WOW! What a weekend!
Joined by aikidoka from across the UK and Europe, Ian Rees Sensei and Paul Lewis Sensei spent 3 days sampling the some of the finest haggis, neeps and Aikido in Edinburgh.
Organised by Scott Reed Sensei (5th Dan), Edinburgh Aikido Club hosted a spectacular annual event with Toshiro Suga Shihan (7th Dan). It was a pretty special one too - celebrating Toshiro's 50th year practicing and studying Aikido.
The weekend covered a whole host of themes including some Ushiro techniques, Gyaku Hanmi techniques, Kumi Tachi and Ken Tai Jo.
Giving us a glimpse of Aikido's lineage back to Daito Ryu, Toshiro's overarching theme was the importance of drilling and understanding the martial foundations. Les fondemonts!
And boy, did it show!
Toshiro's technical skill and expertise was second to none! The emphasis he placed on improving flexibility, strengthening the core and for nothing to be wasted in training was crystallized by the sharpish, fluidity and efficiency of his own technique.
His hips were the first and last things to move. You could literally hear his bokken whistling through the air as he cut at lightning speed only to stop suddenly mm's away from uke's throat. Every time! To witness this live was something remarkable.
On the Saturday afternoon, we also had the opportunity to watch a Shodan, Nidan and Sandan examination. They were great and congratulations to everyone for passing! :)
It goes without saying that under Toshiro's technical direction and Scott's careful day-to-day instruction, the quality of Aikido in this club is incredibly high. This applies equally to the club's kyu grades (white belts) as it does to the yudansha (black belts). It was clearly evident that everyone is working hard to preserve Nobuyoshi Tamura Shihan's influence and legacy.
To top off the weekend, the welcoming and friendly ethos of Edinburgh Aikido Club is something that all clubs should strive for, both on and off the mat. Edinburgh definitely has something really special here.
Look forward to training with you again, Edinburgh!