I have been scuba diving for over 40 years. On a typical trip to Mackinaw City, we would dive four times. Because of the depth, the actual total time underwater was only about one hour. I learned over those 40 years that the act of diving was a relatively small but important part of the “total experience”. As important were the discussions in the car driving up to and on the way back from Mackinaw; white fish dinners; and a cold Corona beer on the back of the boat before going to bed.
Over 18 years of practicing Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu I have also learned that while performing kata is an important part of the art, it is still a relatively small but important portion of the “total experience”. For example, to perform Inazuma it takes approximately 40 seconds (longer for some of us older deshi).
For this article I wanted to list some of my best “other experiences” in USTRI:
being a deshi with my son Eric for 5 years. This involved; training at the Honbu Dojo with Buhaku Sensei; taking Japanese language and Ikebana class with Dianne Sensei; and Shodo lessons with Buhaku Sensei. My best experience was our trip to Japan in 2006.
general discussions with other deshi while getting suited up in Alexanian’s basement.
dojo and yard cleanup with all the other members of USTRI.
getting sushi after class.
47 Ronin movie night.
several USTRI group trips to Japan.
visits to Michigan from Soke Sensei and Endo Sensei
Once again, in my mind the combination of kata work and these”other experiences” make up the great “Total Experience” that I have enjoyed for so many years.
Thomas L. Hufnagel (Gensui)