Farewell practice

30 06 2011

Sunday 26th June the Aikido practice at Shanghai was a special event: after more than 9 years in Shanghai building up the club that is now Shanghai International Aikido, Nokura sensei has been transferred back to Japan, so he and Masako san will soon leave China. But as they said, they will be back, maybe not once per month, but often enough to keep a good eye on the club and help the several good practitioners left to continue the great work done until now!

I met both of them in April 2009, when I came for the first time to Shanghai, both for the city and, especially, because Endo sensei was coming for a seminar, October every year. So I decided to visit the place a few months before and have a chance to visit the club.

I remember I went to the Sunday practice thinking that, as usually happens in Norway, from my experience, there were not going to be many people on the mats! The period I was in China was Easter holidays, so that I had bought a large bag of Norwegian chocolates.. but as soon as I got on the mats I realized my silly mistake: there were maybe 40 people practicing!! I felt so embarrassed since I had already given to Masako san the chocolates bag saying it was for the people of the club, not realizing how many people were already carrying mats and how many others kept on arriving until the training session started!

But soon I understood why so many people: an extremely nice session and atmosphere! And I was so surprised to see such a nice mix of Chinese, Japanese and Western people having fun on the mats. That is the real aspect of the club, the being international in fact, not only words! And living in China, I see how this can be difficult, especially starting from the love toward a Japanese martial art!

During practice, from that first time until last Sunday, I always enjoyed both the teaching and the great spirit on the mats! Nokura sensei is a very good teacher. His movements are clear to see and understand and he always repeats the technique at least 4 times, omote and ura, left and right. The only thing very difficult for was understanding him, since all his classes are in Chinese! And he speaks with extremely low voice.. a kind of nice quiet that permeates the whole person, or at least this is my feeling.

Nokura sensei has been practicing Aikido for more than 30 years. After he graduated from University, his sensei (Sasaki Masando Shihan 8.dan, former Hombu Dojo instructor) recommended him to be uchideshi at Hombu in Tokyo. I think Nokura sensei has a very interesting and effective Aikido, combining aspects from some of my favorite shihans like Endo sensei and Yasuno sensei for example. OK, my Aikido knowledge is not that vast, but I tell what I like! 🙂

Nokura’s family anyway will be back in Shanghai: for shorter visits, for the seminars and for graduations, for keeping the club running in the successful way it is doing now (and the people that are going to teach now are really well trained!). So, I know I will practice with them soon again! And I am also curious to see the other guys from the club teaching now! 🙂

At the end of the dinner/party they gave to sensei and Masako san a very sweet present: an album collection of pictures of all the dojo students, visitors like me included with some words for sensei. My words were:

Sensei,
With your dedication, your motivations, and your positive and inspiring attitude you greatly contributed to create an international and multi-ethnic solid group of people with one love in common: the love for Aikido. Going beyond personal and cultural differences, too often a barrier, you showed us the way based on practice and discipline, without forgetting the bonding great time off the tatami! どうも ありがとう, sensei!

with Nokura sensei with Masako-san
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