BAF Summer School 2017

BAF Summer School…what a great time we had there, and just when it was getting good by you getting into the rhythm of training, spending the evening together, getting to know the new people and reconnecting with old friends, Summer School has already ended… But to keep the memories alive and look back on a great week, I want to share I guess my view or summary of the week with you and hopefully get people excited for BAF SS next year! Bear with me as I am not a writer by hart or a navtive English speaker…

Arrival day

So lets start at the beginning of the week shall we? This year we had a good representation on the mat again at SS, with 9 adults and 4 children (8 adults that were Aikidoka) we headed torwards England. We all traveled in small groups, some went by plane, some by a overnight boat with the car and others by train from Calais. Myself and Simon booked a flight over to Manchester and took the train from there to Chester, IMG_2684we left in the early hours of morning and arrived well before the first practise on Saturday. Being the first ones there of the Dutch delegation (well except for Twan who was there on friday already, can’t beat that) like last year we took it upon ourselves to do the cooking for everyone that day, so it was off to the supermarket right after we checked in and dropped of our bags! We had to hurry though, get some lunch, do the shopping and hurry back for the first class that was given by David Yates Sensei, first training in the pocket!IMG_2684


Being the amazing cook that I am *cough cough*, I already made up my mind what to make before we came here. Having to keep account with something gluten free and something vegetarian I made 3 kinds of springrolls and 2 kinds of sauces to go with it. We surelly enjoyed the 20170819_200559evening with good food and drinks, but went to bed early because of the long trips and early start of the next day!20170819_200559

Training schedule
So what does a typical day look like, well very busy that is for sure! In the morning bokken class that starts at 6:30 AM, so getting there in time means you had to get up at 6 and the class last an hour, after that you will have a 2 hour break to have some breakfast and get ready for the rest of the day. If you want to do it all, then it means you will not have much rest between the upcoming classes. In the morning you will have the first main class(what I like to call them). These main classes were mainly run by Kanetsuka Sensei, Kanazawa Sensei, Don Sensei or Ian Sensei. The schedule was a bit different this year, because a major participant was missing from this years Summer School, Holland Sensei was regretfully absent, but that is an whole other story…all I want to say he has been missed immensely and hopefully we will see him soon again on the mat! So the first main class will start at 10:30 and ends at 12:15 with a 10 mins break in between…you made it through the morning!

Time for the afternoon program! Now this is the point where you will have to make some decisions and show your determination of going all the way! Between the main classes and after the second main class you will have the option to train with all kinds of other high level sensei’s that made the program. This year a lot more female sensei’s got the chance to teach their Aikido, which is a good thing I think and I hope we will see some of the female instructors back on the schedule next year! But yeah, back to going all the way, if you want to do it all it means you will have a half hour(well…even less if you want to be in time) to have a lightning quick lunch! That lunch, will have to last you throughout the afternoon, because last class will end 5:30 PM! Yes, a tightly packed program it is, you have to make the most of it I would say!

IMG_3207Hubert van Ravensberg Sensei
This year Hubert Sensei was again on the schedule, but on a different time slot than the previous years I have been around. He was in between the main classes this year, a hard time slot I think, because of the short lunch time you have. Still there was a good turn up I thought, some new faces were present, what was nice to see and of course also familiar faces turned up. I had a good workout that day, being uke whole class for Hubert Sensei and then the main class right after was Kanazawa Sensei, right of the bat after warm up I had to do ukemi for imiri nage with Sensei. A technique that will take your breath away…literally, especially when Kanazawa Sensei does it on a fast pace. He will quickly spin you around him, gets you very low and then smacks you against the floor! You will have to keep focused or you will regret it soon after…do I speak out of experience? Well…haha, I will leave that up to your imagination…

Kanazawa Sensei’s visit

The same day we had Kanazawa sensei over in what we like to call it the Dutch house. Sensei wasn’t the only one who joined us for the evening though, Ishii san, Hikaru san, Marsha and Max also joined us for dinner, drinks and laughs. Bram and Celine made us some delicious soups, one of them was a pumkin and the other a courgette soup, and we ordered some indian food to have right after the starters. Hikaru san brought some beautiful plum wine and Ishii san together with Marsha whipped up some nice green thee for everyone. 

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A Half day

In the middle of the week on wednesday you will have a half days of training, if you don’t have to do a kyu grade exam that is. After the morning classes on wensday some will do their kyu grade exam(congratulations to all who passed) and some will relax and head of into the town of Chester. The Dutch crew did the second part, with the kids and teens in toe we walked along the walls of Chester which we walk almost every year. It doesn’t bore to walk that part though and was nice to be up and about in the fresh air. We ended up all the way down, by the river, grabbed some icecream and some of us went on the boatcruise, I waited on the bank of the river for their return…just like a good love story I guess? Anyways, I went on it the year before, and that is enough for me!  We went out for dinner at Sergio’s today, we were going Italian style! Pizza, calzone pasta, lasagne, wine, panna cotta, all sooo good, well except for the wine for me! Sadly me and Simon missed meeting up with Caroline who arrived this day, she hasn’t been on the mat because of a knee operation, but saw her the next day in the morning! Hope that knee feels better soon!

Bogusia’s 3th dan

IMG_3200D day for Bogusia, and yes D stands for Dan…ahem. Thursday morning, time for yudansha gradings to start. We all took part in the gradings one way or an other. Hubert Sensei being in the grading committee and the others by being uke for persons who are taking the exam, we were present in every part of the grading and some of us multiple times even! I couldn’t see Bogusia’s grading, since I was being an uke for another 3th dan cannidate, but I heard she did a great job, the best out of them all if I can believe Maartje on her word! But I am sure of it that Bogusia did great! Congratulations! Of course congratulations to everyone who passed for their next grade, well done! Better get ready for the next one Bogusia!

Last day

The week has gone by so fast and it almost time to say good bye to everyone…the last day of training at BAF Summerschool! In the morning I felt kinda battered from the day before, but that didn’t stop me, FB_IMG_1503926867749I had to push on and make the last day a good day. In the afternoon I felt much better though, my body warmed up and got into the swing of things I think, or my body all ready knew, just a few hours more and then it’s party time! To close things off, summer school ends with a bang, first wehave the gala meal together and after a party at the bar on the campus. I won’t speak for others, but I had a splendid evening, talking, dancing, singing along and playing pool, thank you all for a great evening, I enjoyed it a lot!FB_IMG_1503926867749

Well, I think I have been rambling on long enough now, to summarize, BAF Summer School, a great week where you can train to your heart’s content. Your Aikido skills will definitely gotten a boots after you been here! I hope to see more new faces on the mat next year, and will try to get some others from the Netherlands to come. Thank you for a great week all!

Written by FT

P.S. Thank you Marsha for a pictures you’ve taken during Summer School!

See more pictures here