Ganbaru Buyu Dojo 2018 recap and 2019 plans

 Happy New Year everyone!  I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season. 

 Ganbaru Buyu Dojo finished 2018 with some new members joining us and some older members stepping up to help out.  The year started off well with one of our members receiving his Godan in January.  Congratulations to Shidoshi D for a job well done!  The Japan trip in January was the first time visiting for several of the dojo members.  Everyone had a great time and learned a lot, especially regarding how horrible it is to train while you’re sick.  Fortunately, everyone recovered from their various “plagues” and was back to training in no time. 

 In April, we had Norm Smithers out from the UK for a week.  He shared his insight and tips on numerous topics to include; sanshin no kata, kihon happo, Takagi Yoshin Ryu, Shinden Fudo Ryu and sword work.  The week was jam-packed with information and a lot of fun.  I think Norm still holds the record for the number of Guinness’ consumed by one person, at one meal, at Ram’s Head Tavern. 

 In keeping pace with the monthly seminars from Jack Hoban, we spent the majority of the year focusing on Takagi Yoshin Ryu.  We didn’t get nearly as far as I would have liked, but we managed to cover all of the Shoden no Maki (omote and ura waza) and everyone showed great improvement.  A number of us made it up to Jack’s seminars throughout the year to supplement our regular training, receive some needed guidance, and inspiration from watching Jack’s amazing movement.

 The dojo hosted another Knife and Pistol seminar that seemed to be enjoyed by everyone.  It provided an opportunity to see how our art translates to modern warfare with body armor and firearms.  As usual, everyone did a great job applying the principles and only needed very minor assistance with what was being shown.  I hope to provide another version of the seminar later in 2019.

 Buyu Camp was at the beginning of September and was a blast, as usual.  The camp had attendees from all over the US and Europe.  It was great seeing some of my California buyu I hadn’t seen in more than a decade!  Phenomenal training was provided by all of the instructors.  If you haven’t been to Buyu Camp in the past, make an effort to get to it in 2019. 

 At the end of August, I inured myself while at the gym.  MRIs showed I had completely torn my supraspinatus and torn my bicep tendon lengthwise from the shoulder.  That limited my activity in the dojo.  We spent the last third of the year focusing on one-armed techniques, with Shidoshi D helping out with showing the same techniques with both arms.  I had surgery in November, which closed the dojo for half of the month.  Shidoshi D stepped up and took over classes for the end of November and December.  He did a great job focusing on basics with everyone.  He will continue to have a part in teaching as we move into 2019, as I am still limited to one arm. 

 Finally, the end of 2018 saw two new members join the dojo.  Welcome to Ruben and Ola!  We are glad to have you training with us and look forward to watching you grow in the art. 

 Moving into 2019, I’ve had to reassess how I function.  My injury has forced me to take a step back, slow-down and focus on healing myself.  The lesson wasn’t taught gently, but slammed into me like a freight train, since I’ve refused to learn it in the past.  That lesson was moderation, and slow but steady progress.  After 30 years with the military, I was used to working through discomfort.  Suck it up and drive on is a mantra every military member knows.  Most of my friends who have known me for a long time have heard the long-running joke that my moderation switch is broken and stuck in the off position.  Well, it all caught up. 

 As we begin 2019, we will focus on basics.  Those will include what everyone is used to; sanshin no kata, kihon happo and ukemi.  We will also be placing a lot of emphasis on footwork and junan taiso.  Since dealing with an injury means you may have a severe disadvantage in an encounter, footwork is extremely important (not that it isn’t just as important when at 100%, but a little sloppiness can be much more easily compensated for when you aren’t injured).  We can all use a little more flexibility and mobility, which is why we will also focus on junan taiso.  I will continue to teach our waza as one-armed versions for the first several months as I regain mobility in my arm.  Shidoshi D will teach the original versions.  We will continue to work on compressing the space as we train the kihon happo and other waza, working from tsuki range down to grappling range. 

 After the first quarter, we will be using our enhanced footwork skills as we cover waza from the various ryuha.  We’ll see which school we gravitate to after I return from Japan at the end of January, and what topic Jack is focusing on for 2019.  Once my arm has regained full-mobility, we will spend some time focusing on Kukishinden Ryu, as I would like to explore it’s use in a modern battle-field context.

 I look forward to an amazing year with everyone at the dojo and have great expectations for everyone’s improvement. 

 Josh Reis