From Thursday, November 7th to Monday the 11th I was in the beautiful city of Lviv, Ukraine under the invitation of Volodymyr Vashchyshyn Sensei and the Ukranian Yoshinkan Aikido Federation.
Lviv was my first city to visit assisting Ando Sensei as uchideshi almost 12 years ago. I still remember it vividly, not just the beautiful architecture, cozy cafes and delicious food but also the hard and intense training combined with sleepless nights filled with nervous energy caring for Ando sensei. It was a great experience and since then I have always wanted to return.
|From Ando Sensei`s seminar in 2008|
I arrived late Thursday evening and was met by Volodymyr sensei and senior instructor Oleksiy. After checking in to the hotel, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and I was off to bed.
Training started early Friday morning with 2 adult classes at the Kiryoku Dojo. It was a small class just for the usual morning members. We went through the basics of sliding forward and pivoting movements as well as some related basic techniques.
During the day we did some sightseeing downtown. Kiev is the capital of Ukraine and considered the heart, however, Lviv is the soul. A few hours, even days is not nearly enough time to take in all that this old city has to offer. There are museums and historical buildings at each and every street corner. Even if you are short on time, a walk along the cobble stone roads admiring the various monuments, sculptures and European Architecture from different time periods is a must. The underground restaurants and cafes are amazing too.
Ok, back to training... Friday evening we had a special class for the participants of the upcoming Urayasu Junior tournament, followed by another adult class at a facility used by the city police force. The adult turn out was good and we had some fun with nikajo, pivots and throwing techniques.
Here is where it gets blurry... Saturday morning the main seminar begun - 2 classes of over 75 (4 to 8 years old), followed by 2 more classes of 75 (9 to 12 year olds), a short lunch break, then another class for the junior taikai group, finishing up with 2 more adult classes. Eat, sleep and repeat! Sunday was the same..
Over the 4 days a total of 20 classes at 3 different dojos and over 200 students from 4 years old and up. All 6 kihon dosa, countless basic techniques, some goshinwaza and hours and hours of jiyu-waza. A tiring, but successful seminar.
Thanks again to Voldymyr sensei for the well run seminar and generous hospitality, thanks to Oleksiy for translating, thanks to Roman and Sato-san for all the pictures, thanks to all the instructors and assistants during the kids classes and of course thanks to all the students and parents for supporting this seminar and Yoshinkan Aikido in Lviv.