It is a rare honor to be able to train with someone who is a Master, a genuine 9th dan. This weekend was one of those great honors.
Toyama Ryu presented Mitsuo Hayata Sensei, one of the most respected sword masters on the planet. It was one of the best experiences I have had in the martial arts. To say it was a thoroughly enjoyable Saturday was an understatement.
The morning was spent on the Batto katas. This was the first time working on this and it was a cross between exciting and a bit nerve-wracking. To perform kata in front of a master is on the stressful side of life. Nevertheless, his gentle, easy-going manner quickly became apparent and the more relaxed I felt, the better the katas flowed. (Sounds Systema-familiar!)
After a short break, we covered the 8 Toyama ryu katas which were much more familiar to me. Nevertheless, there were a ton of details and adjustments that were made. These kata will be refined over a lifetime.
Next up was cutting. This is the reason I got into Toyama Ryu. I thoroughly love the cutting. As with the katas, there are tons of details that must be practiced and refined. As with katas, it only takes a lifetime. My cuts went well, give the (beginning) level that I currently am. Nothing major went awry. All fingers were accounted for.
For all intents and purposes, this was the end of the participatory part of the seminar. The last section was testing, including my Sensei, Mike Soriero. Everyone from the China school failed the tests this year. As did all from Tampa. And Palm Bay. Everyone failed, expect for Mike Soriero Sensei. Each of us from Toyama Ryu Clermont was beyond thrilled that our Instructor not only passed, but excelled. We were not surprised, just thrilled.
Everyone from the China school failed the tests this year. As did all from Tampa. And Palm Bay. Everyone failed, expect for Mike Soriero Sensei. Each of us from Toyama Ryu Clermont was beyond thrilled that our Instructor not only passed, but excelled. We were not surprised, just happy for him.
The evening concluded at Mike Sensei’s home, complete with dinner and drinks. As stated, it was one of the very best days I have ever had in martial arts.
Much was learned, not only from the world of sword but powerful principles overall. For starters, it was amazing to watch what a lifetime of training produces. Hayata Sensei is considered a Master, and watching him move in a relaxed, strong and effortless fashion it is almost unfathomable to try and guess the number of hours he has spent training. It is also the standard that we all strive to attain. It is unlikely that this lifetime will be long enough. . . or the next 2 or 3 for that matter. Nevertheless, pointing in that direction will end up on a road filled with benefits and gifts.
The level of integrity, dignity, and class along with a friendly, humble personality was something I did not anticipate from someone at 9th Dan. It was a breath of fresh air and one that was eye-opening. It reinforced the notion that the greatest of the great are always the most humble. Such was certainly the case here.
I will remember this weekend for 2 main reasons:
Firstly, I met one of the premiere sword masters on the planet and had the opportunity to both train on the mats and interact in private. It was a gift, one that I will always treasure.
Secondly, my nature is toward the shy, introvertive side in groups. After training and then dining and conversing with my teachers and fellow students, I will remember this weekend as the one that I fit in and really became a member of Toyama Ryu Batto Jutsu, Clermont.
For both and so much more, I am most grateful.