I’m back where it’s warm and sunny. Been back for a week and a half actually, about time I get the end of the seminar written up. Trip was good, the week was busy. The pile of letters on my desk at work probably inspired a Greenpeace save-the-rainforest protest all by itself. A few months of study leave absence will do that.
So, last three days of the seminar:
Day 6 was final preparation for the grading the next day. That means after the warm-up people split up into group by their grade and worked with the visiting black belts on the material on their respective syllabus. Also unofficially lets the instructors see who has what issues prior to the grading, to know what to pay attention to. Was a good day, was assisting my lovely girlfriend in going through the 3rd Kyu syllabus with people. Interesting since everybody had different things they did well and not so well. Overall the technical level was great. The ukemi needs some work.
Day 7 was grading day. Since our group’s gradings are generally pretty short, there was plenty of time for practice beforehand. A lot of ukemi practice again, including flips. This was very useful, I found and am in the process of fixing a mistake I have been making for years that contributed to a recurring – very minor – injury. I also got an exercise for a specific issue some of my students have been having, which seems to be helping them improve, so yay for that.
I volunteered to help with preparation again… and realised 5 min later that, despite teaching most of the time nowadays, I had managed to volunteer to miss a black belt class I could have really used. Oops. At least I manage to set up the camera and tape most of it, and catch a bit at the end.
The gradings themselves were very good, the only grades this time were 5th and 3rd kyu, and everybody did very well. The only disappointment was that there were supposed to be some more people grading who for some reason did not show. That will be for them to sort out later.
After the gradings were done, we had a bit more time left, so Fabian introduced us to a very cool concept, basically having different people show the evolution of a technique through different times in Aikido’s history. In this case we did Shiho-Nage, starting from an Aiki-Jutsu version, through early Aikido and several more styles up to the later, softer versions. It was very interesting and a lot of fun.
Day 7. Final day, and as the club attracts the less hard-partying type of students these days there was a distinct lack of hung-over people on the mats despite the grading party the previous night. Very sensible, but so much for tradition… The last day was mostly weapons practice, with two different instructors and distinctly different styles. I did have a preference, but to be fair I learned from both. Weapons are largely out of my areas of both expertise and interest, though I did very much enjoy getting to practice them here.
Overall the seminar was a blast. Master Yoda… I mean Anita was missed; hopefully she will recover soon and be back next year. Body is holding up better than expected. The bad knee is giving me a bit of trouble for the first time this year, but it’s relatively minor. Wrist and shoulder are also recovering nicely, and did not give me nearly as much trouble as I was worried about. Going back into the pure student mindset was much easier than I expected. I am actually finding it much harder to once again transition into teaching mode now.
Oh well, back to reality.