Memories of Hombu Dojo (5/5) – Epilogue

Kyoto bamboo forest Arashiyama

I’m writing these words almost a year after returning from Japan. Not that I don’t enjoy training in Amsterdam but there’s definitely something I miss about practicing Aikido in Japan. I look back with fondness on those strict rules and etiquette that scared me at first. Since I came back I picked up running to let off the leftover steam from aikido and have run the Rotterdam Marathon in April.

As fate would have it, running has taken over and what was supposed to be a fitness activity to complement my aikido training is now my main activity outside of work. I still train 2 or 3 times a week in Aikido but, as I run almost every day, running is definitely starting to define my routine. In a separate post I will elaborate more on this change and why I fell in love with running. Mostly, I enjoy being able to train whenever I want. I just put on my shoes and that’s it. This can happen at any time, even to commute to work. In a way, this all happened because of my training at Hombu Dojo: there I could train as much as I wanted and it was exhilarating. When I came back I vented my frustration in running and here I am, training for my second marathon in October in Amsterdam.

Hombu Dojo is also the only place where I had anything close to social interactions with Japanese people in Japan. Anywhere else I was just a tourist and, although everyone was very nice, I could feel the cultural distance. With aikido those barriers fell down because when two persons have been practicing it for a few years there’s an immediate understanding and appreciation.

I hope to go back to Japan this year or the next and spend at least a couple of weeks practicing aikido in Tokyo. Until then, I will try to make the best of my Aikido training in Amsterdam and finally pass my shodan.

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