Posted by: balladofyoko | July 24, 2008


Reminder: practice silently.

~handout given prior to camp

The first day of my vacation week started off with going to the annual aikido summer camp. Well, let me backtrack– it really started off with picking up Dave from the airport. I knew of him prior to reading his blog, but we had somehow never managed to formally meet in person until last week. He was coming in on a redeye flight from Seattle to come to camp here, and I extended the offer of driving him from the airport.

After some slight confusion on how to get out of the airport (and repeated reassurances on Dave’s part that he would not have done much better with navigation), I drove him to a favorite spot for breakfast in the Italian Market. Over huge slices of challah French toast, pancakes, and beverages, we had really great conversations about aikido and the role it has in our lives. Dave runs a dojo of his own, which is doing quite well, due in a large part to the strong partnership he has with his wife, who helps with the administrative end of things. In listening to Dave talk about her, I could tell they have a great relationship, and I really admire them for having that.

After breakfast, there was plenty of time left before registration for camp was to begin, so I took him to my house to hang out for a while. Dave made great friends with Buck– I think dogs recognize other dog-owners instantly and bond with them. I had to run out for a short errand– I was told that he and Buck took a short nap together on the couch while I was away. aww.

There was more confusion getting to the registration site (of all my years of attending camp, I’ve only stayed overnight once; I usually commute from home, since it’s close by)– but we made it, and we attended the first class together.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to take ukemi (i.e. practice) with Dave this time, but fortunately, I practiced with a lot of different folks in the two swelteringly hot hours of class. I mostly disregarded the advice to practice silently. Some of the folks were people I knew and hadn’t seen in a while, and we caught up while we threw each other around. One orange belt kept thanking me profusely for teaching her footwork and I had to gently remind her to keep practicing instead of talking.

And then, before I knew it, it was the end of class. I couldn’t stay for more– I had to go home and pack for the rest of my vacation.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: my favorite part of camp is getting to know people and making friends. I’m glad I got a chance to get to know Dave, and I hope to meet up with him again.



  1. I’m glad you seem less conflicted about your Aikido practice. Camp sounds fun!


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