I just returned from the largest, most significant Shintaido event I’ve been to, held July 3-6 at Sonoma State University north of San Francisco. To set the context: Shintaido is a living, growing martial art, one whose founder and many early practitioners are still alive. We had the rare opportunity to both witness and participate in the development of the next phase of this art, developed originally from high level karate, focusing increasingly on health and well-being and connection to nature.
Here are a few highlights for me:
- “Be like water”: the theme of this gasshuku (event). Water flows, changes form and shape to fit the world around. And is powerful.
- Lifelong friendships. Met up with fellow practitioners before the event at the youth hostel in SF. Right from the start, we built connections to last a lifetime, and now have friends to look forward to seeing again in Brazil, Japan, France, UK, Canada/Quebec, Germany, Italy and more…
- Sink awareness down: 200 meters below the ground, let it go, becoming nothing to become available to the world around.
- Following kaiho kai (strong/energetic) with yokitai (soft/relaxed). As we grow older, our practice will focus more on healing (true of shintaido’s next phase as well). But still need a mix of energetic and relaxed.
- Sword movement as a healing art. Aoki Sensei’s example in areas sticken by the tsunami in Japan grew deeper in me as I practiced my own cuts in eiko. This is something I’ve long known, but grows deeper as I acknowledge it.
What else? Were you there? What were some of your memories or impressions?