Even though Aikido camp ended, I feel like it’s been sports and exercise galore since the month has started. From practice for an Aikido tournament to my dorm Wakeijuku’s annual sports festival, there is no shortage of events around me to get my daily dose of exercise. I asked one of my friends if there was some sports-related holiday in September that merited all this physical activity, and he just said it’s because the weather’s nice at this time of year. For just nice weather, it has certainly felt like a big change in the amount of physical activity. The more time I spend around Japanese in times like this, the more I feel like they give a whole new meaning to the phrase “Work hard, play hard.”
To talk a little bit about Wakeijuku’s sports festival, it runs from about the middle of September to the beginning of August–but it really starts earlier than that, with practices in everything from running to basketball, volleyball, soccer, relay, and even some more nontraditional sports, like a 5-man-6-foot race, and this one thing called the kiba-sen, which I haven’t gotten a chance to see yet, so I’ll update this when I find out : P
The Aikido tournament, also, was a pretty big event. People from several (six?) different universities came together, as well as many other people, both Aikido-practicing and spectators, to watch. One thing I thought was impressive was the way we transformed the gymnasium into a dojo ourselves in a couple hours. The people who did the set up was we, the participants ourselves.
As for the tournament itself, it was a performance tournament, and whether or not one advanced to the next round was based on how quickly and flawlessly one could carry out the forms. Even though the tournament was divided into divisions according to skill level (white/brown belts, and black belts), I didn’t do too well, : P However, it was pretty cool to see two brown belts from my club win in the same division.
I was going to post a couple videos of some Aikido black belts busting some moves, but it seems to be a little more tricky than I thought, so bear with me until I can figure it out.