ironphoenix: (pirate)
( Jun. 6th, 2017 04:24 pm)
After a hiatus of a few weeks, I'm back to my martial arts practices. The break was enjoyable in some ways, but it's good to see everyone and catch up, to move that way again, and to experience (and contribute to) the energizing effects of the space and practice.
ironphoenix: (flaming)
( Feb. 24th, 2014 01:15 pm)
The kenjutsu seminar was about as intense as expected, with lots of fine-tuning of things we knew, and also 3 katas (traditional scripted sequences) new to me, 2 with shinai (split bamboo sticks wrapped in leather, designed to allow safe impact) and one with jo (a stick about 4 feet long; in aikido, we use a hardwood one, but for kenjutsu, it's made of bamboo and is thus whippier). The visiting instructor is extremely clear, giving specific tips addressing many of the difficulties I and others were struggling with. The jo techniques are especially tricky to practice safely, since it's often wielded one-handed in broad, whipping sweeps and spins; still, we managed to get through the weekend without injuries.

Tonight and tomorrow will likely be my last martial arts classes before leaving for Costa Rica... by then, I think my body will appreciate the rest!
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In a couple of weeks, one of the folks I met in Edmonton last year will be coming to teach a kenjutsu seminar here in Ottawa. The schedule is rather more substantial than most of our aikido seminars, which run 6 hours spread over 2 days: this one will have almost twice that over the 2 days. I will likely do most or all of it... wish me luck!
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ironphoenix: Raven flying (Raven)
( Aug. 7th, 2013 12:24 pm)
The kenjutsu seminar was very enjoyable, and very different from last year's adventures at Aikido Summer Camp. There were perhaps fifty of us in total, and I met nearly everyone who is currently practicing this style at a senior level. The hardwood floors were good for traction and stability, but hard on my feet; I wore socks for some of the practice, and was far from alone in doing so. The soke (head of the school) is a brilliant, enthusiastic, and energetic man; I enjoyed his classes immensely. The sempai (senior students, singular sempai) were great to train with and learn from, too.

All told, I figure I got somewhere a little over 20 hours of practice during my trip, at various venues: the community center where they usually hold classes, the school where the seminar was held, and my host's home: I stayed with one of the senior students, who has a dojo in his house (it replaced an indoor pool), but was unfortunately unable to practice due to injury. He also has a couple of cats, to which I was surprisingly unallergic, and a pretty good wine and scotch collection, which he was quite happy to share.

One of the students who had been to Japan recently brought back a bunch of hakama storage cloths to give away, so I now have a very nice blue and bronze one. I may also have a line on a second-hand iaito (metal practice sword, blunt, not designed to be sharpened or used in combat) at a good price; we'll see what comes of that.

A couple of us went to visit the Muttart Conservatories, which were nice, but not all I had expected: I had the idea that there were birds and butterflies, but no, just plants. Pretty and interesting plants, of which some pictures may show up (here or on [livejournal.com profile] soul_diaspora's LJ) sometime, but very much vegetable-kingdom plants. A few of us also went to the Heritage Festival, where we ate some interesting food, saw a few demos, and generally relaxed a bit between fairly intense classes.

To finish the trip, my luggage just got delivered: WestJet mistakenly off-loaded it when I transferred in TO, but to their credit, called me over as I got off the plane in Ottawa and told me so right away, rather than making me wait for it to fail to show up on the carousel. As usually happens, they delivered it directly to me when it arrived.

I'm glad I have today to recover, and will likely skip tomorrow's aikido practice too. Friday, I'll teach the kenjutsu class, since my sensei and sempai are all away. I'll introduce a couple of the changes and refinements from the seminar, but not overload students with all of it in one go.
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ironphoenix: Raven flying (Raven)
( Aug. 1st, 2013 09:49 am)
I'm leaving today for Edmonton, there to take part in a kenjutsu seminar on the weekend and a bunch of extra classes. Last year, I went to Aikido Summer Camp, and had a good time; this is this year's big martial arts outing. I expect to practice some 30 hours between Friday evening and Tuesday afternoon, assuming my body holds out. It's promising to be intense and fun, with local students putting several of us (including me) up during our stay.

This is kind of a big deal for us, it being the first such seminar held by the soke (lineage-holder, chief instructor of the system), and the first chance he will have to meet the Ottawa students--and of course, the first chance we will have to learn directly from him. Seven of us are making the trip, including Sensei J., which means quite a bit of money in airfare.

I get back late Tuesday night; between now and then, my online-ness will be spotty at best.

Also, this will be the farthest north I'll have been in Canada, but not globally: Helsinki is more than a degree further North, and I've been past the Arctic Circle in Lapland.
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