Monday, September 10, 2007

Arakawa Sensei 1, Moose 0...

Last Friday's class ended rather interestingly. Having stopped 10 minutes early, we all sat around as Arakawa Sensei brought out the map of the world he usually keeps hanging on the wall.

He asked the students to find Japan, which was easy enough. Then he asked them to find where he had been from Aug 31 - Sept 6. That wasn't so easy since the answer was Sweden. But for the most part, they knew it was in northern Europe somewhere.

Arakawa Sensei travelled there to take part in karate seminars and training sessions. His was graciously taken care of by Sensei Fred Jarbro, of the Solleftea Karateklubb, who was in Japan a few years ago to take a dan test. During that time, Jarbro Sensei trained at Shiramizu to prepare and so such an international friendship was fostered.

The pictures of Arakawa Sensei's Swedish trip depicted the exciting and, in his words, mildly dangerous activities he got to do outside of training. There was a picture of him holding a rifle, for instance, followed by one of a downed moose. He was quick to point out that he didn't shoot the the moose on their hunt, but he did have to help hold the hind legs apart as they gutted it, much to his visual displeasure.

There was also a picture of Arakawa Sensei getting ready to climb into a hang glider piloted by Jarbro Sensei's son. He certainly looked calm, but his animated retelling revealed that it was all but serene. Always positive, he grinned at me afterwards and said, "I think.... dead!", referring to his 1000m descent. Suffice it to say, considering that Jarbro Sensei's son is a licensed commercial pilot, Arakawa Sensei was in more than capable hands.

This was a great chance for the students to be exposed to such foreign adventures. Many of them may never travel to Sweden, hunt moost, or ride a glider, but to vicariously take in Arakawa Sensei's wide-eyed enthusiasm of the world is encouraging in that some may be intrigued enough to want to try it on their own. And even for those who don't, the sharing of not only the training, but all the other aspects of it, it builds relationships, interest, and improves their image of the world.

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