Last weekend I took free on Saturday and went to Hong Kong for the weekend double session at Doyukai Aikido dojo.
I had the pleasure to meet Nagai sensei (center of the picture) at Endo shihan seminar in Hong Kong a few weeks ago. It was very nice to enter in contact with Doyukai dojo and the international bunch of people practicing there. So interesting that it was worth ask for a free Saturday and head to Hong Kong for participating to their weekend sessions.
The orignal plan involved sleeping on the main station benches, where I spent the 1st night of the year! But the motivations even before the visit were stronger than just one uncomfortable night.
The level of the club in Hong Kong is not bad and I had already met different dan graded people with various backgrounds, making the practice more interesting and challenging. The students told me that especially after Endo shihan seminar, Nagai sensei started focusing and working more on Endo’s Aikido, both with his typical exercises and in the way to perform techniques and attacks. And this is what I would like to work on as well! More than I can possibly get in Shenzhen practice.
The main difference between Shenzhen Aikido and Doyukai dojo, besides the general Aikido level of the people at practice, that in Hong Kong is much higher, is also that in Hong Kong the teacher has Endo sensei example as reference: when he says or shows techniques based on contact, and when he pushes the student to work on this concept, there is a major involvement and interest to try and experience Endo sensei way. Also, even if for the people at practice this way is new, they all try quite hard at least to grasp some of the feelings. And they enjoy it! They smile, as a good friend of mine would appreciate! And, when the practiced move to more contact related exercises, they also worked hard as uke, one of my favorite aspects of practice, not just do one attack.. and die [ie. getting out of the technique, either mentally or physically], as for the more traditional [old] Aikido forms.
This is of course not present at all in Shenzhen, where the teacher follows a completely different way. I understand different teachers, but unfortunately in general in Shenzhen the level is quite lower and there is much more misunderstanding in the basics. And (of course? sigh!) less interest in Shenzhen to experience a different way, even if most of the people feel the different kind of Aikido I try (hard) to keep.. I do not say nobody is interested in Shenzhen about the “soft way” (some few exceptions there are, and they have kept me motivated enough to go back). Just that during practice everybody seems more focused on the hard muscle part that in the contact & feeling of flowing of the technique.
The weekend though had been not only about Aikido: Peter and Yolanda invited me to a very nice dinner in their apartment (a great excuse to buy some wine that I hadn’t drunk in ages.. real Italian wine!) and then we headed to a party on the roof of a neighbouring building. I could see some of the Hong Kong night life!
After the party they had been exttra kind letting me sleep in their apartment: I felt a little bad, as if I had put them in a corner accepting both offers of dinner and then party. At the same time, sleeping in their place has been the best considering Sunday practice efforts! And my body on Monday was in need of rest!
Hong Kong anyway offers you amazing views.. in the night from Peter’s apartment, like here below, and many others that I will sort and post later..
I thank also Nagai sensei and the people in his dojo for the very nice weekend I had, of course Yoland & Peter in particularly for their kindness and hospitality!
I will try to pay them back soon, both in wine 😉 and doing my best on the mats: I had there the best practice in a long time and I hope my training partners also enjoyed it. And they will still do in the future!