So, the weekend is over now, and I’ve survived the Iaido seminar headed by Mike Flynn Sensei (Thistle Aikikai, Scotland) up in Croy.
In all honesty, I’ve enjoyed the experience immensely. There was a positive buzz in the air generated by people who share a love/interest in the Japanese sword art.
Watching all the ‘sensei’s (teachers)/’sempai’s (seniors) doing Iaido was absolutely fascinating! Subtle nuances and emphasis on different aspects of the same kata makes it seem and feel utterly different.
And of course I’ve not just been hanging around looking. I’ve only been doing iaido for 1 year now, and it’s always been 1 hour classes. This weekend course was 9 hours altogether (5 on Saturday and 4 on Sunday), so it was rather taxing physically as well as mentally. My palms were completely red on the train back towards London after it all!
Day 1 consisted of 4 classes, the first class beginning with various nukitsuke (sword drawing) and notto (sword sheathing) techniques. After that we were split into 2 groups, shoden (for beginners, where I was) and chuden (advanced).
In the Shoden group, we were taught more basic combinations of nukitsuke and notto. After that, it was time for Shoden, the first set of kata (a series of techniques strung together in a certain sequence for training and conditioning purposes) from Muso Shinden Ryu (an Iaido ‘school’). The 12 katas were split between the remaining 2 1/2 classes with different instructors (the final class by my own teacher, Ismail Sensei).
The second day continued on pretty much along the same lines, but this time it was the set of 12 katas from Shindo Munen Ryu (another school of Iaido, quite often taught alongside Muso Shinden Ryu it seems). At the very end of the course was tamashigiri (test cutting) for the seniors.
We only had 10 minute breaks in-between classes for the entire duration of the course. This mean, no lunch!!!
We kept ourselves propped up by quickly munching on titbits that we brought up from London (dark choc kitkats, dried mango, cashew nuts) and not a lot of water. Our hakama (traditional japanese trousers that martial artist still wear) make it a tad difficult to visit the lav in less than 10 minutes. With that, when classes were over for the day we’d very quickly find ourselves somewhere with food and happily fill up with something warm.
Thus was my first Iaido course up in Scotland. The next post will feature photos of food and fillers. Stay tuned…!