Hi. My name is Chris, and I’m a new kenshusei student in the Mugenjuku dojo’s year-long Kenshusei Course. In Japan, April marks the beginning for many types of programs. Want to enroll in a school? Start in April. Mugenjuku is no different, so today is April 1st and the first day of the 2013-2014 Kenshusei Course.
Are you wondering what happened to Yannick, Nick, and Yasuda? I moved to Kyoto a little while ago, as they were preparing for their final exam. Once it was over, Yannick moved back to Quebec, and I replaced him as Nick’s roommate. Now Nick and Yasuda are sewanin, or course assistants, for this year’s course.
My username is “oldmanchris” because I’m 36. That is rather old to start a program like Kenshusei, but hopefully it won’t be a dealbreaker for me. Back home, in upstate New York, I work in healthcare. I decided to do some volunteer work in Mongolia last year, found myself traveling around Asia for half a year, then decided it was now or never for aikido.
Like many people, I read Robert Twigger’s book Angry White Pyjamas a number of years ago. I also read Shioda-sama’s Aikido Shugyo when its English language translation was put out. In the process of ordering the book, I had direct contact with Jacques Payet-sensei, who struck me as a very straightforward and earnest person in the brief e-mail exchange we had.
So when it came time to try aikido, I Googled Payet and found the Mugenjuku website and Mugenjuku Kenshusei blog. I read Nick’s post about 1000-sit-ups day and thought, “I could never do that… or could I?” and I was hooked.
I hope to provide you with some insights to our training and life in Kyoto this year, and to never, ever have to post that I am going home before the Course is complete. Wish me luck.