Little House In Ise

Hatsugeiko — 初稽古
January 5, 2008, 21:22
Filed under: Aikido, Japan | Tags: , , , , , , ,

This morning was the first Aikido practice of the year for the Mieken Aikidokai. Fifty kids arrived, wearing dogi, at the Kansha Jinja (官舎神社) where the local priest “blessed” (shook a stick at — “Get off my lawn!”) them. After the stick shaking ceremony, the kids were sent out into the street to collect garbage on their way to the dojo. The street clean-up is one of this dojo’s annual community events and the kids seemed to get a kick out of competing for trash to fill their bags.

The restoration of the Obata dojo is not yet complete so this year the gymnasium at a local elementary school was used for the first practice. The school is much closer to the shrine than the actual dojo so the kids were able to get out of the cold quickly. The downside was that the place we practiced was a basketball court so there were no mats. Since we were training on hardwood flooring, sensei had us practice only back falls and then went through a few techniques for which slow, gentle ukemi is ideal.

After practice, we all ate hot soup prepared by a few of the students’ mothers. The kids ran around like insane little monsters and the rest of us chatted. It was a nice start to the Aikido year.


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