A REAL EXPERIENCE-Gi Yu Dojo Annual Dayton Seminar June 24th-27th, 2010

July 1 2010

By: Dan Levorchick San-Kyu

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Gi Yu Dojo,

In reflection on the most recent seminar involving the art that we study, I can’t help but think of one of the words that embodies our Dojo, Yu (Courage).  Being amongst each one of you, I can see that each person has the courage to be part of this great group, and more importantly, the courage to become a better person.   And in saying that, Sukh, I want to thank you for having the vision and courage to create an environment, where persons of different backgrounds, interests and passions can become courageous human beings.  For myself, I would have to say that I am far from the person I was placed on this earth to be in terms of the C word, but with the direction and correction of each one of you, I will get there.

Personally, from the start of this seminar, what I really noticed was how everything was in order.  From the maintenance of the grounds and cleanliness of the interior of the building, there was that “brand new” feeling.  Thank you to those who put in the time beforehand, working behind the scenes, to get the stage set for everyone to enjoy.  I appreciate the time and effort taken, and this should be recognized as very important to our Dojo, being the unseen acts of kindness.

Training was awesome, like normal.   The session that really stands out to me, this time, is Kenjutsu.  Although I am still very uncomfortable with most of the training we are doing, the Japanese Sword Technique training was victorious for me, because I finally felt comfortable holding the sword, and also drawing the sword out and returning it too its sheath.  This is the extent of my comfort level with the sword, but internally, I rejoiced at finally feeling comfortable holding the sword!  To those who know very little about me, I am primarily very compassionate by nature (fear oriented), but I realize that I need to do a better job of using a sword in all of my life (being courageous is my point).  This is one area of my life which I know that I need to conquer, which will only benefit myself and those around me.  Having more balance with courage and consideration is my goal.  Additionally, the live cutting was a very neat experience.  Being able to watch Sukh, and fellow black belts cut first was really eye opening, and I was able to see that one of the basics preached over and over is so true, in getting the hips low with each movement.  Thank you, Chuck, for trusting me to cut with your sword! 

Testing for green belt was intense, to say the least.  From the very beginning of not knowing what to expect, to finishing with my lungs burning, I now understand what Sensei meant, when he said that this would be a learning experience.  Having climbed Mt Laconte (Great Smokey Mountains) when I was 16 with my brother; to running various triathlon’s, this experience was harder and more exhausting, because I see that I cannot rely just on my physical ability.  Paul deserves an extra medal for bravery, having to start first, and watching him endure each session, was alarming.  As each black belt came forth, I began to understand the importance of timing, technique and distance with the art that we study, after each failure.  Furthermore, I began to understand that the mental part of performing is what must get me through, when the physical cannot continue at an optimum level.  Knowing that each black belt was performing at 25% or less, reminded me of the kindness of each of our senior students, with what they know.  Having the power to crush, but instead still teaching, so that I can grow and be self reflective even in sparring, is a great lesson.

Finally, I would like to thank our Sensei, Sukh Sandhu, for his encouraging words and actions.  I can tell that when he talks about living a real life; having refinement in your life; giving back to your community, that he does what he says.  Thank you, Sukh, for your generosity and vision.  I listen in awe, and try to catch every word by our Sensei and senior students, because I don’t want to miss what I need to hear.   Being on this earth a short 30 years, those who have power and influence, and use it the right way, is hard to find, so I am refreshed to find a place where power is used properly.   Most of my life, I can say that I have just tried to rely on “what I was good at”, to get by.  I can see, now, that this has been a very paralyzing and costly choice.  I’m determined to live differently, now, and work on those areas in my life, that I was afraid or too lazy to address.  This will take remembering the basics:  humility, honesty with self, justice and courage.   Since joining the Gi Yu Dojo, I can honestly say that my world has been turned upside down, and I say that in a positive way.  There are things in my life and makeup that need to die so that there would be life.  I realize that I have a great deal of work and training to do, so that I might live a higher way.

I wish each one of you the very best in your journey, and know that my positive thoughts are with each one of you, members of the Gi Yu Dojo.  I feel lucky to be part of a great community.

Dan Levorchick