Russia 2015 (Saint Petersburg & Moscow)

16th to 19th of April 2015

This year's seminar of traditional Jodo in Saint Petersburg was held on April 17-19. The day before, the Russian members of the European Jodo Federation also organized the first training of Jodo in Moscow.

The training in Moscow was held on April 16 in the evening. There were 23 participants including the teacher and three more advanced trainees (one from Czech Republic, two from Saint Petersburg). Only one of the participants from Moscow, Alexej Sitnikov, had any previous experience with Jodo, due to his participation in past seminars (Alexej was also the one to propose and organize this training). Hence, this training held in Red Gate Budokan (Budokan Krasnyje Vorota) was mostly aimed at complete beginners. We introduced several of the kihon techniques and practiced them as uchikomi, and at the end of the training in a simplified form of the tsuki zue kata. Only time will tell whether some of the participants will continue practicing.

We then travelled by a night train to Saint Petersburg, where we were joined by another EJF teacher, Jean-Pierre Pahud from Geneva's Shung Do Kwan dojo, accompanied by Rene Etter from Basel.

The seminar in Saint Petersburg was as usual held in Lenkai dojo, which is the oldest aikido dojo in Russia (nowadays, several different styles of Aikido, as well as Judo, Karate, Iaido, Jodo and Kyudo are trained in the dojo). The Friday's training was open to everyone and thus it was joined by many other people in addition to the weekend seminar participants. For the first year, most of the participants (almost 40 people from Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Smolensk, Pyatigorsk and Kishinev) continued till Sunday. So, there were more people who train Jodo regularly, and we were able to focus on more advanced parts of the curriculum.

The main topic for the Friday evening was bokken (basic cuts shomen and kesa giri and kenjutsu katas according to the levels of the participants), followed by a brief uchikomi geiko practice. The Saturday's trainings were focused on kihon and omote waza. Additionally, for the first time we added a two-hours closed training for the more advanced participants, with whom we trained chudan waza. On Sunday, we continued the program from Saturday, reviewing and adding a few more katas. At the end of the seminar, we held successful exams for 9 candidates for 5th kyu, one for 3rd kyu and one for 2nd kyu.

Overall, we had a good feeling concerning the increasing level of the participants, which we saw both during the trainings and the exams, and we expect to see most of them again in 2016.

Patrik Orth (English translation: Zdenek Dvořák, photos: Konstantin Plakhin...)