Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Training in Quebec

Osu to all who visit my blog,

I just spent 5 days in the beautiful Montreal, Quebec, Canada region, and I am thrilled to share some memories, and pictures with you.

Thursday night, I was thrilled to be informed that I would be training at Sensei Jean Frenette's Dojo in Boucherville. I had given up the hope that this would be possible as my family event schedule was rather tight for the time that I was in Quebec. Here is a picture of me standing in front of the dojo door. Yes I am wearing a white belt. This is through my own choice. I felt that I had no knowledge of Goju Ryu, and that I wanted to express my respect for this dojo by entering it as a white belt.:

When I first arrived there, I was not too sure if there would even be a class as the door was locked, and I didn't know if I was even in the right place. Soon, the karate students arrived, and warmly welcomed me. It was a joy to spend a couple of hours sharing the dojo floor with them. I learned more about the history of Goju Ryu, and how it has influence my chosen style of Kyokushin. I was able to partake in many new experiences through the wonderful guidance of the sempai there. Sensei Frenette was so kind, attentive, and supportive. I almost wanted to pinch myself every few minutes to see if I was dreaming.

Friday contained my first disappointment: I had scheduled a wonderful night of training under Sensei Dominic Morin's Kanreikai Dojo. Through our correspondence, I developed quite an appreciation for the personality of Sensei Morin, and I was happily anticipating meeting him face to face. However, family events, and conflicting schedules made transport to the dojo near impossible. Instead, I was "stranded" in the Sorel-Tracy area. I could watch the ferry heading towards Joliette, and Sensei Morin's dojo, but I could not travel on it. Instead, I walked around, and took some lovely pictures.

Saturday was a great treat: I joined Mat in the Chito Ryu Dojo led by Sensei Eric Lefebvre. Sensei Eric called forth a special class held on an island in a park. I was surrounded by the beauty, and sound of waterfalls as I tried to focus on my karate. I have to admit that more than once I lost concentration as I turned, and stopped in awe at how lovely it was around me. The grass had the early morning rain still dripping from it, and it felt lovely, and cool on my feet. The sun broke through the clouds to warm my shoulders, and to bring the colors around me into even greater life. It was a fabulous morning experience, and I saw drank in the joy of our Art. Mat and I were able to practice our self defense sequences on each other, and our gi became striped brown, and green with the mud, and grass stains to match the colors of our belts. I met such a group of inspirational, and dedicated karate ka that day, and I am so grateful for that experience.

Sunday was dedicated to family visits, as I have a large family. Monday night, I was given the great opportunity to train at the West Island Kyokushin Dojo under Sensei John Kalaidopoulos. I was too excited about training here because I forgot to bring my camera with my dogi when I left my brother's car so I do not have any pictures to offer. I entered the dojo with both timidity, and excitement. I had been looking forwards to this moment for months, yet I wondered how my performance would compare to others who train in my own Art. I feared that I would embarrass my Sensei, and yet, I knew that if I put forth my best, he would be proud of me. I could do no more than this... yet.. how does one quiet the little voices in the back of one's heart? I was told that I could train with each of the classes starting with the young children's class, up to the advanced adult. This was 4 hours of training, and although a piece of me wondered if I could maintain the effort, there was a solid foundation within my spirit that nothing would discourage me from attempting this challenge. Sensei John was so gracious, and hospitable to me. I felt like a lost child that has found a home. He provided for my every need, even giving me permission to rest if I felt faint, and dizzy. This gave me a breath of peace as I knew that I could just train as hard as my body would allow. I was thrilled to find that I kept up throughout the majority of the demand. There was only one moment, by the end of the third hour when I was doing another kicking kata, where I suddenly felt the room spin, and my balance disappeared. With a few minutes of rest, and a good amount of water, I was able to come back into the class, and continue. It was quite an educational experience for me as I was treated to various new movements, sequences, exercises, and even Bo training to expand my experience.

I am so grateful to all of the Sensei who provided me with such a good vacation, and great training. Osu


Lizzie said...

Wow, you got your hair cut! It looks good.

supergroup7 said...

Thank you.