Sensei contacted me on Thursday to see if I could travel up to Eugene with him to work with Albert Sensei. He and MaryAnn had several questions about specific pieces of the kata then needed to work on and then, if time permitted learn a new kata. My job was to learn the new kata with Sensei and hopefully act as another repository for knowledge.
I didn't want to miss the opportunity to meet Albert Sensei, one of Reed's teachers for over 14 years. The drive is an hour and half out of the thorn city so my whole Sunday was going to be shot (and more than likely, get me in dutch with the wife), but as usual I felt honored to be invited along and wanted to get a look at this level of training. A kind of "peering behind the curtain" kind of thing.
Albert Sensei is an unassuming man with a peppy, upbeat attitude and a non-stop patter. He clearly loves to teach and educate. He wants to make sure you understand exactly what he means and this can mean he'll give a long story to get there. Apparently patience isn't my strong suit when time is on the line, so I would inwardly struggle with some of the stuff. I'm starting to think "keep your mouth buttoned up" is a base level martial art thing.
While Reed and MaryAnn when through a rather extensive check list of questions I practiced Roku dan an ungodly amount of times with Albert occasionally checking in to correct the movement of my hands and their relative moments to one another. I'd like to say I'm more refined, but I'm back to thinking about what I'm doing and it doesn't look so good. Back to starting and stopping.
When they finished their questions Reed and I learned Anaan, a Ryu (sp?) school kata. Closely related to Goju Ryu, many of the blocks seemed right from the canon, but other portions have flowery, ostentatious hand work that is very reminiscent of Chinese kung fu. You can definitely see the influences. I ended up taking video of Reed doing all the steps in fear that my attempts to remember would be too feeble to be helpful later.
When we were trying to learn a piece Albert had me lay down into a crunch position because, "I was the youngest one". Hah, I'm pretty sure I was as old as he was.