So I'm taking a break from the Uchi Deshi thing in NY as most of you know and I've been spending the last several weeks in small-town-America, I've been advised to keep my exact location confidential lest I should aquire a stalker... or at least someone that wants to ask too many questions and happens to be one of those people who stands too close. At any rate I've been going a bit stir crazy with the lack of training. I've been exercising in other various ways so that I won't be a lump of jelly when I get back. It is a proven point that once you are a deshi for an extended period of time and your metabolism gets set to a ridiculously high level and you take more than a month off you begin to show symptoms of becoming a fat slob...I'm trying not to let that happen. In any event, I tracked down some of the local dojos before I left NY.
One of these dojos is part of the Ki Society... just a weeeeee bit different from the way I am used to training in NY. Aikikai aikido tends to be a little more forceful and dare I say full contact. While we're not standing across from eachother punching I can say that I've had my fair share of bloody lips and noses...and torn fingernails, and black eyes...hmm. Ki Society on the other hand prefer not to umm touch each other so much. I'm not saying that in a bad way but they don't tend to apply atemi (strikes) or throw with the force that other types of aikido use. One of my fellow deshi said he'd give me one class before I got kicked out of the dojo for being too rough, I mildly disagreed. I'd like to think that I'd have the wherewithal to adapt and use the appropriate amount of force for each individual partner but I'm not sure if I'd stick around for another class if that was the case. The other dojo is a small group run out of a yoga and meditation center. This group practices Iwama style that is a style much more in accordance with what I'm used to. Originating in Iwama Japan (surprise) with the late Morihiro Saito as the head of this particular sect. Saito Sensei was a master with the bokken (wooden sword) and the jo (wooden short staff) and so Iwama aikido has a strong emphasis on weapons (another surprise) as well as incorporating crescendoingly staccato iiieeeEEEPP as they attack and throw.
So last night I decided to go and see how the Iwama group was. Once I arrived it brought the class to a whopping and uneven group of five. A bit of a change from the average of 25 to 30 I'm used to in NY. After I got past the initial awkwardness of the difference of etiquette and class got underway it wasn't as scary as I thought. Of course there was also the difference in basic style and movement but that's not terribly difficult to overcome. And there was at least one other person there who was interested in training with a bit of vigor. The main Sensei for the dojo wasn't there last night so I may go back on Sunday afternoon to see how his classes are. While the class last night was good I can't help but notice the incredible emphasis on technical precision and teaching clearity that I've come to expect from the teaching staff at the New York Aikikai. I'm glad to have this time to rest and recoup but I am looking forward to returning to NY to resume my training!
And before I forget I'm about to get a parking ticket so I've got to run!