Tuesday, 20 March 2012

March Break!

Just got back from a fantastic trip to Southern France. Did some site-seeing and relaxed with some friends. Also had a chance to train with some local Iaidoka!

The "Shinfukan Dojo" is located in Marseille and is tucked away behind a rather drab looking garage door in the industrial part of the city. I didn't know what to expect as we waited outside for the Sensei to unlock this portion of his house for the start of training.

Stepping across the threshold was like walking into a completely different time and place. Spreading out before us, just meters away from the dusty streets and highways of the second largest city in France, was a magnificent, authentic dojo; the likes of which I've not seen outside of Japan.

The level of detail and workmanship that went into its construction could not have been less than a labour of love.

SHINFUKAN DOJO26 traverse de gibbes
13003 Marseille

Renseignements tous les soirs après 18h au 04 91 02 07 97

Eric introduced us to Sensei Chabaud, Renshi 7 Dan Jodo, 5 Dan Iaido, who generously lent us two iaitos to train with. The class was an hour long, but felt significantly shorter. Sensei Chabaud lead us through some warm-ups followed by multiple repetitions of each Seitei kata.  

Every so often, he would come by to give some advice that was brief and to the point. It was a clear sign of his experience that I didn't have to understand French, and he didn't have to speak English, for each suggestion to come out loud and clear.

After the class, one of the students volunteered to translate my message of appreciation to the Sensei and a request for a group photo. What a pleasure it was to find this isolated bit of Japanese culture within the hustle and bustle of this western port city.