We receive a rest day on the fourth day of training, and believe me, you're ready for it!
There is a caveat, however...if you're grading, you may be assigned for extra morning training in the Honbu Dojo, next door to Sensei's ryokan. Or, typically, there is a trip to the nearby mountains to do waterfall training, a practice developed by Gogen Yamaguchi to eliminate distractions by outside influences. The idea is to meditate beneath a tall waterfall -- the colder, the better -- until one is impervious to the distraction and discomfort of icy water beating down on your head and shoulders. Rather like shimae (body testing) by water. In a good snow melt year, it is fun, but downright brutal. Not to mention you are trying to maintain balance in a jumbled pool of boulders beneath the falls.
Scenes from a waterfall training in Akita.
This year I opted out of the Waterfall training in order to really try to rest my back and feet.
The group that went reported the falls were pretty gentle this year.
I washed my gis and napped a little, because our annual Seiwakai banquet and party is the evening of rest day. I've always felt we might be better served if we held the party the night before rest day, so we would actually have a day to recuperate from drinking. If you've ever been to a Japanese karate celebration, you'll know what I mean.
The party is a great way to let your hair down and socialize with your fellow karateka from around the world. The food is terrific and the sake and beer flow freely. True to his word, Takahashi Sensei was there -- out of the hospital, and flashing that great smile of his. The most fun is possibly the karaoke the last hour of the event.
Afterward, there are a number of after-parties at The Old Friends Club, The Bowling Alley, or The Riverside Club.
What a great couple!
Let's hear it for karaoke!!!
Pal Gila (Hungary), Craig Vokey (Canada), and me