Martin’s two seminars in Toulouse, France
One weekend in May, Martin led two seminars at the Dojo De La Roserai in Toulouse, France. Friday and Saturday were for adults, Sunday for children and teachers of children. And the whole week before that he and Vanda spent in Bordeaux… so here are his notes from the trip:
The smell of the sea at Bordeaux airport, checking into Olivier’s room with a thousand French comics, and then visiting Musée La Cité du Vin – an interactive exhibit about local wine for all the senses. One questionnaire revealed that if I were a wine, I’d be an Alsatian Tramin red. Good for me.
Sleep, lots of sleep. Then downtown, a fantastic 5 course lunch at the market (we just shopped for various streetfood until we had enough) accompanied by a quantum of wine. And a multimedia exhibition of Dali and Gaudi in the local submarine base built by the Nazis during WWII. An evening with French friends, kept us company with a great red Bordeaux and two bottles of champagne.
Full day seminar with Franck Noel and other friends. Franck did almost the same thing he did two weeks ago in Prague, but with different details and principles. As usual: aikidist and pedagogical masterclass.
Saint-Émilion: when it rains, we hide in local cellars and churches and taste; when the sun shines, we walk around town. The wine is unbelievably good – a clear Bordeaux, and at the same time much more delicate than that from the ‘left bank’.
Another day for culture. First the sleepy La Réole, and then the incredible Saint Macaire. Simply medieval architecture, churches with original Romanesque frescoes, monasteries turned into libraries, paintings… and also meeting people, conversations in French, “hitchhiking” with an old lady from the gallery, crepes, baguettes and… wine again.
Train to Toulouse, ice cream, evening training with Gaston in La Roseraie. At home, we open a bottle of Saint-Émilion for a family dinner and it’s really worth it.
Vanda shops in town, I relax, read and prepare for the seminar. In the evening, the first adult training session. I admit, it’s still a bit strange for me to teach in a dojo run by Franck Noel for 30 years, but I’m getting used to it. The theme of the training is “perception of your own body and movement”, after a while everyone on the tatami is having a good time.
All day training – morning and evening adult training. Morning on “contact with partner”, afternoon on “perception of space and working with multiple attackers”. I teach differently than the locals are used to and it seems to work. We talk about it at lunch and after the seminar, inspiration flows.
Two training sessions for children from three different clubs and also for their teachers. The kids have fun and I talk to the adults in between training sessions about why and how I teach Aikido to kids. Great feedback from everyone at the end. And a flight home.
La vie est belle
I’m looking forward to next year.