I spent last weekend in Turin: I had planned to visit my best friend Silvio and by chance I could also attend a session at Yoake dojo with Philippe Gouttard sensei.
First time I practice under his teaching and it has been a very nice experience: he worked a lot on the way uke should deliver the best kind of attack, a sincere attack that tori can use in order to perform the technique and learn also what is good or bad in the execution. As sensei said, when uke falls he/she must enjoy it as natural outcome of the movement, not like something that has been forced upon him/her.
Sensei pointed out as well a few errors in my movements that will certainly help me to be a better uke, and especially things that could be dangerous when practicing at higher speed with more advanced people (like harmonizing arm and body movements when receiving techniques like shihonage and nikyo ura).
I had also another first time at the seminar: first time I have to sit down during practice! OK, I’m not proud of neither my condition nor my belly, but I had always managed before to slow down keeping moving.. At this session we had probably 20 minutes of jiyuwaza changing 2-3 partner
I found a very nice interview with Philippe (wit a few videos) that tells more about his Aikido life and his personality. Furthermore, it made me think how it is important always to remember we are Western people doing an Asian martial art, therefore we have a good set of differences. As Philippe sensei says, he realized our Asian teachers are just normal human beings that are good in doing something we want to learn as well, but they are not gods, magicians or heroes! This is something some other sensei forget often, especially some Japanese ones!!
I leave you with just a couple of nice videos (of several) of Gouttard sensei in action:
The rest of the weekend turned out to be very relaxing and especially I enjoyed discovering some part of Turin that I never knew and a new word as well: the apericena in San Salvario area.
“AperiCena” is a neologism derived by the fusion of the 2 Italian words: “Aperi(tivo)” (aperitif) and “Cena” (dinner), being a nice new way to spend time with friends, enjoying a less formal meal, more various and cheaper than a typical dinner. A good example (from the net) is shown below:
The apericena we had was not too different in the restaurant called Lanificio San Salvatore in San Salvario area in Turin. The area had been for a very long time mostly known for the quite high criminality, being a multicultural aggregation of people, mainly industry workers or poorer. What I have seen in the streets around the area of Lanificio in the evening is an extremely nice meeting area, with several small restaurants and bars and a small square full of young people enjoying the still not too cold evening.
A very nice weekend all together, Aikido, friends and good spirit! And tomorrow I’m going back to Torino, even if no Aikido this time! “Just” friends!!