Skip navigation

Aikido Autumn Seminar in Izu / Japan – Part 2


The Saturday morning practice was no problem at all, I lied awake since long before 7:30am …

Light techniques on Tatami hard as concrete already early in the morning. Finally after practice we rushed to the beloved Japanese breakfast consisting of fish (with bones), rice, Misoshiro (soup) and, of course, green tea. Coffee drinkers and toast broad fans gave a howl, but after all an Aikido seminar is not a pleasure trip, is it?

The proposal to skip the noon practice in favor of using the day for sightseeing got no approval at the public vote under the eyes of Shimizu Sensei, and so we were on the Tatami at 11am again. Light techniques again, and after about 30 minutes there was a break. Two Japanese guys had somehow somewhere got up to mischief and had to step in front of the group. We were told that they now were available to be Uke for all around 50 participants for four techniques at a time. Some of the Nages tried some very spectacular techniques as well, as they were throwing and it was not their part falling on concrete. Both candidates got over the about 200 throws as Uke nearly upright, everybody was full of admiration, and the two left the Tatami proudly, although surely they endured a lot of pain (unfortunately we did not spot them at the regular training in the Tendokan during the following two weeks).

Thereafter the group, which relaxed in a kneeling position for about 20 minutes on the hard Tatami, could enjoy themselves for the last 5 minutes with Irimi-nage on concrete…

Individual lunch (charged separately); Peter decided for cold noodles (Tsumetai Soba); after lunch we rested until afternoon class at 4:00pm; a small group went for sightseeing to Shimoda city and boarded the gondola to Shimoda mountain.

As the Dojo was at the top of the hill and we stayed a little downhill, we had to climb up und down the mountain several times a day wearing Dogi and slippers. Those who did not want to walk could call a bus by telephone.

After evening practice, which started with techniques using the Bokken (Bokken and Jo were provided for all participants) and ended with a very relaxing stretching course by one of the Aikido students, we walked again to the dining room (after the compulsory visit to the hot bath).

High-proof Serbian spirits extended the alcoholic part of the evening.  In the beginning we stayed sober, but some time later in the evening we joined the drinking party… I cannot remember details any more.

The highlight of the alcoholic party was Kenta’s movie from September 2007 in Vladivostok. Very pretty Russian girls varied with the many participants of the seminar in Vladivostok trying desperately to do the Tendoryu techniques. Kenta’s movies become more professional every time, but title sequences and accompanied music still give room to improvements. After another movie about the Serbian seminar 2007 several talking and drinking groups were formed. One of the Berlin participants went to bed, the other one – better holding his liquor well – dutifully destroyed the remaining beer and spirits and the quickly provided rice snacks talking stimulating about political and cultural topics in German/English/Japanese.

The number of roommates had increased. In fact some of the participants had returned already at the second day, but about ten new faces could be spotted at the Tatami. Now the room was occupied by one deafening permanent snorer, by two snorers able to snore at all pitches and one casual snorer; in the middle of the night Christian, a Japanese room mate and Peter could only laugh listening to the terrible snore duet in the neighboring room (separated by a paper wall). Next time Mimisen are definitely a must.


Again no alarm clock was necessary …At the last Aikido session in the morning Shimizu Sensei apologized again for the bad Tatami and promised improvement for the next year’s seminar. Additionally he pointed out the great importance of courage (Yuki) and readiness (Kakugo) for everyone in his life. And he emphasized the necessary group feeling of all Aikidoka. Nobody fights alone; some time there will be the opportunity to help each other in one way or another, because all follow common objectives in Aikido. Again the training was excellent, and we were surprised by some interesting technical details. Over and over again Shimizu Sensei emphasized the importance of merging with the partner’s movements, which should not be routine or done automatically but should be filled with life and Ki.

The hours in Izu passed very quickly, and soon all were ready for farewell. Koreyuki San, the two Uke candidates and we took a different way home straight through the forests along a private (a high toll was charged) road (Skyline Highway) leading to Fuji San. There was some snow on the top of Fuji San, and we passed along two beautiful mountain lakes with a view on Hakone National park.

Because of the high toll the road was empty, only now and then some motorbikes apparently using the road as test track rattled along. All of us were already very tired, unfortunately driving Koreyuki San as well, who rushed along the road with nearly 100 km/h ignoring the 40-60 km/h provided by law – mentioning that due to his age his reactions became a little slower. The passengers, clinging to their seats, could not really laugh about this, and some of us preferred the natural Japanese traveling posture…

As prearranged we left the car in Odawara and took the Odakyu Line to Tokyo (the Shinkansen stops in Odawara, too, is three times faster, but three times more expensive as well). Next day we learned that the people, who returned by car, were stuck for hours in traffic jam on the Tomei express way (that is the normal highway back to Tokyo) because of several car accidents.

Back in Tokyo we then were only able to go to the coin laundry before resting...

C & P