WED 25-JUL: Final Iaido training day in Japan.
Our 10th day in Tokyo, and 8th straight day of Iaido training was bitter sweet. While it was a shame to say goodbye, I felt we made the most of this experience. In the end, my mind was telling me to keep going, but my body was already starting to give. Chronic ankle and shoulder injuries were making it difficult to sustain the intensity of training that seems to be expected at Hatakenaka Sensei's dojo.
By the fifth day, I was finding it a little weird that the three of us were actually holding up pretty well. We had started noticing a difference in our physical performance level when we first arrived in Japan. No need to warm-up, no need to stretch, and yet able pull a stronger bow and practice for a longer period of time. I would assume it's due to the warm temperatures (30C+) and high humidity (55%+) everyday or perhaps there's something in the water? ;) Friends that have trained in Japan and Canada have noted the same thing. If anyone has a guess, let us know down in the comments!
This Wednesday evening's class would be at the Yotsuya #3 Elementary School. It seems like their schedule rotates between this location and the Hiroba using some complex algorithm that not even Sensei herself remembers. We arrived early as usual and started our practice while other members trickled in. It was mostly the younger group today. Future representatives of Shinjuku and Tokyo in the regional taikai?
Around 8 pm, Hatakenaka Sensei called for an embu to send us off.
Group #1 - 2 Dan and below included the female student from Day 3, a former captain of the Waseda University Iaido club. In fact, several of Hatakenaka Sensei's continuing students were former captains of the University club
Group #2 - 3 Dan and up including Hanna, Peter, Kei (Hatakenaka Sensei's youngest son) and Momoko Ono (Tokushi Kai club president)
As the class ended, we said our final thanks for this trip and left a parting gift in the way of treats. Iaido and Food. Our Tokyo stay in a nutshell! :)
While Peter would be attending another three practices before joining us in our flight back to Toronto, Michael, Hanna, and I are off to Chiba to start the final leg of our martial arts journey through Japan.