For the first time in 3 years, we were able to hold our training camp, although it was a smaller group than usual, with 15 participants. Yoshida Shihan and Ezawa Sensei from the Seifukai Tokyo Branch were able to join us, and together we had a fantastic 3-day event.
I enjoyed the fresh green breeze, and had a wonderful time listening to Yoshida Shihan, who had arrived the day before, talk about the late Minoru Mouzuki and his international students.
After reviewing the contents and techniques for their promotion test during the 2nd day, even though the students were nervous with everyone watching them, the results were excellent. The award ceremony was a very moving experience for the students, who received their certificates and belts from Yoshida Shihan.
We had a barbecue for our first night’s dinner, but unfortunately the conditions were terrible with rain and strong winds. Fortunately, there was a roof over the barbecue area, but there were still a number of issues from these terrible conditions, with trash cans blowing away and paper cups flying off tables. Even so, we enjoyed the BBQ together with the university students also having a BBQ next to us, and we laughed and said, "This is an unforgettable memory!"
This time, thanks to a 40-minute careful stretch class in the evening and a 30-minute warm-up stretch class before breakfast, no one suffered from severe muscle aches or pains. I now think that this type of program should be incorporated into every Gassyuku that we hold in the future.
We were able to talk together and deepen our relationship with other students and teachers from the Seifukai Aikido Tokyo Branch until late at night.
On the third day, we practiced Aikido at Chiseikan Dojo in Kyoto. Since there were many advanced students, Yoshida Shihan taught us high-level sutemi (throwing) techniques, kime (finishing) techniques, and shime (neck lock) techniques. The black belt promotion test also included many techniques, but they were performed with great care, and it turned out to be a wonderful success.
What surprised me the most during the camp was that Yoshida Shihan, who is over 80 years old, was so flexible and had such great physical strength that he did not get tired even after 3 days of teaching. Seeing him climb the stairs of Kyoto Station without holding the handrail made me realize once again the importance of continuous exercise.
I was also very happy to see that all the students of Chiseikan and Seifukai Aikido Tokyo were able to greatly improve, and were able to do techniques and rolls at the end of the Gassyuku that they had previously been unable to do. It was a very special and enjoyable training camp where we were able to help each other and grow with the principles of "Seiryoku Zenyo" and "Jita Kyoei”.
Master Yoshida's words, "Techniques must progress through discussion," left a strong impression on all of us. He also said that he understood my wish for Chiseikan to be a bridge to the world of Mochizuki Aikido and he reassured me that he would continue to support and cooperate with me in the future.
I will continue to devote myself to the development of Mochizuki Aikido, and I am deeply impressed by Yoshida Shihan's words, "Dojos must respect each other and cooperate, even if they have different ways of doing things”.
I am looking forward to next year's camp in May!