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Fresh Start

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At the risk of being pummeled by the JudoForum Community, I will attempt to give an account of some of the things I hear and see at the Kodokan. I was inspired to begin this blog by two events: one, my return to Japan after spending a month in the States following the eathquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear crisis and two, I witnessed a particularly spirited performance of the Koshiki no Kata.

Returning to the Kodokan after a month long break, I felt both refreshed and a little strange. I have trained there for a solid three-four days a week for the past four plus years. A month break has been the longest I have been away except for when I have been injured (and even then I would drop in once a week to watch training). Even when I arrived at Narita airport, things appeared a bit unusual. I arrived on a Saturday and the airport was pretty empty. I walked right up to Immigration and there was no line for foreigners. My wife who is Japanese also breezed through the Japanese Nationals side. We later talked with an airport employee who told us that the weekdays were even less crowded...which I cannot even imagine. Also, due to the power shortages the lighting was pretty dim. the whole atmosphere was surreal, almost like the Twilight Zone. Getting back to the Kodokan, I saw many sensei, training artners and old acquintances in the dojo but the mood seemed a bit subdued. In addition, the dormitory seemed empty. I have a feeling that we will be seeing fewer visiting foreign judoka this year. In any case, I was looking forward to resuming training and managed a decent number of uchikomi. I did a little newaza and tachiwaza randori but my focus for this first month is performing lots and lots of uchikomi in attempt to "hardwire" uchimata and hanegoshi.

During one of my breaks, one of my friends remarked that Saito-sensei from Kokushikan had entered the dojo. I have rarely seen Saito-sensei in Kodokan except when the national team was training. I had been introduced to him at a hanami party a year earlier and walked over to do aisatsu. He remembered me as we had talked about Yonezuka-sensei my teacher in the USA. Since Saito-sensei was from Tohoku, he considered Yonezuka-sensei who was also from Tohuku his sempai. Saito-sensei was standing in the corner of the dojo among some other judoka who were observing Daigo-sensei's Koshiki no kata class. Nearby, Enoki-sensei was stretching. Enoki-sensei I believe is a member of the Imperial Guard and well-repected senior sensei and referee at the Kodokan. Returning to my uchikomi, I soon felt the eyes of teh Kodokan directed toward Daigo-sensei's training area. Saito and Enoki were performing Koshiki no kata. I am not so familiar with the technical aspects of this intricate kata, however the performance of this kata by two powerful judoka of this level was awesome, spirited and inspiring. The uke was attacking and the tori was really committed to his throws especially the sutemi waza where the tori falls directly backward. Also the ukemi was so smooth that despite the heft of these two men (both at 110-120k), the sprung floor did not give way much at all. Returning to my uchikomi, I felt invigorated. I was truly back at the Kodokan...

3 Comments On This Entry

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Dave ® 

04 May 2011 - 03:48 PM
I enjoyed reading this post of yours but I don't understand why there would be risk of you being pummeled by the JudoForum community with this post. I must be missing something.


27 May 2011 - 09:17 PM

Dave ®, on 04 May 2011 - 08:48 AM, said:

I enjoyed reading this post of yours but I don't understand why there would be risk of you being pummeled by the JudoForum community with this post. I must be missing something.

Yeah great post. Post more.


15 November 2011 - 11:41 AM


At the risk of being pummeled by the JudoForum Community

Why would that be? :huh:

"Insider" stuff is great to read, especially to those of us living halfway across the world…
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