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Cheryl Matrasko
James Loeser
Matthew O'Connor


Cheryl Matrasko
James Loeser
Matthew O'Connor


Hiroshi Kato:  Training at Enchanted Rock State Park in Texas
Part 2
 by Matthew O’Connor and Jeannette Lee


Hiroshi Kato Sensei demonstrating Ikkyo kumitachi at the sumit of Enchanted Rock. Justin uke. 
© 2000, M. O'Connor - J. Lee. All rights reserved

We practiced some more, this time with the bokken, in a field near camp.  Kato Sensei taught us to drop low to gather energy and then to use that energy to rise into uke’s attack.  This point was to become something of a recurring theme throughout the seminar.  At one point, as we all struggled to grasp what he was trying to teach us, Kato Sensei joked, “Nobody here knows anything.”  Pause.  "I know something.”  Everyone laughed.  We finally stopped practicing when it was almost dark.  Everyone is ravenous by this time.  We spread our food on the table and shared a strange but satisfying feast – everything from turkey sandwiches to noodles to tofu.  Later, the kids who had come along with their parents roasted marshmallows over a roaring campfire (with expert instruction from ex-girl scouts) while the rest of us partook of sake, beer and good conversation.  Kato Sensei speaks very little English, but somehow we all ended up rolling with laughter and getting the gist of each other’s stories as the night wore on.

Sankyo kumitachi, Sasha Calderon uke

The night was calm, a nice breeze cooling the air.  Perfect outdoor sleeping weather; bugs, ants and strange creature noises notwithstanding.  The next morning, we hiked back up the rock.  A short but intense bokken training session later, we head back down to camp for jo practice.  We finally stop for brunch around 11 a.m., scarfing down fruit and sandwiches before breaking camp and heading back to Houston for the rest of the seminar. 


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Michio Hikitsuchi 10th Dan 1978
(C. Matrasko as uke)
© 1978 C. Matrasko

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