This was done 12-4pm at a purpose-built aikido dojo in Stoke Newington, London. Heading the class is Sahla-sensei. We all thought he is not going to make it due to work location, but then whoops, he appeared. Assisting was Al from Paris, old student of Sahla, a 4th Dan senpai.
The place is so darn far and I was lost + late for 20 mins. What a bright start.
When I got changed and came out to the practice area - the 6 others were still doing Mokuso in Seiza. Apparently, they have been doing it for 20 mins straight.
Ok, then they stopped. Sahla said to me, "... because you are late, Jenny, you have to do it on your own. Now, go sit at that corner, facing the wall so that you are not checking the clock!!"
D'oh! I tried not to think of anything. But it is hard when the other 6 people are "warming up" with their Jodo. Xxxx-no-kamae, EEh, Yeeeh, Whoosh, Wheep, etc. etc. I have no idea what they are doing with my back turned against them.
"Yame." Then I rubbed my calves as much as I can before getting into any other crazy stuff.
Yes, and I thought I was coming into an Iaido class?!!???
"Today's training is to find out what your Shugyo is about..."
In no particular other, here are the things we did with a bokuto for the next 2 hours, non-stop. At some point I was thinking of stopping, stepping out of the dojo for a breath, and even stepping out of the building and go home. When it was cold I lost focus, get frustrated when I under-performed, and get angry with everyone in sight. All was done with freezing fingers and toes, as indoor heating was turned off!!:-
* Sonkyo, Hidari Jodan, Migi Jodan, Migi Hasso, Hidari Hasso, waki gamae - Holding on the spot for 5 mins each. The sonkyo bit was repeated.
* Haya-suburi (swap legs version) 20 shout-counting x7 people = 140 times
* Facing and cut to the right then 180-degree to the back, right then 180-degree, etc. etc. Super spinning suburi. Increase speed as you go for more.
* Facing forward and using right-hand only, cut to the right all the way to the back, swing back above head, swap to left-hand only, then cut to the left all the wat to the back, etc. etc. Increase speed as you go for more.
* Squat-jump suburi across the dojo x 10 times
* Spreading legs, furikaburi, lower the hips and cut all the way down to the floor x100
* kote-men-do-tsuki sequence ^N
* Big front foot step for kote, and quickly followed by men pushing the back leg to normal stance. ^N
* Haya-suburi (again!!!) 40 shout-counting x 7 people = 280 times
* Haya-suburi facing each other, one goes up when the other one goes up ^N
* Facing each other one standing, one squatting. Standing person do haya-suburi (still swapping legs). Squatting side performs block with bokuto and cut kaeshi-do. x30
* Standing and facing each other. One side cut 20-degree down to waist level, the other side using upward swing (like kasumi-kamae), block and cut back. The opposite side do the same... ^N
And then we had 15 mins of break...
Things get slightly better for the next 1.5 hours. At least there is something we are "Learning" and not suffering. Sahla went through the 12 Shoden set of Muso Shinden Ryu Iai. Last time I went through all 12 was when I still practice in Brighton under Vic Cook Sensei (Spring 2004 ). So I forgot quite a lot already. This session was great because it reminds me of the Shoden set before I head back to Hong Kong in 3 weeks time...
After the 12 forms, we all did solo-demonstration (errrhh Embu style) Any 3 forms. I did Shoden's Shohatto, Inyo Shotai, then Seitei #7. Obviously my Shoden is still pretty crap. I also shaked A LOT because of frozen fingers. Also the floor was plastic-covered so I can't slide that smooth...
It was nuts. We must be nuts to do this sort of thing for 4 hours to celebrate New Year. But I am very thankful for that, especially I don't have much quality Iaido training left in London.