Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Upcoming Shodan Grading for Chris

This Sunday is my assistant instructor Chris's Shodan grading. He is fine right now, but I know that the night before the test he'll be very nervous, but he has his own ritual for dealing with nerves. He eats a healthy, high-carb meal, takes a hot bath or shower to loosen up muscle tension, then he watches one of his favourite Kung fu movies.

I too will be a little nervous. This is the first time I've ever gotten a student up to Shodan before. I can't take full credit for it though because he had years of prior experience having trained in Shorinji Kan Jiu-jitsu. Still, he is being judged on his calibre of skill in my particular style, Can-ryu, and as a result, I too am being judged.

For those of you who aren't in the know, I'll be the one running the grading, but the heir apparent to our style, Steve Hiscoe Shihan will be there to witness the test. So even though I'm running it, if Shihan watches the test and is dissatisfied with what he says, he has the last word. Not that I'm worried that Chris won't pass. I just want him to do his best and show off the skills I know he has. If he does that, he'll definitely succeed.

Either way, Chris's test is a milestone for me and I'm looking forward to running it. He's the first Shodan candidate I've had in the 7 years of I've run my own dojos. Has any of you out there reached this particular milestone? How did it feel for you?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jiu-jitsu Style "In-Laws": The Marriage of Can-Ryu & Shorinji Kan

Some of you may already be aware of this. For others, it may be new information. Last month, I got married. The man I married, Chris, is my second in command at my dojo, who had originally come to us just over 3 years ago as a brown belt holder in Shorinji Kan Jiu-jitsu.

Apparently, a new term has been coined with regards to our marriage, with our two styles now being referred to as "in-laws." Steve Hiscoe Shihan, heir apparent to our style, recently visited the dojo run by Andy Dobie Sensei (head of Shorinji Kan's Jitsu Canada) in Peterborough. After the class, Shihan was quoted as having been very glad to have the opportunity to visit, explaining the connection between our two styles as "in-laws" now that Chris and I have married them together, so to speak.

Chris came to our style having moved to the Vancouver area, where there were no Shorinji Kan dojos at the time, which is why he started training with us. Originally, he took up Can-ryu with the goal of keeping an open mind, but naturally looked at everything we did with a Shorinji Kan eye. Over the years, he has come to be a Can-ryu practitioner every bit as much as he was a Shorinji Kan-er. He earned his Shodan in Shorinji Kan in December last year. And at the end of October, he'll be testing for Shodan in Can-ryu. If he passes, he'll be the first to hold the rank of Shodan in both styles.

I, too, have earned my own place with Shorinji Kan, having received my orange belt last year. I took up training with the new instructors who had moved to the area with the hope of focusing on skills that receive less emphasis in our style. It's also just nice not to have the weighty responsibility that comes with wearing a Yondan belt. I had to take a break from it for awhile, but I've re-started my training this fall and hope to test for green belt in late November.

Chris and I hope to continue to maintain a good relationship with both styles. Of course, our dojo is a Can-ryu dojo, but Chris still goes to the Shorinji Kan dojos that now exist in Vancouver to help out whenever he can. We also invite Shorinji Kan instructors to teach at our dojo as guests and, vice versa, I occasionally teach at Shorinji Kan dojos as a guest. And, of course, we always welcome Shorinji Kan students to drop in at our dojo. They're family after all...