Thursday, we had Sensei Harrington come in to town. He's the one who taught Kobudo to my sensei, so it was nice having him come in and go over the first kata step-by-step, talking about the ideas and the evolution of the form. It was also a treat to see him go over Sanchin (the first (and most important) of the Uechi-Ryu kata) with us. His school has some differances from ours, and it was insightful to see him talk about those differances and see why they do it that way.
Friday, the real fun began. We were being visited by Sensei Mattson -- a real treat as he's an east-coast boy. This is the guy who single-handedly brought this form to America. He trained under Master Uechi himself, and has been doing the form for ages. It's truly a treat to hear him talk about the form, the moves, the art behind it and the philosophical paths it takes.
So, yeah, he comes to town and he led class Friday night. We went over some of the intermediate kata, discussing the techniques and working the thought behind the form. Then we went to hang out at my sensei's home for an after-workout party. We sat out on the porch till late at night, talking about this, that, and the other while drinking some beers. Sometimes he'd answer a question or two about the form, sometimes it was just him telling stories of his life. No matter what, though, it was truly a pleasure to just sit and chat with such an experianced adn yet down-to-earth guy. He's really a great person. Very friendly, approachable, and all-round good egg.
Saturday, I had to get up early (after getting home late) and go for a morning workout with Sensei Mattson again. We started it out in the sun on the grass, which was a totally differant experiance, but he started turning pink (and this was *with sunscreen* -- he's a very fair-skinned guy) after about half an hour so we went back inside for the remainder. He led us through more kata, watched us and offered tips to the group about things to watch for and consider.
It was truly a moment, though, when I did a head-count of the people working out with us that morning. We had 40 people there to train under him. There were about 3 white belts (of various levels), 4 green belts (again, of various levels), a handfull of brown belts (again, various levels) and over 20 blackbelts of various levels. 6 of them were sensei in their own right and had dojos of their own. All these people had come just for the opportunity to spend a few hours training under this guy! Basically every Uechi-Ryu dojo in a few hours radius was represented there. We paired off and did some basic conditioning with eachother, so I got a first-hand look at how those things were done at different cities, and watching the various people doing kata I got to see the subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle) alterations that each sensei had done throughout his/her life.
Saturday afternoon, there was a nice big Kobudo session I declined to attend, so I could spend the time preparing some food for the party that evening (baklava and a salad -- both were very well received), and there was an upper-belt-only session that I wouldn't have been allowed to attend even had I been there (I'm still a lower-belt). The party that evening went well, with much fun and good food had by all. I again found myself home late.
This morning, I woke up early yet again to the alarm. I went on the bike ride, and I now find myself unable to call my dad (father's day and all) as his phone number returns a "disconected" message. odd, that. I'll have to email him.
I'm thinking I might stop wearing socks with my sandals.. comfy as they are, they are flippin' HOT in the summer! I haven't worn them this weekend, and I'm liking the noticeable differance in my internal temperature. Sure, that's one (or two, depending on how you count) less articles of clothing for strip poker, but I don't think that's a consideration I'll have to spend much time worrying about.
amusing thought for the weekend: as I was showing up for the workout Saturday, I was trying to decide if I should lock my bike tires or something, rather than leave it in the hallway unlocked (as there were other people on campus), and it struck me "You're bike will be standing in the hallway outside a room with over 20 blackbelts, 7 of them being *very* high level -- it's not going anywhere."