Martial Arts Blogs A Journey to Shodan: July 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

The same but different.

So, here I am in Rome Italy fresh from my first international Shotokan experience.
It would seem that no matter where I train, I will receive the same comments:
1) Relax
2) Don't lean
Both are things I have been told repeatedly, but still manage for some reason to elude me.
I will also notice differences such as stances, various movements in Kata and although all commands are in Japanese, if the instructor has an accent (as was the case for me here in Italy) - even a simple word like Rei, doesn't sound like the word I am used to.

I arrived at the dojo at 7pm, ready for the 7:30pm start - only the class didn't start at 7:30, it started at 8pm - slight change in schedule, but after waiting for 45 minutes, I was sure it had been cancelled and actually packed up my things and went to change out of my gi!  Luckily I passed a gentleman in the hall wearing a gi (who didn't speak English) and I managed to mime my way through a conversation, and learned that class would begin shortly. As it turns out, the summer sessions are much the same as they are at home - sparsley attended due to vacations etc, so it was myself and two Shodans training for the evening. 

Sensei Castellani is very kind, however I can imagine that in a fully attended session, he would be a very firm instructor respected by all students.  He speaks English well, but is much like Sensei Lindsay, he doesn't actually need to speak in order to teach, one can understand simply by watching.
The session lasted just over one hour and was extremely hot, I think the hottest I've ever experienced while training and I felt nautious. I didn't want to be the wimpy foreigner, so I sucked it up and manged to last the entire class without passing out! I learned afterwards that some students actually do, so I wouldn't have been the first.
The floor was well padded - about three times as thick and soft as Olson's - which caused me to trip up a few times which was slightly embarassing, but overall I think I did OK, didn't embarass myself TOO much and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Next time I travel, I will absolutely search out a Shotokan dojo and request to join in.