My dear student Shmulik (nidan) joined me for our musha shugyo aikido learning adventure.
Our first stop was in Kyoto wich has an ancient and beautiful dojo called the "Butokuden" - Kyoto Budo Center. When we arrived there, there was a Yoshinkai Aikido seminar. We observed the class for a few minuets, and returned a day later, to participate in the regular Aikikai Aikido evening class.
After helping the members to spread the tatami, we recieved permission to join the class. Sensei did not arrive yet, so Shmulik and I began practicing freely with each other. One of the senior members - a man in his 70th approached us, and began to ask us friendly questions. I told him that I used to be a member of Kyoto Aikikai but not anymore, and that at last, I am glad to visit the Butokuden Aikido class. He asked me if I know the difference between Judo and Aikido... It was kind'a strange question... Maybe he wanted to check something or to examine my understanding in Budo... well, I gave him the correct answers :-) and then he asked me an "Aikido question": Why do we stand in a triangular stance in Aikido (Hanmi no Kamae). I told him about the concept of dealing with a large numbers of attackers, and about the relation between empty hands aikido and traditional weapons in aikido. I guess I passed the "test".
Sensei arrived. He welcomed us, and told us that we are guests and that we should not pay for class. Class was dynamic and really interesting. The most senior members of the dojo - including an 80 years old woman, trained with us, with so much energy and joy. There were also other realy old timers with maybe 40 or 50 years in Aikido who gave us very wise and useful advice.
If you are an Aikidoka and you are visiting beautiful city of Kyoto, please do not hesitate to train with the wonderful Budo Center Aikido Dojo (Aikikai).
Next time, I will write about Aikido Kyoto Dojo in Nishijin (Kyoto) and about the impressive and tallented Sensei over there -Yoko Okamoto Shihan.