Saturday, May 06, 2006

So Few Deshi, So Many Visitors


Wow, the last few weeks have been riddled with visitors from all over the world! Tim, a visitor from Germany, is planning to leave here at the end of this month but he's done pretty well staying here for the last two months. It's interesting to watch new people come to the dojo for a long stay, it's a bit of a glimpse at what I must have gone through during the first months I was here. The first week Tim was fairly shocked at the amount of classes he was expected to take and didn't want to take five classes a day. Once Tim got up to speed with the work load he got sick as a dog for almost a week, I'm pretty sure I did the same thing. This past month Tim has done very well and has started asking for extra help outside of class on ukemi and other techniques.

Michael, a visitor from Australia was here for only three weeks and left yesterday. He was a funny one that's for sure. I'm not sure if it was his age (roughly 50) or his Ausie-ness that made him a bit...off. His aikido was quite nice but significantly more passive than the aikido regularly practiced here and that created slight problems when he worked with some of the more aggressive people here. All in all he had a good stay and left after giving us a scrub brush, a bottle of saki, and mumbling somthing about bats...hmmmm

Alejandro and Giovani from the Dominican Republic certainly kept things livley while there were here for a month. Alejandro who spoke MAYBE half-a-dozen words of english relied on Giovani (Gio for short) as his interpretor and on a vast knowledge of sherade-like gestures when Gio was not around...this worked exceedingly well! This guy was like a radio personality on steriods...that you couldn't understand, he was great. Alejandro made the trip up to NYC to spend a month here and to test for his Nidan (Second degree black belt). He owns and opperates a dojo back in the Dominican Republic and was eager to get back and if I'm not mistaken he extended an invitation to myself and other deshi to come visit with Yamada Sensei when he travels there for a seminar next year.

Javier was a fellow that showed up from Spain for the first time maybe six months ago. I remember this distinclty becuase I was in the laundry room (or as I prefer to call it, my Lair), surprizingly enough, folding stuff and listening to music. I turned around while singing (poorly) to myself and saw Javier staring at me with his head tilted slightly like a puppy. Since I had already been caught in the act of making a fool out of myself I thought "why stop now?". After my song ended I took off my headphones to greet this new visitor only to find out that he didn't speak any english at all. After twiddling our thumbs for the better half of a minute Luis showed up to help the situation with his fluency in spanish. Anyway...Javier came back for another month and seemed to remember me :)

Last week Edwin showed up from Belgium and will be staying here for three months. Edwin also has a much softer style of aikido which has clashed with a few of the people here but is adapting very well. He's a nice guy and one of the most talkative visitors that we've had (with proper english that is)...laughs ALOT...

With all of these visitors it seems that the Deshi are actually in the minority! There are five of us and only two that train full time, Sanji and myself. This coupled with the fact that both Yamada Sensei and Sugano Sensei have been teaching a full schedule, at least once to twice a day makes our work load noticably more difficult! It's been wonderful to have them around all of the time but it's difficult to keep up! I'll keep everyone posted about the happenings here but it's alot of the same, a tough regiment of aikido (ALOT of it) and as much eating and sleeping as I can afford!

Hope all is well in other parts of the world!

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