Jodo Stage at Vienna

December, 8th and 9th 2012

The group of the “VJK Ronin Wien” under the group leaders Brigitte Prasek and Helga W. was happy to organize another week-end stage with Wil and Kees from the Netherlands.
We had two full days of training with participants from our dojo, as well as one from the other Viennese group. Guests joined us from Hungary, Czech Republic and France. We were also happy about a new beginner who was introduced by Wil and Brigitte to the first few kihon and kata.

Saturday morning started with a short session of the whole kihon tandoku followed by a detailed look on selected kihon sotai. Kees put the emphasis on a progression of the techniques to enable us to discover the right angle, timing and ki-ken-tai.

After lunch break we continued in the same vein with uchi-komi. Then we split up in kata groups with the most advanced people concentrating on samidare. We were able to connect the morning uchi exercises to the entrance movements, continuing with special training for those.
Wil was taking care of people working on the earlier series and managed to go through parts of omote, as well as chudan and ran-ai.

In the evening some of the participants joined the teachers for a nice dinner. We had some interesting discussions concerning jodo and budo in general.

Sunday morning was again started by uchi-komi. We saw the importance of te-no-uchi and the relationship with the uchi-dachi, emphasizing to work with the opponent, not on his sword.
This was followed by the famous chudan-exercise. On this Kees let us work on the differences between escape and ai-uchi/kiri-otoshi, while still finding the connection to the earlier exercises.

After the groups were split up again according to level, we spent the rest of the morning on kata up to kage.

The night before, outside the dojo, Kees had given additional explanations concerning kage: "Up to ran-ai you get an general view about what jo is, but after that you should go deeper. You should study the te-no-uchi, the ri-ai, the ma-ai.
"Every new series starts a new circle. When you are in kage, and want to go deeper, you should go back to the kihon and start the whole path again. This should happen every time you finish a series. Each time you start a new life in yourself.
"When you start kage, you should develop your mind further. You are more aware than before of the presence of your opponent.
"The opponent is really there. Act like this, act with this awareness in your mind. You have to know what is in front of you. You will be cut.
"Be aware of this even in kihon tandoku. Your attitude must be the same everywhere. Kage changes your kihon. It’s a frame of mind and you must be able to put this in kihon tandoku.
"When you do shi-uchi-kotai, it’s not only "change the role", it’s also a change of mind. The mindset has to change, when you change the side. The shi-dachi role is different from the uchi-dachi role."

Therefore, we worked on details of several kata in kage, trying to keep in mind the experiences from earlier exercises and looking for some fine points of ri-ai that had escaped some of us.

After only a short buffet lunch break in the hall, we continued this work. The final hours were spent also in groups, with emphasis on kage and gohon-no-midare and the kage of kusarigama jutsu. Wil further helped the beginners and intermediate students in kihon, omote, chudan as well as in ken, though these levels were also visited by Kees.

Throughout the stage, the size of the group allowed the teachers to work on a very personal level. Little teaching was done in front of the whole group, favoring one-on-one practice enabling the participants to directly work with Kees and Wil individually.

We want to thank our teachers for sharing their insights and for their patience, generosity and good humor. A thanks goes also to all our guests who helped in making this a wonderful seminar with an atmosphere that was clearly focused on listening and learning.

We hope to see you again and also want to invite everyone who was not able to come this time to our next seminars. (Spring seminar with Michel and again fall or winter with Wil and Kees - keep an eye on the calendar.)

ヘルガ (for the VJK Ronin Wien)