My First TaiKai,
The other day I was looking through an old photo album and I came across pictures I took at my first TaiKai from 1989.My best student and I saw the full page ad in Black Belt magazine and we had been practicing for several years together, but had not had the opportunity to meet and or train with Soke at that point yet. So we saved up the money, jumped into the car and my student and I made the 6 hour road trip to meet and train with Soke Hatsumi and the Shihan he brought with him from Japan first hand.
What an event, that first morning in the gym, going through various ukemi drills, then the hanbo and bo tactics! I remember meeting so many great practitioners that weekend, and being able to train with Soke and his students the whole time. My student and I were off to the right of Soke and he or the Shihan would come over and correct us, or use us as a demonstration for others, oh yes the bruises and sore muscles. I have to say that this event opened my eyes to the wealth of information that was available (if you looked) from various students who were over in Japan and came back with a wealth of knowledge. One of the treasures I got was a copy/translation of the Kukishinden ryu and Togakure ryu kata that was, let’s say borrowed from a teachers dojo (I love these ninjas!) copied and then returned without him the wiser!
After the several days of training, knowledge gathering and amazing training stories, we had made many new friends and contacts, which in the coming years become training brothers and sisters as well as teachers and friends. Well, a few were I would say, not so much friends, probably rivals that in time lead to the “Ninja Dojo Wars”, but that is a long story for a different day.
So, take a moment and wander down memory lane, and see what you will find!