Hour by hour, minute by minute we were etching closer to the end of the camp, and then suddenly it was over. We lined up for the last time, there were many speeches and lots of bowing, many thanks and good wishes, and then it was time to pack our equipment and leave the dojo. Despite of having lived for that moment for the last few days, it felt strangely sad.
Today morning at 10am, Tanaka sensei was waiting me outside the Gedatsukai. I bid farewell with all the friends, old and new, loaded my bags to the car and off we went. Tanaka sensei is nanadan (7. dan) and lives halfway between Kitamoto and Tokyo. I will be staying at his place for the next two nights, and he will take me to the legendary Noma dojo tomorrow morning for the asageiko.
When having a dinner tonight, Tanaka sensei asked how many times a day did we practice in Kitamoto. So I told him a bit about Funatsu sensei and our daily routine in general, and then showed him this video of the last minute (out of the total three) of uchikomi and kakarigeiko that one of our Australian guys had with Fukumoto sensei, basically the same routine that I too had gone through a couple of days before:
Tanaka sensei was first sure that he must have misundestood the “three minutes” part. Once we established that I had really meant three minutes, he saw the video once more and then asked his daughter for a translation of a japanese word. “This is CRAZY” pronounced Tanaka sensei very carefully, shaking his gray head. “Even in police don’t people train like that, it is only the tokuren are given three minutes of uchikomi.”
This is of course a relieving thing to hear, as it would seem that the worst must be over by now. I have still got ten days to go, many places to visit and many people to fight – and some of them are certainly going to give me hard time. But then I can think back to Kitamoto and reassure myself that it could be a whole lot worse 🙂