Visit to Baton Rouge

Yesterday (2014 Jan. 27, Mon.) I got back from a weekend trip to Baton Rouge for Iaido training.  John Ray Sensei flew down on Saturday morning and conducted training at Neil Melancon Sensei’s dojo that day and on Sunday.  In addition to the local students, Jon Pearson Sensei and some of his students from the Ruston dojo in North Louisiana were also there.  I was the only one from Clear Lake dojo who could attend.   Jon Andresen Sensei in San Antonio could not attend.

Due to the ice storm that had shut down I-10 over the Atchafalaya all day Friday and on into Saturday morning until it was warm enough to melt the ice, I was unavoidably delayed by traffic and taking an alternate route.  So I was late joining in on the Saturday practice.  They had done BattōHō & TōHō by the time I joined them for Seiza no Bu.  Also at this practice Sensei decided, with Neil Sensei’s recommendation, that it was time that the Ruston group should be considered as a dojo and not a study group.  Congratulations to Jon Pearson Sensei and his students.

Afterwards we went out to eat at a first-rate Asian buffet and had a good time visiting.  Sensei and I stayed at Neil & Sherry’s house that weekend and enjoyed their hospitality.

The next morning we rose early to have a big breakfast of beignets and hot tea/coffee at a nearby shop before heading to the dojo.  Practice that day was 10-noonish and started with TōHō as a warm up, then concentrated on Tatehiza with everyone taking turns to demonstrate one of the waza while Sensei made corrections.  During the last part of the practice the class was split in two with John Sensei, Neil Sensei and I working on Iwaza in one corner, and everyone else doing jūkeiko.

During the closing comments of the practice Sensei reminded us of the multi-generational direct transmission way of MJER and the importance of the student/teacher relationship.  Neil Sensei talked about the importance of observing proper formal relationships within a dojo.

We enjoyed a great lunch at an Indian restaurant and afterwards retired to the house to rest a bit before donning hakama again to practice paired waza in the back yard with some of the Ruston folks until we lost the light.  After the practice they left to drive back home.  For dinner that night, since we were all still stuffed from the excellent lunch, we just had a light meal at the house (frozen pizza) and went to bed extra early.

Monday morning we got up very early so I could drop Sensei off at the airport in time to make his 6:30 flight.  Neil Sensei saw us off at the house.  After the airport drop off I continued on my way back home.

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