5th KanKeiko Gasshuku, Haarlem, Netherlands

February, 28th and March 1st 2015

As last year participants had the possibility for three days of training, since for those who where able to come already Thursday evening or during Friday, the Dojo was open for pre-gasshuku training. A few people took the chance and where able to study Kihon, Uchi-Komi and other exercises with Kees Bruggink Sensei.
Friday evening SR Kenjutsu class was joined by people not regularly training in Jodo, mainly Aikido and Iaido practitioners. The Munen Muso Dojo was packed and we had to take turns when it came to practice Kata.

The stage officially started on Saturday morning with Fred Quant Sensei joining the teaching staff. Before training started John Frank Hoekzema, presented both teachers with copies his artful busts of Nishioka Sensei and Shimizu Sensei.
For the morning session - again in a crowded Dojo with a little more than 30 people - the two teachers guided us through the Kihon.
The theme of the stage had been set to "The role of Uchidachi in Katakeiko". Therefore the seniors were charged with taking the Ken for the Kihon Sotai and the teachers laid a lot of emphasise on what was expected from the Uchidachi during the Kihon and Uchi-Komi.

For the rest of the stage we relocated to a bigger hall. Sunday afternoon, after going through the Sotai Happo-Giri, Fred Sensei proposed several exercises related to selected Kata from Omote, Chudan and Samidare. It was interesting to work on challenging situations instead of going through a whole series.
The last half hour was dedicated to Ran-Ai, only doing the Kata once per partner and moving on to the next. During this session it was apparent that there is still a lot to realise about the theme of the stage.

Sunday training was lead by Kees Sensei together with his wife Wil Bruggink, who as usual took care of the beginners. We started out with a common session of Uchi Komi and then split up. The most advanced people where able to have a look at Okuden. Kees Sensei focused on individual corrections, giving us the chance to train directly with him. We therefore had the possibility to practise intensively with the selected partner. Some chose to go through the whole series, while others concentrated on a few of them.
Less advanced participants went through different series up to Kage.

After a short lunch break this continued with the Okuden people joining the Kage training. Kees Sensei let us work on parts of selected Kata, pointing out common misperceptions and pitfalls, especially on the Uchidachi side.
Much has been said about this role, but true understanding seems to be still lacking. It was interesting to get another, deeper look on what is expected from Uchidachi and how we might try to fill this role despite our shortcomings. It is clear the the progress of Shidachi is very much depending on a skilful Uchidachi. But skill is not the end of it, the right mindset - which can be compared to that of a benevolent teacher or a parent - has to be developed. We still have a long way to go, but this week-end gave us the chance to take a few steps along the path.

Thanks go to the teachers: Fred and Kees Sensei, the group of Munen Muso Dojo, who helped with the organisation, and to all the participants. This year more than 30 people from Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, US, Austria and the Netherlands where present.