Although our trip had been planned last year, It was with a little bit of trepidation that we travelled to the UK on last Friday (March 12th), given that we announced closure of our own dojo the same day (on HSE guidance relating to the SARS-Cov-2 / Covid 19 pandemic). However with very few cases reported in Ireland and the UK and no travel restrictions in or out of the UK we judged risk to be very low.
As might be guessed, turnout was lower than expected, however this gave unprecedented access to personal instruction and correction from Inoue Sensei which had us sweating hard and totally engaged at all times trying to absorb some of his soft and powerfull Aiki skills and knowledge.
It's difficult to describe in any meaninful way the level of difficulty of skills needed to execute techniques in the manner demonstrated, and all in attendance, from kyu grade all the way up to 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th dans on the mat were in awe and struggling.
It's humbling, frustrating and inspirational all at the same time, especially as Inoue Sensei gets you to demonstrate (attempt) the technique on him in front of all attendees until he feels you have some understanding.
Many thanks to Shaun Hoddy Sensei for organising and inviting us to his event. We appreciated the warmth and friendliness shown to us and we took the opportunity during rest periods to catch-up with friends and establish some new connections.
Finally huge thanks to Inoue Sensei for the kindness, patience and personal attention he gave us over the two days.
Sadly, I think this may have been our last opportunity for a while to travel and train together, but it is important to know that difficult times are easier to overcome when we look out for and support each other. Train smart and stay safe. - Jer