application. It was a very nice session!!

drying keikoAt a personal level, I did not forget ukemi and not too much of the rest.. better, my body did not forget it.. a couple of times I felt the Aikido I am used to trying to come out, and I’m sure I performed some techniques here and there in a more Endo sensei way. Trying to feel again that kind of Aikido, on people who have never practiced it.. and it was good. Being my condition not top though, I feel I need much more practice in order to feel that Aikido back again!

Hangzhou club seems to me as Trondheim, my first club, where for longer periods of time we did not have a close high graded instructor, but all the people in the kyu level had to contribute to keep the club alive. Furthermore, in China Aikido is still young. But the feeling I got from Hangzhou people is a huge interest and happiness in practice. Said that traveling by train here is quite convenient, I will try maybe to travel to Hangzhou to have some weekend practice with them. They have always their own dojo available, so as long as there is people interested, it would be easier to practice together.. Yeah, I’m looking for some Chinese “aiki-freaks” (crazy people that would enjoy practicing every day.. like me!!) to take place to my good friends in Trondheim 😉 And a chance to practice more and more not only with beginners but with people who already have good basics. Shanghai is always my first target (for the Aikido form, closer to my own guides!) but Hangzhou has suddenly become an extremely interesting place!!! 😀

Since Aikido is not all, a special mention also to the wonderful dinners after practice! 🙂

Aikido seminar in Hangzhou



One response

18 06 2011
David Yap

Where do you train in Hangzhou?


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