Japan Bridge by Don Ellingsworth

One of the main reasons for this trip to Japan was for us to attend the International Aikido Bridge Seminar in Kumamoto City, Kyushu Island, with Ikeda Sensei, Sakabe Sensei and Shimizu Sensei.

Sakabe Sensei and his group did a very fine job organizing the event.  Since our hotel was so close to the training hall, we were able to walk there rather than take a trolley.  However, when we passed the trolley stop, we noticed three younger Japanese guys with Aikido Bridge badges around their necks and a big sign in English that said “Aikido — This Stop.”  As we approached them, we told them we were here for the seminar so one of the young men began to escort us to the training hall.  We walked a bit with him and Julie was able to convince him that we knew the way and he could go back to wait for other guests.

The training facility was a very large community gym with many different expansive rooms and events going on at the same time.  During the weekend, we were able to watch some of a kendo match and I peeked into another room to see a ping-pong tournament happening among very small children.

As we got closer to the room, we saw Ikeda Sensei (who is from Colorado) and he gave us both a big hug and asked about our trip to Japan so far.

While at registration, we met with Sakabe Sensei and it was a great reunion for Julie.  As part of the registration process, we received a bag of seminar items.  The schedule, a ribbon to tie around our obi, and a commemorative plate with photos of the instructors as well as the date of the seminar. Once we got signed in, we made our way to the changing rooms and got ready for keiko.

Ayhan was already there with some of his Turkish students.  So we said some quick ‘hellos’ before getting on the mat.

The seminar started with an hour of training with Sakabe Sensei followed by an hour with Ikeda Sensei.  Julie did the translating for both classes.

Since there were so many classes, looking back now I can’t recall all the details of each class individually.  But I can say that I trained with a variety of people with a wide range of skill.  One common thing I noticed about the students from the Kumamoto area dojo was the speed of their back rolls.  They were consistently both quiet and quick.

Sakabe Sensei’s classes were very dynamic and he talked of moving around ‘one point.’  While he is an older Japanese man, he is very fit and I am fairly certain could beat me in most any kind of physical challenge!  He called a variety of people for ukemi, and I was fortunate to take his ukemi several times.

<more later—I hope!>

ブリッジ・セミナー ドン・エリングスワ-ス (フロリダ州)











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