Thursday, November 19, 2009

November 2009: Visiting TORA Dojo in London

I am back in UK! This time I will spend few days in London. From November the 17th to November the 18th I was in London Bridge since I did a talk at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Unit. I was invited by a friend of mine that recently moved as Bioinformatician to this Unit. It was great to see him again and to discuss extensively of science with him, his collaborators and his boss, Professor Peter Parker. I realized tha the Bioinformatics/Molecular Biology Italian community is relatively small since also an other old friend of mine was also part of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Unit. I had a very intensive and interesting day of discussions with them.
Nevertheless as usual I took my bogu with me and on the 17th night I visited the TORA DOJO which is located at London Nautical School Community Sport Hall, The London Nautical School, 61 Stamford Street. This is a relatively new dojo run by Hyun Hong Cho, which is a 5th Dan kumdo teacher from South Korea.
I met for the first time one of the person from Tora Dojo at the Italian Cup, team competition in Alessandria, few weeks ago. The team was made by Jon of Tora Dojo, Young Park of Nenriki Dojo and a local Italian Kyu grade. This team was very good and for sure much stronger than us and they cleanly won all three shai and reached the Quarter Final (best 8 of 55 teams).
But coming back to the lesson at the Tora Dojo, the sensei is very frendly outside the dojo but she is very demanding during the lesson. We started with a quick run and stretching followed by basic suburi. Then we put the men and we did a very dinamic training. We started with various sets of kirikaeshi followed by kirikaeshi do. Then we did some repetitions of men, kote, kote-men, kote-men-do. Subsequently the students with bogu were divided in two groups yudansha and kyusha. We did a round of kakarigeiko that was quite exausting, since each element of the group has to do about 10 seconds kakarigeiko with all the components of the group. It was very useful because you have no time to think you have to strike the opponent. After that we started with the same approach of a big circle ippon-shogu. A person in the center fights against everybody else since somebody strike a good technique and the person in the center changes. Also this exercise was very useful because it was very quick with no time to think.
As the final part we did ippon-shogu shai.
At the end of the one and half hour I have to admit that I was quite tired. The sensei invited me to join them for a beer at a pub. It was great I was so thirsty! After recovering I asked the sensei if they were doing always that type of training and she told me that they were preparing for a competition that is on sunday, therefore they had a couple of weeks of intensive preparation to shai. It was a very nice night. I had the possibility to speak with other students that they knew the Italian male team, the people from Alessandria and also one of my friend of my Dojo, Edwing, that fights in Jodan.
I really hope to came back to the Tora Dojo whenever I will be again in London.

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