My Aikido dojo is holding an intensive training seminar called a Gasshuku. Intensive means all day and without much time for breaks. 7 am to 5 pm–1/2 hour for breakfast and 1/2 hour for lunch. Small little breaks in between each hour, but that’s only to get a drink of water and a bite of fruit or something. Honestly, there is barely enough time to use the bathroom!
This all day intensive training is completely exhausting!
Exhaustion is the purpose of this intensive training. The theory is that you get so physically and mentally drained that the techniques just sink in. You get beyond the point of trying to do anything so it all just…happens. Allowing things to happen is the best way to learn. As I’ve said in a previous blog, when doing Aikido or any physical activity, you should not be thinking but doing and allowing the activity to happen.
What makes the Gasshuku so much fun is that we have a different teacher each hour. All of the black belts teach for an hour. It’s wonderful to see and hear what they each have to offer. This changing of teachers is one of the reasons the Gasshuku is so tiring. We all train with one teacher and get used to that teacher and his/her way of teaching. So, to have someone else teach in a different way and with their own twist on the techniques makes it difficult. Rewarding, but difficult.
This year we are particularly lucky because we have two visiting teachers from another style of Aikido. Not only do we get a different teacher, but the way they do Aikido will be just a little different from the way we do it at our dojo. And it’s always fun to learn something new!
I love this day of training. I love doing Aikido until I feel like collapsing on the mat (and believe me, we all collapse on the mat at the end of the day). Sometimes the intensive training can take me to another level of Aikido—I might physically learn a new technique, or I might emotionally grasp some aspect of Aikido that has eluded me.
Regardless of whether I learn something new or not, I’ve spent the day doing Aikido which is something I love to do. I get to spend the day with my fellow Aikidoka. To me that’s a day well spent!
Have you ever spent a day doing some kind of intensive training or practice? Workshops? Seminars?