Man, I'm feeling like I was run over by a bus this morning! I always think I'm in pretty good shape when I get here, but that first day always takes the starch out of us. Another thing I tell myself is that I'm going to pace myself this year, but that never happens. It is difficult to pace yourself when you are front row center and Fujiwara Sensei is standing right in front of me the entire day. Pace myself? Ha...
We have just under 100 practitioners here. Good turnout!
The training venue
It was a great morning session of training. We started out by walking around the cavernous training hall for about 15 minutes, then Rod Martin from Brisbane put us through the traditional Goju-Ryu warmup, in which every exercise is meant to increase the strength and flexibility of the muscles and ligaments actually used in Goju techniques.
Afterwards, Stacey Karetsian, from Sydney, led us through a LOT of moving basics, building in intensity until the sweat was freely flowing. It was a very good, very taxing series of punches, blocks, kicks, and multiples thereof.
Sensei Fujiwara led us in katas Sanchin and Tensho, Gekki Sai Ichi and Ni, and Saifa. First slowly then building to true speed and then many repititions. The floor in the training hall is urethane and makes your feet stick, so it isn't long before the skin is coming off. All of this was only the two-hour morning sesssion.
The group with the Mayor of Omagari
After our lunch break, it was back on with the soaked, chilly gi tops and away we go again, pausing only for a brief group photo with the Mayor of Omagari. We started with Saifa again and made our way all the way through Kururunfa kata in the three hour afternoon session, with many rounds of partner work on kata bunkai (applications). My partner is Glenn Stephenson Sensei from Australia, who is the country head for Seiwakai, who I have known for years. He's a very savvy karateka and therefore a good partner.
By the end of the three hours, my sciatic nerve was lighting me up, so I had to keep "biting the bullet" and keeping on. Walked the mile and a half back from the training hall just to try and loosen my hip and sciatic nerve. I was pretty bushed, but I always am after the first day.
Architect's Rendering of the New Omagari Budokan
Fujiwara Shihan told us he was going to repeat this training every day, because we need work on our basics. I guarantee our basics will be miles better by the end of this week.
Now it is time to gather my gear and get ready for another day of training. It will be another hot one!
Over and out.