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Week 2: Training at the Sohonbu. Kumamoto, JAPAN

Another very full week of training and activities here in Kumamoto.  The weather has been warm, humid and at times taken my breathe away during training.   Yet, I’m loving every bit of it.  It’s perfect for me.  I’m especially appreciating the upstairs accommodation at the dojo.  It’s quick to get to classes,  I can drop into the dojo for a quick practice any time and I can get to bed quickly after training. Did I mention that the rooms have air con.  So good to help with cooling down after training.

Eleven classes this week and they were all full of great learning, repetition and their own challenges. The first class of the week I’d rather forget but I’m reminded every time I look in the mirror at the moment and my head is still a little sore.  My enthusiasm and love of learning got the better of me and I hit myself in the head with the bo.

Most of my training this week has been with Soke Sensei and Higuchi Sensei.  My technique has been under the microscope for two weeks now but I’m taking in as much as I can.  Their eye for detail, teaching methods and mastery of technique is well beyond me.  I feel as though the best thing I can do is to work on myself (nutrition, sleep, hydration, mental/emotional state etc) so that when I get to class I’m fuelled well and ready to learn.  Once I’m in class I just do the best I can and aim to flow with the guidance that I receive.

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Thursday evening training was at Sakaguchi Sensei’s Dojo.  Sakaguchi Sensei, his son and student were all very welcoming.  Sakaguchi Sensei and his son also offered guidance for technique improvement which was perfect timing and resembled the guidance offered to me by Soke Sensei.

Friday morning was an opportunity to contribute and give back whilst staying at the dojo.  I spent about 6 hours weeding the outdoor area.  I finished just in time to have a quick shower and get to Higuchi Sensei’s training at 1:00pm.  This was followed by some Henshu Ho with Naoyuki Sensei and catching up with Sachiko and Takeshi from Taneda Sensei’s Dojo in Canada.

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Soon after we were back in the dojo for another great evening session with Soke Sensei.  It was hot.  Really hot.  Thankfully Soke Sensei gave us a couple of opportunities for a water break.  Although I didn’t watch Takeshi training so much as I was working hard on my own training, I could feel his commitment and enthusiasm towards his training.  It was nice to have him be a part of the session.

Admittedly after Thursday night and a full day of weeding and training on Friday I was exhausted on Friday evening after training.  I felt broken, yet there is something amazing about pushing yourself to exceed what you think is your limit.  And then there is another session awaiting at 6:30am the next morning.  Saturday morning training seemed a little more special for me as I had to really dig deep for this session.  I was relieved and filled with gratitude when I saw Todd Sensei and Takeshi helping with Souji.

Saturday afternoon I had the opportunity to watch Marc Sensei teach.  I didn’t have much in the tank at this stage so I found myself stretching for the duration of the class and hanging out with Kenshi.  A day of stretching, relaxing and re-energising was my focus.
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There were a few other things going outside of training which was a lot of fun.

Tuesday:  Minowa Sensei’s stretching class.  This week it was ‘Karate’. Yes!!  More Karate for me. I’m sure I was smiling from ear to ear. 13612203_280886728943158_8753411519938338752_n
Wednesday:  I took Martin on a date to Suizenji Gardens.
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Thursday:  Exploring Kumamoto with Rose.  13882446_1175887942431996_6216271744540958560_n
Friday:  Learning about the belt promotion of Lachlan Edwards.  Grading to black stripe in our Little Champions.  I’ve watched this young man train for some time now and it is great to hear of his achievement.  Way to go Lachlan!!!13680412_10153896289214091_961305892815560288_o
Sunday:  Getting to enjoy Steven’s birthday from a distance.  9 years old!!!  I am missing Martin, Sami and Steven loads yet having technology to stay connected has been really cool.
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The other thing that has been exciting to watch is the transformation of the Sohonbu after the earthquakes.  All of the externals of the building appear to be completed now.  All of the scaffolding has been taken down.  Friday morning I noticed that O’Sensei’s photo had been returned to the dojo.  I hope to share some pictures of the dojo soon.  It’s looking great!