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Florida Winter Getaway 2009


The Seminar

Stretching on the day of the seminar, I heard Dometrich-Hanshi's voice as he walked down the hall towards the training room. We stood to show respect to Hanshi and his wife, Okusan, as they walked through the door. I noticed that it was an older gentleman than I remembered entering, who moved more slowly and spoke more gently. Time chases and catches us all, I thought sadly. Still, I was impressed by Hanshi's budo spirit, teaching us despite his infirmities.

Here I stand with James Acampora, Dometrich-Hanshi and his wife, Okusan. The clinic was a great time to reconnect with old friends and to begin to heal old wounds.

As class began, we were asked to be seated. Hanshi began to address many issues that had been discussed on the Chitonet, the Chito-Ryu e-mail discussion group, concerning Tekki kata, also know as Naihanchi or Naifanchi. Hanshi’s answers were short and to the point. One of the questions was why didn't O’Sensei have any versions of  Naihanchi within the Chito-ryu system. His reply was, "Because they’re not."

His blunt answer reminded me of my teacher of old.

Then we began to train. We performed various Chito-ryu kata and went over the kaisetsu, or explanations, for different moves. At one point, Hanshi asked me to demonstrate a counter move to an exercise that we where performing. After this, Hanshi stopped the class and told participants that if he would put all their technique together, they would not have the technique that I possess. He said how I had "natural ability" and gave me compliments in this vein.

I was surprised by his words. At first I got my back up at the suggestion that I relied on "natural ability." It took years of dedicated training to achieve the goals I set for myself. But then I relaxed and took the compliment in the spirit it was given. I appreciated Hanshi's generosity in acknowledging me in this way. I listened closely to his words and found understanding in them. 



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