Sajith sensei has been training for over 30 years and is a 6th dan full contact karate fighter who has been doing an amazing job of promoting karate throughout Sri Lanka. Recently he has become intrigued with aikido and wants to find the fluid and smooth side to contrast with his hard Kyokushindo. There is hardly any information about aikido in the Sri Lankan language and up until now he has only been able to study through YouTube videos etc. His hope is to gain interest from his karate students and slowly build a Yoshinkan community in Sri Lanka.
With over 50 hardened full contact fighters (but completely new to aikido) stuffed in a hot and humid rubber matted dojo, needless to say the training was unlike most seminars I've taught. Many of his students have competed and placed in tournaments all around the world, including Japan. However, they were all very humble and eager to try their hands at Yoshinkan. We went through all the basics, starting from dojo etiquette, history, kamae, ukemi, kihon dosa and so on. After the first day every one's legs were killing so on the second we went into some techniques. Still not completely confident in the basics, moving in to techniques was tough, but we ran through parts of each technique. Surprisingly they adapted well and took uke quite naturally for the most part.
On the last day of the seminar, Sajith Sensei and his Senior instructor, Wasantha Sensei tested for Yoshinkan 10th kyu. A small, but hopefully important start for Yoshinkan aikido in Sri Lanka.
On the 4th and last day, I was treated to a tour. A drive through the famous tea area up in the mountains, stopping along the way for fresh coconut juice, lime juice, durian, water melon, peanuts and various Sri Lanka cuisine. Also seen some monkeys, peacock and roadkill alligator. Was hoping to see some elephants, which I hear come around the house stealing rice in the evenings.
We visited the Ramboda falls, where Sajith and his students go for their yearly training camp. 4 different long falls intersect in to one. Was nice to get into the water out of the 35+ degree weather. We finished the day off with a sayonara party at Sajith sensei's house
Now I am at Kuala Lumpur Airport killing time before my flight back to Japan. Thanks again to Sajith sensei and his family for the hospitality, Wasantha sensei and all the other students for their friendliness and openness. I had a great time and am glad to see the potential for Yoshinkan. Looking forward to seeing a few of them here in Japan next month. Osu!