Japan 42: The Arrival

crossing the "flow" of a river in India

I arrived this morning in Narita and now after a well deserved shower and a little nap I feel ready for this new trip.

It was strange to arrive in Narita before the shops and restaurants were opened. In 20 years it was the first time I saw those shops closed. Naively I thought that in Japan people were working 24h a day. 🙂

I spoke today with Volker Paternoga who is going back home tomorrow. He got promoted to 15th dan and told me how strange it was to give the Sakki test. The sakki test is nothing “magic” it is a natural human survival reaction put to light by years of training. Actually I see the sakki test as double: the day you take it; and the day you give it. This is to me the exact same experience and feeling. When you lower the sword it is not from your own decision, you lower the blade because it is time to do it.

Everytime the thinking process is involved in our actions we lose the nagare of life and we “force” our nature in an unnatural manner. To the same extent on the mats, the best natural movements appear when there is no preconceived idea on what we are going to do.

Hatsumi sensei’s budô is the school to be moving into the flow of things and take the best out of it whatever is happening. I am really happy to have the opportunity to meet him again and to learn more.

Eugenio from Italy is there and I have to meet him in the lobby. I will keep you informed as much as I can on this blog during my trip.

Be happy!

Bear vs Lion: 1-0

Yelling & retreating

This week-end in Budapest after a nice seminar organized by Lazslo, we went to a zoo where I had the honour of meeting the “king of the animals”, a baby lion (5 months old). I have been living with cats all my life (I have 3 cats) and this chance offered by Lazslo to meet an actual lion was something I was eager to experience.

Before I entered the cage, another man was playing with him and it was nice to watch. I was hoping to have the same kind of playing time with the young lion. But as you can see on the picture, when I entered the cage, the little guy got so frightened of me that he stepped back and didn’t want to getting close to me. At what point he eventually  yelled and “roared” at me while getting protected behind the leg of his trainer. It took him 30 minutes to come to me but he never stayed. When he was away, his eyes and ears were always turned towards me.

The trainer said that this was the first time she was seeing this reaction with a human as this is the typical attitude of the young lion when facing his lion father. This little guy was afraid of me even though my attitude was very open. Some will say that this is also why young students are afraid of me. 🙂

Nevertheless I found that interesting and sad. Interesting because it proves that the sakki might be really something that is changing our attitude, and sad because I would have loved to play with this oversized kitty as I do with my own cats.

When we undergo the sakki test, something is revealed and grows and unfolds more over the years, this is why training is so important. Truth does not lie in the technique but in the attitude.

Keep going!

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