When I travelled to Japan last fall, it was my third
trip there and my first time back since 2004. Things
in my life have changed since then. I now have a beautiful
daughter. I’m out of my 20s and in my early 30s,
and lots of training has left me with some wear and
tear. I was looking forward to heading back to Japan
to see old friends and train hard.
Matt with Okashita-Sensei and some of his students
October 2010 also marked the 10th year of my first
encounter with Sakamoto-Sensei, when he came to Toronto
to put on a demonstration. I was 23 then and his performance
left a strong impression, ultimately convincing me
that I had to study under him. But I didn’t imagine
then that one day I would be staying at his home in
Japan and learning his concepts and approach to technique.
first few days (Oct. 15 to 20) where spent with Okashita-Sensei,
north of Tokyo. We trained every day, doing ichizen
(stretching and ki warm-up exercises), ritsuzen (standing
Zen), Sanchin kata, Nihanchi kata and basics in the
mornings. In the afternoons or evenings, we would go
over other kata, bunkai and exchange ideas on technique
He also showed me his ideas on shimegoshi hip action.
I attended his classes going in Kasukabe and Tsukuba.
It was nice to see and train with his students again.
Some of his students where children when I was there
in 2004, and now they are grown up and black belts.