Ushiro Sensei's 9th Seattle seminar was held on the weekend of September 8-9th. Participants with different backgrounds (Karate, Aikido) gathered from various places (US, Canada, Germany, Japan) to attend. There were more than 10 new first time attendees.
"Our cells have different functions and together form the human body. You are all different. Kata will help you to integrate everything", "Some of you can only see me once or twice per year. I would like to provide you with something you can take back and study until the next seminar". The seminar kicked off with these openings of Ushiro Sensei.
Sanchin kata was the main focus for the entire 2 days with paradigm shift as its theme. Ushiro Sensei used the comparison of tricycle and bicycle to explain the difference of a sport karate and bujutsu karate. No matter how much you practice, there is no "next step" on tricycle. However, with bicycle, once you know how to ride it, there will be a non-reversible paradigm shift. From there, people can become more free like riding bicycle with one hand or without using hands at all. Kata is like embodying a bicycle within, and unlike sport where age plays a factor in its peak performance, bujutsu can be trained until the moment you die. These were the message that got emphasized in the 2 days.
Ushiro Sensei teaching Sanchin
Practing Sanchin together
Ushiro Sensei demonstrating bujutsu karate application
The teaching focused on kata and its bunkai (application) with several basic to get there. Within that context, a 14 years old boy who joined the seminar for the first time with his mother left a strong impression. The boy has been practicing karate since the age of 4. And while he had the habit of thinking before doing it, as Ushiro Sensei kept guiding, he went through his own paradigm shift and was able to move a group of grown ups. Not only that, but he was able to apply the fact of enablement to other areas of practice which left a strong impression to other participants. The boy had a big smile on his face and Ushiro Sensei said "This experience will change his life and make it more meaningful".
Grown ups cannot move the group
The child can move the group easily once guided by Ushiro Sensei
The child becoming the winner
Demonstration with children capability were shown on the second day as well. Ushiro Sensei kept asking the audience "It is important to reflect upon yourself why children can do it and grown ups cannot".
Ushiro Sensei went into great details teaching Sanchin, both its kata and bunkai. When people were pairing to practice, he made sure that each group understands what they are meant to practice. There is only one spot where the correct breathing flows. As each participant noticed and corrected their own habit to enable the kata, all people had great smile of joy. Ushiro Sensei's words that "Ushiro karate is about pursuing happiness" was felt at that moment. At the same time, while Ushiro Sensei showed the importance of kata and its verification for people's solo practice, he emphasized that this is still the beginning of a great journey ahead using several Ki demonstration as its example.
Once Ushiro Sensei teaches the proper Sanchin, the other person cannot stand
Ushiro Sensei teaching each different group
Entering the opponent
The opponent unable to enter
During these 2 days, participants were able to learn the importance of kata and "Mirroring Sensei who can do the kata" through various angles. Also, several Seattle branch students went through the test during the lunch break of Sunday, providing others another feeling of what Ushiro karate is like.
Seattle branch students receiving the certificates from Ushiro Sensei
"Teaching is not about words but leading through the way of life", Ushiro Sensei's stance was shared among the participants and gave a bigger hope for the next seminar.
Group picture from the seminar
To close this, I would like to thank both Josh Drachman and Gina Drachman for hosting a fantastic Seattle seminar.