Vestlandet is the Norwegian word for ”the West”, i.e. the South-West coast of Norway. Vestlandet now rooms 3 aikido dojos: for a long time only Bergen Aikido and Stavanger Aikido (now JuShinKan Aikido) were around, but this Fall, Haugesund Aikidoklubb saw the light of day. This newest addition to the aikido map started from scratch only 2 months ago, but HAK already made its mark by taking the initiative to organize the first Vestlandet Aikido Festival (21-23 November 2008). The aim, according to the Head Instructor there, Kim A. Tinderholt, is to get to know each other better, train with others than we are used to, learn from each other, and so that it will be easier to stop by in each other dojos. An opening of doors on new horizons, if you will.
JuShinKan Aikido and Bergen Aikidoklubb joined in and showed up with troops of students. We all had the opportunity of experiencing a total of 6 instructors from all the 3 clubs, as well as a couple of visitors from Oslo. JuShinKan was represented by Andrea and Bob, as well as Tommy, Flurin and Jacqueline.
Each of the instructors had a session in which there chose a particular focus, giving us a wide series of themes and addressing techniques from several points of view. The most memorable sessions (for me): Bob Johnson (SJA) demonstrating balance-taking techniques and applications from Tomiki-style’s Dai Yon Kata, emphasizing the aim of finding the similarities between styles rather than the differences. Andrea Raviglione (SJA) following up with what one could call the “power of the elbow-less rabbit”, in which tori’s bent wrist, rabbit style, manifolds the powerfulness of the technique, as long as it’s kept close to the body, because, as every knows, “rabbits don’t have elbows” (but they do have a hips and a centre, which, when paired with those rabbit-wrists… most effective!). And Kristian Haugland’s (BAK) humourfull session in which the ante was up’ed with every technique until we were wrapping ourselves koshinage-style around our tori, klinging to him like an al dente spaghetti, and actually could land slowly and safely from a high fall, all the while tori got to practice position, balance and control.
The dojo, by the way, is a beauty with good mats and exactly wide enough to execute throws across. Had we been more people, it would have been possible to use the adjoining hall as well, which was bigger. It’s close to the centre of town and just a couple of minutes from the bus station. Perhaps the only aber was that he subzero weather outside had its effect on the temperature inside. But what does that matter when the hospitality was great, new friendships warmed the hearts and future relations between the clubs look bright!
Thanks to Kim for starting the Vestlandet Aikido Festival, which is meant to rotate between the clubs of the West in the future. JuShinKan is looking forward to more festivals along the West Coast! – Jacqueline