It has been almost 20 years since I first tied on my obi. Way back in 1997, I walked through the doors of the Auckland dojo for the first time and looked around in wonder at all the white clad people yelling at each other. I still remember the utterly alien feeling of being surrounded by a large group of people all yelling at each other in Japanese. A kindly gentlemen greeted me (Osu Sensei Troy if you are reading this!) and showed me around. I was terrified, but also excited.
Now, 19 years later, as I tie on my 1st kyu obi, I look back at wonder at the years that have passed. In that time, I’ve trained, I’ve not trained, I’ve had children, I’ve gotten a few university degrees (one of the reasons I ‘quit’ in the first place)… and in all that time, Seido called to me… The months and years where I wasn’t training, I felt like there was something missing in my life. When I returned to the dojo a few years ago, it felt like I was coming home.
Here is a shot of me in the 90s sometime as a 6th kyu
(yea I think I still need my shoulders to be pulled back!)
If you are reading this as a new 10th kyu, or even if you are considering joining… do it. I have been to many gyms and yoga studios and all sorts of fitness regimes over the years, but no where else does it feel like your home away from home. Nowhere else would I consider the people I train with, my family.
And if you are one of the Seido members that I train with currently, or one I have trained with, I say to you… OSU! I feel truly privileged to train alongside you and to share your energy. Our dojo is, was and will ever be an amazing place and I feel so lucky to have been allowed to train here.
And, finally to Jun Shihan Rob and Kyoshi Bronwyn who came all the way from Whangarei and then took the grading, I thank you for sharing my special day with me.
Viv – 1st kyu