Monday, March 12, 2007

Meeting up on the Mainland

On a recent business trip out to the East Coast, I met up with Ed Tiller, a long-distance student of my instructor. After living here in Hawaii since last October, the East Coast cold was not exactly my idea of nice weather, but the warm reception by Ed and his family more than made up for my ruined plans of not seeing snow at all this year. Like me, he is a former Shorinkan Shorin Ryu practitioner with the fortune of discovering Nakata Sensei, so some of our training background is very similar.

Ed was generous enough to pick me up on the first night from my hotel near Baltimore and drive me out to his residence over 70 miles away. There, I met his wife and two younger daughters and we had a pleasant dinner which left me satisfied but wishing I could make salmon that delicious. Before and after dinner, Ed and I went through some kata and kept each other on our toes as to what we probably should and should not be doing. Afterwards, Ed dropped me off at my hotel and I realized he must do an awful lot of driving every day.

The next day, I met him halfway and we drove out to the community center where he conducts a kids class followed by an adults class. It was refreshing to have the rare opportunity to meet others training with the same methodology. I really enjoyed "teaching" the class, although it was more of me giving observations and advice while providing a heavy dose of disclaimers as we did kata together. Come to think of it, I suppose that is teaching after all. So much did I enjoy myself, I regretted not having more time to spend training with Ed and his students when class ended. After practice, we swung by Ruby Tuesday's to grab a bite to eat and then went our separate ways.

While I enjoyed myself immensely, it highlighted the level of understanding necessary to put each detail of our methodology into clear and concrete terms. Not just in theory and on paper, but in actual practice. I also learned much more about why Sensei has us rotate out during kata so that we can test and correct everyone else. Of course, correcting my seniors is a little difficult since their mistakes aren't that obvious to me...

At any rate, I would like to extend my gratitude to Ed Tiller, his family, and his students for having me and I wish you all the best of luck in your training.

For those of you in OSKA wanting to know more about Ed, he has assured me that he will post his introduction on the mailing list soon. Hah, the pressure is on!

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