by Aleksandra Kivisalu
it’s Estonia here again. And of course, again there is winter. We have already established a tradition of holding winter seminars, because this is a good time to summarize. On December 10, we held a seminar under the strict guidance of Kirsi Höglund sensei. Kirsi sensei came to us for the second time!
As we already announced in advance, it was in some way an experimental seminar, where all day, from morning to evening, we analyzed basic techniques to the smallest detail and prepared for exams. Naginata Estonia has a very thorough approach to exams, because the exam requirements is also a training program for us. The written test is as important as the practical part of the exam from 6th kyu onwards. Typically the written test for each kyu consists of 8-10 questions on terminology or history.
The answers to these questions, of course, can be memorize mechanically. I didn’t expect Kirsi sensei added one more question for each student. And it was simple and brilliant. Sensei asked everyone: “write, why are you doing naginata?” Moment of surprise… Here, no one was ready to write a beautiful memorized answer, and therefore everyone answered maybe not always consistent, but sincerely and probably taking a step towards answering the answer to the fundamental question, what is the meaning of life? When I read these responses, I was extremely touched. When you see students at every naginata class, you just think more about what mistakes need to be corrected, what new topic to take, etc and you don’t think why they come to training time after time.
But everyone of them has their own personal reason and for each of them naginata has an important place in life. Of course, it is not proper etiquette for a student to lean on a naginata during training, but actually, if figuratively
speaking, in tne spiritual dimension it looks like this. Naginata gives to students the strength to stand straight, naginata supports. This is what was in the students’ answers.
Thank You, Kirsi sensei!
Happy holidays everyone and hold the line!