Eri Likes Misogi

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Misogi 2014


Misogi 2014 was conducted at Perry's Lookdown in the Blue Mountains National Park on the 2nd and 3rd of August. This was my 2nd Misogi training experience and I'd like to share it with you.

It was a windy Saturday morning with a westerly blowing and there was a report of snow at the Blue Mountains. I contacted Austin James to confirm and – yes – misogi was still on. After about 5km of unsealed narrow road and just starting to wonder whether I was on the right path, I arrived.

Sensei Andrew who took Misogi, Grant, Ben and Tristan(from Western Australia!!!) were already there and a funny thing - there was a push bike parked in the car park. It turned out Ben had caught a train and ridden his bike from Blackheath station to Perry's Look down!!! What determination is that!!!

Finally Greg, Hiroko, Jikou, Aiden and Felicity turned up, making a total of 10 of us. We were ready to start.

Sensei Andrew explained what we do in Misogi training - it is a purification and extreme challenge for yourself in the extreme weather. We don't talk during training and eat only supplied supper but you may drink water.

At first we did some Taijutsu, and then moved on to Jou and Bokken work. One of the Bokken excercises was really interesting. I had never felt this feeling before in any of Aikido training. We normally practice with a single partner, but this was all ten of us who became one.

It felt similar to when you play team sport and everyone's focus is the same. What we did was nine of us making circle and put one person in the middle. Everyone cut into this centre person at the same time to get some rhythm going. As everyone was cutting into the middle, the middle person responds. All that is left was everyone's kissaki in one centre point. After a while, I started to feel a bond and we became one unit instead of individuals. Makes you realized just how powerful everyone's energy can be.

Then we walked down to the lookout to do some breathing exercise facing to Mt Banks where we normally do mountain training. After the physical training, we came back to the camping area and we sat in circle and did Kotodama exercises.

We concluded our daytime training and moved on to preparing supper. Felicity, Hiroko and myself were in charge of cooking and Tristan was in charge of the fire.

We didn't have proper the equipment to prepare, but thanks to Grant who brought out his special Kukri ( a traditional utility knife of Nepalese) to cut sweet potatoes and Greg cutting hard sweet potatoes on the concrete picnic table without damaging the blade.

We set up sleeping gear before it got dark and after sunset.

When supper was ready, Sensei Andrew declared the dojo open and explained the process.

I don't know how long we meditated for but it certainly felt like we sat for long time (with breaks between of course).

Sleep was my biggest challenge. From last experience, I thought I was all prepared, but you can never assume what Mother Nature does. It was a freezing cold night and couldn't get to sleep for a long time. But I could hear people snoring here and there. Amazing!!!

In the morning, Sensei Andrew woke everyone and soon we were off to Anvil Rock lookout for sunrise meditation.

Sunrise meditation was the coldest moment I felt during this entire mountain training. It was dark, cold and windy. We did Funakogi without Gi top before sunrise meditation. When the sun rose, it was a very joyful moment and everything around me came back to life.

This was the end of Misogi mountain training.

Everyone left mountain happy - all refreshed and hoping to survive in our modern, sophisticated world till next Misogi.

What I learnt from mIsogi is that once you commit to do something, don't think about it, just DO it. The satisfaction you gain from it is very great. This is a very basic idea, but it is difficult to do because of our lifestyle these days is so busy. It is often too easy to push your way ahead without seeing the possibility of changing yourself

Well, this is just me how I felt and what I experienced this time. This could be different next time. So I suggest everyone should try it once and see what you discover!!

Eri Atkinson

(PS there are some great pictures at Aikido Sydney AikiKai Nsw facebook page )

Osensei Quotes

Ultimately, you must forget about technique. The further you progress, the fewer teachings there are. The Great Path is really No Path.
Morihei Ueshiba (Osensei)

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