2018 Aikido seminars

20 01 2019

The past year has not been a very good one with respect to Aikido practice, traveling and my health. Bad luck or major call from above, or just the end result of a not so health oriented life, it does not really matter how you call it, but the end result led to a period off work for sickness (never happened before in my life!) and a quite major health discovery that has already required major changes in my lifestyle. Then when I thought things were starting getting better, a problem with my left knee reappeared, most probably because of bursitis, and then again I was obliged to skip practice (also because a demanding new job) for too long.

I am not yet sure how 2019 Aikido year will be: Friday I had to discard my plans to travel to Germany for first year chance to practice with Jorma Lyly sensei because exhausted by the previous 4 days in the road (2 in Germany followed by 2 in Italy with 2 nights of 3 hours sleep). Friday I slept about 15 hours, and the thought to get on a train to and from Germany was too much.. a pity..

But now a look at last year, that started very promising but then, it just wasn’t..

6 – 7 January: Trondheim, practice with friends at TAK (1)
13 – 14 January: Trondheim, practice with friends at TAK
19 – 21 January: Dusseldorf, weekend seminar with Lyly sensei
26 – 28 January: Sofia, weekend seminar with Kuribayashi sensei
2 – 4 February: Tikkurila, weekend seminar with Endo sensei
9 – 11 February: Stockholm, weekend seminar with Endo sensei
16 – 18 February: Dublin, weekend seminar with Irie sensei
17 – 18 March: Ho Chi Minh City, weekend seminar with Irie sensei
6 – 8 April: Prague, weekend seminar with Nevelius sensei
13 – 15 April: Bratislava, weekend seminar with Noel sensei
11 – 13 May: Trondheim, weekend seminar with Lyly sensei
24 – 27 May: Stavanger, 10 year anniversary of Jushinkand dojo, with Nevelius sensei and Martucci sensei
1 – 3 June: Sochi, weekend seminar with Kuribayashi sensei
8 – 10 June: Krasnoyarsk, weekend seminar with Irie sensei (2)
16 – 17 June: Amsterdam, weekend seminar with Tissier sensei
(3)
17 – 18 August: Duisburg, weekend bokken seminar with Lyly sensei (4)
7 – 9 September: Oslo, weekend seminar with Kuribayashi sensei
19 – 21 October: Prague, weekend seminar with Noel sensei (5)

This year highlights have been on a darker side, probably good to cut my ego and give me a good reality check (and lots for time for reflections):

(1) – beginning of the year with James who said during practice: “I forgot how heavy you were”.. I made the mistake to let my ego inflate and assume he meant I had developed a heavier center, that my work in Amsterdam with Tom Dijkman sensei and around the world with Irie sensei was finally leading to some good improvements in my center development. Unfortunately following events and comments during the year showed that probably it meant only I am feeling less in the interaction with my partner, therefore moving less. Laziness or just inability, either way it is clearly a regression in my Aikido.

(2) – Irie sensei brought me back to reality during the seminar in Siberia:

  • during the 4th dan graduation exam of a friend where I was being uke, sensei decided to replace me because I was not giving a good enough attack for my partner to perform properly. It was actually the right decision because I felt myself I was pulling back my attack: the technique performance by tori was quite unexpectedly strong (violent sometimes) for my Aikido, for my limit, for myself. Russian Aikido is indeed stronger and the kind of practice I like more and feel more comfortable with is less physical force and more research, but of course during a grading not all people are able to control themselves. Or on the other hand maybe it is what some teachers are looking for high ranked examinations. I am not sure myself about this and I need to understand more and practice more with different people. I need to better open my eyes and mind: I am certainly spoiled and oriented toward the soft Aikido when working on the mats with people following Endo sensei or the Swedish federation teachers (as I did and still do) but I have also decided to test myself on a different path taking my 3 dan examination with Irie sensei (08/2017) and therefore I want to learn more of his Aikido, and see if I can without changing my approach to examinations and my view of control and violence. I believe that all techniques must be able to be performed without physically abusing of your partner: I think atemi can be an important part of the technique but if a technique can be performed only after punching the partner in the ribs or in the face, then there is no point in practicing Aikido. I just want to practice more to get a better understanding of sensei techniques and how it links to my believes. I am not afraid of changes and not holding out from changing my Aikido, but at the same time I know what I do not want to become. I can compromise on much, but not give away my essence. The road is still long: I have to take realistically and constructively all the comments I received and thank sensei for the time and patience spent for me and my bad Aikido;
  • just at the end of the seminar sensei told me that my hanmi is very weak, that I do not have enough balance, center and foundations. This was a blow. It brought lots of thoughts in my mind. It gave a different meaning to James words from the beginning of the year, and then at the light of the following of my summer, this might have been already related to my physical not optimal condition. But this is not an excuse for me: I have indeed felt not enough centered performing sensei techniques and this was a motivation in working harder, or at least it became after the initial unhappiness and a little of unexpected shock.

(3) – A few days before my 46th birthday I experienced a sudden vertigo episode, that has been diagnosed as BBPV. Now I wonder if that has been only something sudden or the build up of issues that I have discarded as maybe related to dehydration and practice, since I had felt dizzy a few times before that specific and major occurrence. I can only hope for my own Aikido that the bad performances in Russia with Irie sensei were also partly related to this. This unhappy discovery forced me in several days at home (1st work absence ever for me, and 1st time visiting the hospital after China and the RA issues) and when feeling better in order to get a local doctor (never had any need for that since moved to the Netherlands) I asked to do a blood test because it has been long since last time and also because the feeling of dizziness was not really passing. Apparently BPPV should have disappeared after a few of the head manoeuvre sessions, but it did not. The blood results brought me another unhappy news: I needed to change quite drastically my lifestyle and follow some more balanced rules regarding alimentation, drinking and exercise. Changes that affected also the whole amount of energy and undoubtedly increased my level of stress. Furthermore, I kept suffering of dizziness and it wasn’t clear if still related to BPPV or to the other medical issues. It took ages to disappear and let me feel comfortable stepping on tatami again.

(4) – First session since end of June: a perfect seminar to check my limit after a difficult summer. I tried to perform a couple of ukemi and on one side I still felt quite dizzy, but taking all carefully I managed to practice the weekend.. and it was great meeting Jorma and all the amazing friends over there.

(5) – The night between the end of a very nice Aikido seminar in Prague and my very first day at the new job my left knee totally swell during the night. The new job revealed afterwards to be a huge change especially at physical level, much more demanding and not leaving much time or energies so far. With a semi damaged knee from the very first day, in order to avoid to call myself sick, I try to manage all with leftovers of Chinese medications and very western Voltaren, Ibuprofen and similar anti-inflammatory over the counter medications. Not ideal but somewhat necessary in order to manage to keep up with the new job necessities. It took more or less a couple of months to get the knee at a decent condition for practice and also less pain during a normal working day (involving driving, walking, standing, crouching, and repeat.. so far only ukemi is missing, but got tons of seiza sometimes, straight on the ground, usually in windy, rainy, snowy, cold condition.. one or several of those together!).


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