I travelled to Quebec City this past weekend for the Canadian Aikido Federation annual fall seminar. While the early morning departure and late night return were a little on the tiring side, it was all worth it. I got to connect with fellow teachers and students from across the country in addition to getting to see Osawa sensei - our technical director, my sensei.
Sensei delivered an amazing seminar, as always. He is able to create such an energetic training environment that everyone is lifted to new heights. With a strong emphasis on basics and foundation techniques he grounds us to what is most important. Posture, connection, remaining relaxed, attention to detail! Osawa sensei's incredible dedication to the highest quality of aikido and his students, us Canadians :-), is inspirational. I'm always motivated to return home and begin working harder than before after seeing sensei - both from a technical perspective and from the perspective of conveying the principles of aikido to my students.
I'm also continuously impressed by the dedication of the students in our community. As anyone who has travelled across our great country knows, it's huge! It can take an entire day to get from coast to coast. Not only is it a lengthy trip, it is a costly one. I'm grateful for the dedication and sacrifice of all the students who traded so much time and $$ for this past weekend of aikido and camaraderie.
I learn a great deal from having a wide variety of training partners. Like most people, I spend a majority of my time in my home dojo training with people I know pretty well. When the tables turn and I find myself training almost exclusively with people I don't know very well, a lot changes. This requires me to adapt constantly. It broadens and deepens the skills I have. Simply put, it makes me more able.
Stepping outside your own dojo to participate in community events like weekend seminars is very special part of aikido training. There really isn't anything that can replace it. Like Jim Barnes sensei told me this past weekend, “remain inside your own dojo and you are just a hothouse flower, try heading out into the weeds and see how you grow”.