The hills are alive

With the sound of kiai.

Last weekend, I took part in “The Welsh Experiment”, the first Shorinji Kempo training seminar of its kind (in the UK, that we know of).

Around 25 of us took to the Welsh mountains, shakujo in hand, for a weekend of training and mindfulness.

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We split our time between learning the basics of shakujo (that’s the big sticks we’re all carrying in the picture) and some of the more complex kata, and various forms of meditation and mindfulness practices.

The weather (amazingly) behaved remarkably well. Stereotypes of Welsh weather, and the weather forecast, agreed that we were likely to get wet. Some people got slightly sunburnt.

The first day did have some very dramatic looking panoramas, the sort you get in training montages from the 80s, with rows of students disappearing into the mists.

The mists didn’t photograph well, so here’s another kind of drama:

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On day 2 we climbed Pen Y Fan before breakfast, then did some more training.

The afternoon was devoted to seiho, which is “correcting methods”. In its simplest form, it is pressure point massage, but it’s actually so much more.

We spent a lot of time over the weekend thinking about our connection to the universe. Every moment, every action or inaction we take affects not just ourselves but others. Every thought or word affects not just others but ourselves.

The mountains are one with the sky.

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