I attended a special keiko in Millbury tonight held in conjunction with the Tae Kwon Do class taught by Rick Barrett. Roger Solomon arranged for the joint class, and Joe Zawielski taught.
It was very interesting to see Shintaido through the eyes of other martial artists — made me appreciate what we have going. During one partner practice, I was matched up with maybe my polar opposite in terms of stature. An older woman (though I’m careful with that description now that I have a fair crop of grey hair), she groaned when she saw how tall I was. But then she proceeded to discover how easy it was to re-direct my attack with the old raising tsuki to heaven maneuver. Which she did again and again.
She also asked the thought provoking question: “why don’t you ever look each other in the eyes?” We explained that we focus on the space around us, and in nature out to the horizon. But it’s a fair question. (And I think we do look each other in the eyes, just more as a friendly connection after partner practice).
There was a lot of appreciation of our practice in the questions after keiko. Tachi jump was very popular — one Tae Kwon Do practitioner said what a perfect way it was to end a stressful day. And, things we take for granted, like gentle neck rolls in warmups were popular with my friend who sent my tsuki to heaven.
We’ll do another exchange where Rick Barrett will lead a Tae Kwon Do class. Looking forward to it.