The Bridge Seminar 2012, Days 2-5

Well, fine. I can’t train 6 hours a day and keep up with blogging at the same time. So, here’s a bit of catching up.

The seminar was a wonderful experience, with the ouchy exception of some persistent leg muscle spasms that started a couple of weeks ago. I got through most of it, and had a good deal of fun, but was also pretty limited in what I could do, and distracted, which was unfortunate.  

There were 6 guest instructors in addition to the main 3. Here’s a quick summary of a few of the classes, to the best of my recollection.

Troy Farrow Sensei taught on Friday morning. We worked on a variety of swirly techniques from gyakute-dori (cross-hand grab), including one I do all the time in jiyuwaza, but can recall ever seeing anyone teach it. It was a fun, high-energy class, and a great way to get going in the morning.

Friday evening’s class was led by Greg O’Conner Sensei, who I had the pleasure of training with at the Aiki Retreat last summer, too. His focus was on movements coming from sword technique, with a lot of cutting energy.

On Friday night I hustled out the door and back to my home dojo, Aikido of San Diego, because Goldberg Sensei would be teaching the 90-minute class. I miss those lately, because he usually teaches the 90-minute class on Wednesdays (my date night). These longer classes are often more seminar-like in temperament, really going into depth on some aspect of Aikido as a practice, as opposed to techniques. It was a truly inspired class, and I’m very glad I was able to make it

Jeff Sodeman Sensei taught a class on injury prevention and safe ukemi on Saturday morning. It was a great one-hour reminder of the things we’d learned in one of his longer workshops last year. I especially liked one warm-up exercise that involved stepping out in 8 directions (to the front, to the front-side, to the side, etc. all the way around), at first a little, then deeper, and finally in lunges. Great for loosening up, and for building strength and coordination. And you can do it any time (while you wait for the coffee to brew, for instance).

I finally got to train with George Ledyard Sensei on Saturday evening, which was awesome. His way of communicating and demonstrating really clicks with me. I enjoyed his class, and got a lot out of it. We worked on a Daito Ryu method of learning to send a wave of energy over our partners, from our hara (center), getting inside the attack. It was interesting to play with that same energy later in the seminar, especially in Ikeda Sensei’s class.

On Sunday, Lia Suzuki Sensei taught the morning class, but I arrive to late to join in (I really need to warm up first). I’m sorry I missed that one; I’d been looking forward to training with her. Sunday evening’s class was taught by Murashige Sensei. By that time my legs and brain were too tired to participate, so I watched that one from the loft.

On Monday morning I only managed about the first 20 minutes. When muscle spasms get to the point where you cannot get yourself out of the way of Tissier Sensei, who has come to demonstrate something with your partner, it’s time to get off the mat. So I watched again, and took some photos from the loft.

That night I was doing much better (seems that shikko is the killer, for the moment), and was able to participate in both classes at my dojo. Like many vacations, it was great fun to get out, to see and learn new things, but wonderful to come home, too.

All in all a tremendous experience, and I’m looking forward to next year!

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