Last weekend Martin and I visited Krakow. The weather was wonderful, sunny and hot just like mid-summer. The purpose of our visit was to join our friends at their Shorinji Kempo seminar. The seminar was run by the Polish Shorinji Kempo organisation headed by Sensei Jacek Marchewka who we have known for many years. At the seminar, the main instructor was Sensei Seppo Ruusukivi, a 4th Dan from Finland.
To our surprise there were actually more British than Polish people at this event, which seemed a bit ironic… The U.K. was represented by Shorinji Kempo clubs from Oxford and Bristol along with us from Shin Ai Do Karate Guildford. There were also groups from Germany, Finland and of course, Poland.
It was very interesting to see different concepts of combat, especially as their perspective was quite unfamiliar to us. The new patterns of movement and techniques along with different body balance were a bit mind-boggling for us. However, it was a great experience and definitely took us out of our comfort zone. As always, training with nice people compensated for all of the struggles.
We found their approach to ceremonies and rules for all dojo activities intriguing – they appeared to be almost religious. This was not necessarily my cup of tea, but it was fascinating to take part and gain first-hand experience of these practices.
After two days of familiarisation with Shorinji Kempo it was time to spend a few hours with the head of Shin Ai Do, Sensei Artur Marchewka, which concluded with an examination for 2nd Kyu brown belt for Martin.
The examination was held in a relaxed atmosphere outdoors in quite rough terrain with a 30 meter drop, which afforded us a beautiful view of Krakow.
After the examination we went for some light refreshments
Personally I was very happy to see Martin’s progression and am looking forward to his examination for black belt in a few years.
It was great to have the opportunity to catch up with our old friends and to make new ones from around the world. It just goes to show that martial arts really can widen your horizons and connects people across the globe J