March 22, 2015
I was fortunate to go to Hombu for spring training. My experience at Hombu was amazing and there are no words to describe it. It was fun and I had a great time. In addition, I got a chance to train with kenshi from other countries such as Russia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia, Holland and the U.S.A. One of the best experiences I had was to make new friends and learn a few words from different languages. Also, I had a chance to explore the scenic places of Japan including Senso-ji temple and landmarks such as Tokyo Tower.
The spring training at Hombu was great. Hombu staff were very helpful and friendly. The food was delicious and the weather was good. Kawashima sensei, a Hombu Instructor, started the training in the morning. He's a great teacher and his techniques were amazing. He emphasized the importance of body movement (Tai sabaki) to apply techniques. He said that every kenshi must be aware of a correct stances and proper body movements for each technique. The shifting of weight and the movement of your body must flow together in order to execute each effectively. He said that kenshi must practice all the time with partners to develop themselves.
Before lunch there was a lecture about Kaiso's philosophy, life and how Shorinji Kempo was established. This was one of my favorite classes at Hombu. At some point the topics were very touching and inspiring. I would say it deepened my understanding of how Kaiso was trying to relay his philosophies to the world. Hence, Shorinji Kempo was created to build confidence in oneself so that people can can develop, understand and help each other. Shorinji Kempo does not convey who wins or loses, who is strong or weak, but focuses on how you can contribute to the welfare of society and build a peaceful community.
Also, I had the privilege to have Arai sensei as the main Juho instructor during the spring training. He demonstrated his Juho techniques without any effort or power. His techniques were flawless and superb. He said to apply Juho, you have to remember 3 things; one is "kuzushi" (break balance), second "otoshi" (pin down/hold) and "hazushi" (release). Arai sensei emphasized that with these three methods combined with the right timing and the proper body movement (Tai sabaki) you will be able to take down a bigger or even stronger opponent with less effort or power. Arai sensei left a good advice that as a kenshi I have to find out what works best for my body in order for Juho techniques to work effectively.
Lastly, samu (cleaning). All of us were assigned a task to clean the Dojo after training session. It was fun to do and is part of our training where everybody has to contribute.
Overall I had a wonderful experience and am planning to come back for another spring training at Hombu next year, hopefully with a big delegation from Canada.
In closing remarks, I would like to thank McCulloch sensei, head teacher of Toronto branch, for making this trip to Hombu possible and I would like to extend my thanks to all the Hombu staff and my new international friends for their help and support during my training.
Christian Castillo, 1st Dan