Okay, so it's not the coolest picture in the world. But the seminar was really fun.
Did you go and look up Stephen K. Hayes so I don't have to explain who he is? Good. :)
He was out at the Boulder Quest Center on the 13th and 14th and the theme for the seminar was Shinden Fudo Ryu style ninjutsu. The emphasis throughout was on natural movement, or techniques "without a lot of extra junk."
It was an interesting group dynamic (several TSD black belts from everywhichwhere, lots of local folks, some kids included), and I noticed the altitude was getting to some. The way Mr. Hayes went about showing us the material was in short phases: he'd show one attack, and have us mix-and-mingle to try it on a few different people, then he'd call us back and add the defense. Then the counter. Then the counter to that. Then the counter to that. And so on. I understand this is the way the TSD black belt training tends to be.
He did well catering to all the ranks (and abilities) that were present, and had some talks too, about many facets of martial arts philosophy, as well as how great TSD is and how excited he is at its growth. He has a way of asking questions and asking that people raise their hands to respond to him--by the end of the first day, hands were bobbing up and down all over the place!
Then the evening of the 13th, a bunch of the attendees went up to Kim's house and had a meditation session, then more people showed up to watch the BQC's first black belts do their demos and get their belts. It was really neato to watch the boys' demos with such scenery as a backdrop! I mean, look at the view (pic is of Kevin and Jeff F. doing a demo with padded weapons)!
And the other cool thing is that I was able to exchange books with Mr. Hayes--he signed one of his for me and I signed mine for him. He was very sweet and enthusiastic about the book, which made me happy. After all, I cited one of his Ninja books because I use those Feeling Presence exercises all the time in my classes for my actors to discover spatial awareness and distancing. He remarked that he likes to go to blogs and quote from them, so any of you that are on his forum, keep your eyes out for Bonzuko pearls! :) And of course, I hope that Mr. Hayes feels free to comment profusely here as well--keeping up the dialogue is how movement arts evolve.
When he had the two black belt candidates up in front of him going for their belts, he asked them why they were there--why did they want to get their black belt in TSD? I have lots of thoughts about this question myself. I'll hopefully be able to gather my thoughts enough in the next few months to post some musings on the subject.
Anyway, suffice to say that it was nifty having Stephen Hayes out here and great to work with some new and old friends. Thanks for this seminar, BQC!