At the weekend our dojo was visited by a 7th Dan, Ezra Shihan, for a two hour training session. With gi and hakama ironed to perfection and weapons freshly oiled and ready I arrived, as instructed, early at the dojo. A quick head count revealed approximately 50 people ready to train. Patience was in order, we had to wait for the preceding kettleball class to finish using the dojo!
The reaction from other MA people when I told them about our visitor ranged from:
- “Wow, full of envy.”
- “Oooh, best behavior then!”
- “Is that a real 7th Dan or a self-proclaimed one?”
On the final point the mention of Terry Ezra’s name was enough to calm that persons doubts. I think I know were they were coming from, but I’ll save that for another blog musing.
A video of the Komyokan Aikido Association and Terry Ezra Shihan doing an open air class and demonstration in Birkenhead Park, UK.
Meanwhile, back to the dojo. . .
As can be expected from a shihan, the quality of teaching and the knowledge being passed on was wonderful. BUT (and yes it’s a big but) with 50 people in our small dojo it made for a crowded mat. This produced several minor disadvantages:
- No real space to complete some moves that required active ukemi, so there was a need to prematurely these in order to avoid collisions.
- I’ve grown used to being taught in a class of 20 maximum. This means that at some point during a 2 hour session the sensei will come around and interact one on one. Due to the large class size this didn’t happen.
- An initial bunching of lower grades at one end and higher grades at another. I’m ony just a 6th kyu (right at the bottom) and on four occasions found myself trying to help novices who would have benefited from someone who actually knew what they were talking about!
However, it was fantastic!
I took advantage of the opportunity to train with people I hadn’t met before, which always teaches you something no matter what their level of experience. After 20 minutes of me confusing novices I took the plunge and marched over to the higher grades to ask for extra help, thus gaining more from the training, and with the other lower grades following my example.
I view the teaching time from Ezra Shihan as something to take away and work with. Yes, the concepts were advanced for me, but they remain solid concepts that I can aim towards in both my Aikido and my Jiu Jitsu.
And rather nicely it looks like our senior club instructor, Parr Shidoin (6th Dan), myself and others who are interested will be visiting Sensei Ezra’s dojo once a month. That’s what I truly appreciate about martial arts, even senior grades will openly admit that there is always something new to learn and areas to work on, and if you are interested then people will help.