Sunday, February 25, 2018

Singapore 2018: Chinese new year, the year of the Dog

It is a bit of time that I do not post on this blog but the work is always keeping me very busy. Nevertheless I still love kendo and I do my best to practice as much as I can.
I am writing this blog in Frankfurt airport, I just get off of the Singapore flight few minutes ago. I have to write this post now because when I will be home I will be too busy with the everyday work.
I have been in Singapore nearly 10 years, just one of two weeks, but every year.
This is the 4th time I run a RNAseq/ChIPseq workshop at Duke-NUS. It is a quite challenging task since I teach for nearly 7 hours every day for 5 days with the help of three local Bioinformaticians. It is challenging, but it is very nice to see people so interested to the topics I teach. This is the first time I am in Singapore during the Chinese New Year. I had the possibility to be part of three Loh hei, at Duke-NUS with the  Bioinformaticians, at Tangling Kendo Club and with my Singapore friends.

This time I did my best to have keiko nearly every night during my week in Singapore. This is a brief summary of the "fun" part of my Singapore trip.
Arrival on Saturday February the 17th late afternoon in Singapore, no keiko on Saturday evening, but I was struggling to have some Dim Sum, a kind of filled pasta cook by steam, I went to the Din Tai Fung restaurant in China town and I enjoyed dim sum.

On Sunday morning I went to the Singapore Kendo Club at Changi Japanese School. It was a light training because many people were in holidays. After I was guest at the home of my friend David Yeo, the Sensei of the Tangling kendo Club. It was a nice afternoon with kendo friends.
 On Monday and Friday evening I had 2 hours keiko at NUS Kendo Club. The club is made by young NUS students and it is very nice to see their participation to the practice. The only problem, in the training at NUS, is that air conditioning is not present, so you run two hours of kendo at 32 Celsius and 100% humidity. I can tell you that it is very challenging, but it was great to be there. On Friday I had the honor to be one of the motodachi for the last 40 mins of jigeiko. Although many students  are just beginner they had a very good attitude in kendo practice and their kendo is quite clean.

On Wednesday and Saturday I was at Tangling Kendo Club. It is always very nice to practice with my friend David and all people at Tanglin. The Tangling club has many foreigners  practicing there and it is very nice to see how kendo is the same even when practiced by people from many different places in the world. I was very touched by a little kid, Rafa, great great spirit and good technique.

Off course kendo and food are friends and I had the possibility to test a lot of Chinese food.
Last but not least I did also keiko at SKC in Clementi Japanese Primary School on Thursday. This training is limited to 2 Dan and above. We were few people, but the one hour practice was very intensive and I got quite useful tips from Damian sensei, teaching  in Clementi that night.
At the beginning of the practice Damian sensei asked everybody to have a goal for the evening and I was focusing in keeping the center during the jigeiko. At the end of the training, I told Damian sensei that I was realizing, during our jigeiko, that he was controlling the fight with his seme and I did not want to be controlled by him, but I could not find the right way of doing it. Damian sensei told me that keeping the center should not be a static condition, but it has to be dynamic, because must exist a mental iteration between the two opponents. Thus, response to a seme could be setting the conditions to perform oji waza or stepping back to grab again control of the action. The most important point is however the constant mental contact with the opponent. So, I got something to think about and try, till my next time to Singapore.

So taken together I had a really great time in Singapore, the only thing I unfortunately I missed was the Dragon dance. Let hope have the opportunity to see it on an other of my trip to Singapore.

Thank you to everybody for the warm welcome I got in every dojo!