On a sunny Friday 25th May we boarded the Eurostar at London’s St Pancras station and 2 hours later we arrived in Brussels. We were met by Fréderic Lantreibecq, who whisked us out to our hotel on the outskirts of the city. Sensei Marc Sanglier and his wife Els had done an excellent job organising this first Gasshuku in Brussels and after a brief rest at the hotel we were driven to the training venue by Alex Gherschon, another one of our very welcoming hosts.
The venue was large and well equipped with a matted dojo next to the main training hall, which was being used by an Aikido group. Our instructor for the weekend, Masuyama Sensei began the weekend with a children’s class, which we joined in with at the side. This was followed by the first all grades adult session, covering Miyagi Chojun no Sanchin Kata and Gekisai Dai Ichi. Training was followed by a traditional meal at a Belgian restaurant and the first opportunity to sample the excellent local beers.
Saturday brought the first full days training during which we covered a great deal of stance practice, considering preparation before movement. After a lunch in the sunshine we continued with practice of Shisochin kata. We returned to the hotel and after a brief rest we gathered for a few drinks in the bar, a great chance to meet new friends. We were then taken to an excellent Japanese restaurant, with hot bowls of noodle soup and fresh Japanese salads on offer.
On the final day we were taken to a different venue, used regularly by Sensei Marc’s club. Another well equipped sports facility with a gymnastics hall situated next door. We covered Junbi Undo preparatory exercises in great detail often referring to the relevance to aspects of Kata. The black belt only session covered Kanryo Higaonna no Sanchin Kata (also called Sanchin Dai Ni or Sanchin Kotei) and we practiced the turning section with many repeats. This was followed by practice of Sanseru kata.
We returned to the city centre and caught the last Eurostar train home, tired but very satisfied with an excellent weekend of training. We would like to thank Masuyama Sensei for his wonderful instruction and sense of humour. We would also like to thank Sensei Marc and his wife for organising such a great Gasshuku, Sensei Patrick Curinckx and all of the very welcoming IOGKF Belgium.