One of the things I enjoy most about my journey through the Kokondo system is the opportunity to travel and participate in our various seminars and workouts. I have literally gone to the four corners of the continental US attending them and always come back with new things to practice and refinements on which to work.
What impresses me most is that, no matter where I am at, despite any differences we may have off the mats, once we bow in, we are Kokondoka. We are one group, practicing one system, whether we are in Florida or Washington state, California or Connecticut.
Another of my favorite aspects of these seminars is the opportunity to work with people from any and every walk of life. The membership of our system includes people with advanced degrees in physics and chemistry, physicians, engineers, business owners, musicians, artists, and so on. The same dedication and discipline that is demonstrated in the dojo translates into the everyday lives of our members. There is always the desire to do more and to do it better. This doesn’t end with the person in the mirror, either. Every person on the dojo floor, regardless of where we are, stands ready to assist their fellow Kokondoka in developing and improving their technique. That says an awful lot about a lot of people.
We aren’t allowed to enjoy the hangover of a seminar for very long, either. There is always another just around the corner, waiting for us to join in. The head of our system is amazing in his willingness to share his time and knowledge with the various dojos around the country. There is a seminar going on virtually every month of the year. There are Yudanshakai classes held on the East Coast. There are randori. We hold our National Seminar every summer. This is a demonstration of his loyalty to our system and to Shihan Arel, our founder and instructor to many of us in Kokondo.
As students of the system, it is our responsibility, as well as our great opportunity, to attend as many of these events as our time and budgets will allow. This is our demonstration of loyalty to the system and the Masters and Instructors that have put so much of their lives into the protection and preservation of Shihan’s legacy. Getting really, really nifty new techniques and kata and more is just the bonus.
At this time, I am eagerly awaiting the posting of the signup sheet for the 2014 National Seminar to be held in Connecticut this year. If my math works out correctly, this will be my 18th. There’s been a lot of sweat, sore muscles and bruises over those years. I’m looking forward to more of the same this year, as are a whole lot of others that will be joining in the fun. It’s not just something we do, it’s part of who we are. And when we bow in, regardless of where we’re from or what we do, we are one.