by Kirsi Höglund
On Thursday October 16 Yasui sensei arrived in Sweden after a 22-hour flight from Japan. Once in Uppsala, after a nice lunch and a mere hour’s rest, she already stood in the dojo teaching a happy group of people! The evening’s focus was basics and shikake-oji. We got three great hours of practise. The most valuable for me personally was the direction of the harai. It makes perfect sense in many ways and will improve my shikake-oji a lot, once I can execute it as Yasui sensei instructed.
The next day, sensei got to see the city from its best side with sunny and cool weather. October in Sweden can be sunny and beautiful with greens, reds and golds, but it can also be cold and rainy or even snowy. In the evening, we had a second night of practise. After some basics, the high-levels started to work on the Zen Nihon Kata – well needed and so great to have plenty of time over so many days.
On the Saturday, we had a full day of practise in Stockholm. The naginatekas from Finland worked hard for the upcoming gradings, and we all got some nice practise in bogu. Even if the practise was as great as always, the thing that this Saturday will be remembered for, is that we had to evacuate the restaurant because of a fire. It all ended well and we had a nice dinner party 🙂
Sunday was grading day for our Finnish friends. Everyone worked hard and passed both the written and practical test, under Yasui sensei’s watchful eyes. It was a really good experience to see how sensei judged the different parts and hear the reasoning about the different levels. The high-level Zen Nihon Kata practice continued and we could slowly see some progress in the last day’s practice. I got reminded of the beauty of the kata – the story of the kata, rather than the individual cuts.
Monday was a “wrapping up day” and time was too short for everything we wanted to do. We ended almost as we started this five-day seminar – with focus on the shikake-oji. Now I have lots and lots of things to work on until I see Yasui sensei next time. After practice we were invited to Tulla’s house for a wonderful get-together with lots of laughs and a lot of love. Thank you to all that participated, but above all, thank you Yasui sensei for giving us of your time and knowledge. <3