Roughly 3 years had passed since the Hokusei Jyuku had welcomed Sensei Steve Rawson 7th Dan and Sensei Pam Rawson 7th Dan to Norway, so the weekend of 19/20 Nov was greeted with much anticipation.
It was always going to be a short trip for the visitors, arriving Friday evening and leaving early on the Monday, but we were focussed on maximising having them back. For those who have yet to visit the Shikukai’s northern most outpost, travelling to and from is an all day event, requiring as standard, a journey to Heathrow, two flights as there’s no direct flight to our local airport (Aalesund), then another 1 hr 40 min car journey complete with a fjord ferry crossing.
As the Senseis had woken up at 02:00 on the Friday morning, the only Friday evening activity was refreshing themselves and viewing the Denshinkan (my home dojo).
The following morning however was up and at ‘em with the junior members of the club enjoying 1.5 hours of instruction before the club seniors arrived for the now routine, club photograph. The kids loved the Senseis’ inventive coordination-testing warmup before they progressed onto various basic drills expertly gauged so all got something positive from the experience. Individuals who grasped the drills quickest were placed in the centre of the rest and challenged in the form of a contest to see if they could keep up their initial pace. Press ups were awarded as required…
A dummy was used towards the end of the session, affectionately named Mobby-Bobby (mobbing translating as bullying in Norwegian), which is always enjoyable for the juniors.
Well done to all the juniors who participated, they did themselves proud.
Once the photograph pause was over, it was the adults turn to perform. The group consisted of juniors as well as adults due to the respective juniors grade and experience. I had the pleasure of warming them up, before the senior Senseis took the reins in earnest.
Discussion had already taken place regarding the theme for the weekend, with the Senseis keen to follow where possible the instruction given on the Shikukai Autumn course, in particular focussing on ‘Chi Kou Gou Itsu’. This was music to the Wymer family’s ears as our attendance on that course was not possible due to illness.
So rather than repeat the report written for that course, I will summarise by saying that the training followed and reinforced the theme of learning through hard training and dare I say, getting a good sweat on. But what was particularly enjoyable throughout was Sensei Pam’s explanations regarding the nuances of the Japanese kanji usage to describe the various techniques and stances. This helped clarify some aspects of Kushanku kata in particular, which has already been repeated in the club’s routine training schedule.
The Saturday training appeared to pass all too quickly but all was not lost as we reconvened at ‘chez’ Wymer that evening, providing the perfect opportunity to continue the clarification process and ask additional questions. As always it was an enjoyable and interesting evening gathering.
Sunday’s training began thankfully a little later than Saturday’s, and after Zoom’ing a greeting to Sugasawa Sensei’s Zoom session, the first external instructor led training session in the Denshinkan was underway.
Some training drills were repeated from the Saturday session and subsequently added to, as well as a more pointed focus on some 1st Kyu basics. There was also focus on Soru, the swaying back action found in Kihon 4 with training time allowing for building up to Kihon 4 after the action had been thoroughly drilled.
Again time passed all too quickly, so soon enough we came to the only grading of the weekend, that of Marianne Wymer who successfully graded to 1st Kyu. After that was completed (well done daughter), the club seniors were taken through Rohai at my request, as it has looming relevance…
All in all, a very enjoyable albeit short period of instruction but one that reinforced existing learning for all and lit the thirst for more for most.
The Hokusei Jyuku thanks Senseis Steve and Pam for their continued support and we look forward to welcoming them back annually; and we hope to grow such visits as we had planned to do pre-COVID…
Sensei Bob Wymer 5th Dan