A friend of mine whom I regulary chat with via email sent me a message today asking if I was ok. He said he hadn't heard from me in over a week, which was a bit unusual since I am usually "online" fairly often. I then realized I also hadn't posted anything here on my blog in quite a while either. The reason for my lack of computer communication was I had the priviege of hosting an interesting guest at my condo this past holiday weekend. A teacher, Sensei Tetsuo Takamiyagi, was visiting from Okinawa, Japan. He is a teacher of a rare form of martial arts and was visiting the dojo where I take classes to give a two day seminar. You can see a bit of his background here: http://www.norenz.wwma.net/takamiyagi/english.html. It is interesting to note that his visit to several schools in the US this month was the first time this form of martial arts (Motobu Udun-di) has ever been taught in the US.
So, I was pretty excited about this visitor. Since he was staying with me, I needed to make my condo presentable. All of my free time last week involved a lot of cleaning (hence the pile of Lego being given away, as mentioned in my last post). I owe a great deal of thanks to a friend of mine who volunteered to help me with the difficult task of sorting through years of accumulated stuff. I definitely wouldn't have been able to keep up the motivation to sort through it all on my own. Thanks to her, my condo now looks the best it ever has. I'll definitely strive to keep it that way.
(As a side note, since I was giving away a large number of items to help simplify my lifestyle, one of my friends at work asked me last week if I thought I was dying or something. He was concerned since it seemed each day I brought in something new that was looking for a home. In case anyone is wondering the same thing - no, I'm not dying. I'm quite healthy, thank you. I'm just trying to get rid of many of the things in life I just don't need.)
As for the actual visit of the martial arts teacher, I think it went very well. Those of you who know me know I'm not usually very talkative when around people I don't know well, so I thought this was going to be a challenge. But I also thought it would be a good experience to help me. As it turns out, the lack of talking on my part wasn't a problem. For his "day job" Takamiyagi-san is a motivational speaker, and his English is quite good, so there was never a conversational problem. Also, another student from the dojo joined me with the tour guide duties, so the morning trips to Boston and Newport on Saturday and Sunday were a lot less stressful than they could have been. The main thing I was surprised by was how mentally tiring the experience was. I think it was due to trying to constantly be alert to the needs of a guest, always trying to actively listen, and make sure my manners were always proper. The last thing I wanted to do was accidentally offend a visitor from another country.
The 2 day seminar was a worthwhile experience, too. I'm glad I was able to have the opportunity to take part in it. We learned many interesting and effective "soft" techniques, such as joint manipulations, and even had time to learn a Motobu Udun-di bo kata. It was also worthwhile to experience first-hand the teaching style of a teacher from Okinawa. Some day I hope to visit Okinawa (perhaps when I'm a more advanced karate student so I can appreciate it more), but in case I never do get the chance, this was the next best thing.