Prag with Pascal Krieger and Fred Quant

20th and 21st of December 2014

A Jodo seminar and a calligraphy (Shodo) demonstration with Pascal Krieger Sensei took place in Prague during the last weekend before Christmas. The last visit of Pascal Sensei in Czech Republic was more than seven years ago (in Kacov, 2007). As a pleasant surprise to most of the participants, the seminar was also attended by another teacher, Fred Quant Sensei from the Netherlands, who visits us regularly throughout the last 12 years. Their joint seminar was an excellent Christmas gift to all of us.

The main topic of the seminar concerned the similarities between the stick (jo) and sword (ken), the theme was "ken jo ichi gotoshi". There were about 60 participants of various levels, including complete beginners and practitioners of other martial arts such as aikido. In addition to Czechs and Slovaks, the seminar was attended by participants from Hungary, Russia, Switzerland, Germany, France, Austria, Great Britain and the Netherlands. (Some participants from Prague were born in other countries - Ukraine, Lithuania and even Mexico.)

The calligraphy demonstration was held on Friday, with an audience of about 100 people (including the Jodo seminar participants, the students of calligraphy and japanese language, and other budoka of course). Some of them were present already at the first visit of Pascal Sensei in Prague in 1992. After a short introduction and questions session, Sensei spent a lot of time writing calligraphies for those interested. The demonstration was organized with the help of Rene Skupy (6th dan in Shodo, student of Pascal Sensei and Saito Isoji Sensei).

Saturday morning was devoted to the training with bokken for all the participants. In the afternoon, the beginners and non-practitioners of Jodo separately trained the very basic elements of Jodo, while Pascal and Fred worked together with more advanced participants on the basic techniques and katas. Enbu was held in the evening, showing the katas from the curriculum of Shinto Muso Ryu Jo and associated weapons (Tanjo, Jutte and Kusarigama).

On Sunday, we practiced with bokken for one more hour. Afterwards, Pascal Sensei lead the training of the beginners and taught them Suigetsu and Monomi katas. Others were split to two groups according to their level, one of them practicing Omote and Chudan waza, the other one Kage and Samidare waza. Last few minutes were given to those most advanced, practicing Isshin Ryu Kusarigama and Ikkaku Ryu Jutte.

The seminar ended just after noon on Sunday, so that most of the participants were able to leave home. Some of those living farther away stayed till Monday. Judging by both immediate and later reactions, nobody regretted going to this pre-Christmas seminar. Also the teachers were leaving satisfied. We thank them and everyone else for their participation.

Patrik Orth