Readers may be wondering why we were kind of quiet last week. The reason was that many of us were at the Shobu Aikido Spring Gasshuku. A Shobu Gasshuku only happens four times a year, and we try to attend when possible. These 3-day-long seminars are very different from regular practice in that they bring together students from all over. Many of the attendees were from other parts of New England–western MA, Vermont, Maine–but there were also Aikidokas from New York, Las Vegas, and even Quebec!
The three days (four if we also count the Thursday night class) of intensive training is different than attending regular classes in that it gives the instructor (Sensei Gleason in this case) the time to teach something over the course of a few days. It also lets the students maintain a focus that is not possible with just a 2-hour class. Another valuable aspect of attending a gasshuku is the opportunity to train with students from other dojos. Training with the same people all the time can lead to less “honest” practice. By that, we mean when we train with the same partners over and over, we can get accustomed to each other’s habits and responses. This familiarity can make the practice less realistic and hamper growth. By constantly challenging ourselves with new and different situations, we can keep our training “real.”
For those interested, Gleason Sensei is teaching an intensive seminar in May. They are different from a Gasshuku in that the material and training given in the three day-long session is spread over a 3-month period. The class size is limited to 20 students to maximize personal attention by Gleason Sensei. There are still a few spots remaining, but don’t wait too long or they will be gone!