Unfortunately, it was raining when we gathered Saturday morning, but although the weather wasn´t perfect it didn’t stop us from having many hours of interesting training.
The weekend started as usual with Ritsu Zen followed by Han zen and Neri. This time we did some of the exercises with closed fists instead of open hands. We also trained in pairs and did Mukaite with closed fists as well as stickyhands and pushands exercises.
Sensei Marshall introduced a new way to parry hooks against the head. The parry worked by following the movement of the hook, from the outside of Ukes arm, to lead the attack away from the head. I personally found it a little bit difficult to get the hang of, but I thought it was an interesting technique and I hope to get the opportunity to continue working with it on our regular training sessions in Hagaparken.
During the second training session Sensei Marshall empathized how important our regular training is for future development. To regularly stand in Ritsu zen is central in our training and he encouraged us both to train more often and to stand in Ritsu zen during longer periods of time when we train on our own. Sensei also introduced a new method for us to actively work while standing in Ritsu zen. It involved the mental picture of an impulse going around in circles on the sagittal plane along the backbone and the stomach.
Sunday morning, we continued working in pairs, but finished the seminar with an exercise involving al of us. One by one we took place in the middle of a circle formed by the rest of the group. The person in the middle then got attacked from the others in the circle one at a time. The exercise did heighten our awareness of the surroundings and demanded that every attack got handled decidedly, so that the person in the middle quickly could move on and handle the next person attacking.
The training on Sunday also gave me some personal insights as my posture in Ritsu zen got tested by Sensei Marshall. My current idea of lowering my centre, letting the force going down in the ground isn´t wrong, but I realised that I needed something more to be stable. Sensei have often talked about how important it is to be active with our feet while standing in Ritsu zen. To let our toes “grasp” the ground so to speak. To concentrate on my feet grasping the ground during Senseis test, created a intension that really helped me to be more stable and have a much bigger confidence in my posture.
We like to thank Sensei Marshall for leading us with his engagement and his knowledge. These regular seminars always give us a lot of inspiration, new thoughts and exercises that we can continue working with. It´s like a vitamin injection for our continued development both as individuals and as a group.