I was lucky enough to arrive in Melbourne at the beginning of February in order to spend one month training full time at the Aikido Shudokan in Thornbury and can honestly say that it has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever done.
I first met Sensei Joe in 2002 when he came to the UK for a seminar in Nottingham and have made every effort to attend seminars with him whenever he comes to the UK. After completing University I decided that I wanted to commit to spending some time in Melbourne on a full time schedule to really immerse myself in Aikido and learn all I could. I spoke with previous people that had stayed at the dojo and they all said positive things and so at the beginning of February I arrived!
The first thing I was amazed by (apart from the heat) was the size and layout of the dojo, it has a really warm traditional feel, not to mention a lot of space for training and I couldn’t wait to get on the mats! The training was a lot harder than I expected, my first day the temperature was 37 degrees and I did two regular classes, a self defense class, a kids class and some after class training! Although the training was hard, it was also great fun and I learnt so much during my time in Melbourne. Sensei Joe and his instructors are at the top of their game and the instruction received is world class and so I would encourage anyone who takes their Aikido seriously to come to Melbourne and learn from some truly incredible aikido-ka.
As well as hard training there was also lots of fun associated with my time as a dojosei. We often cooked or went out for dinner after training to unwind and have a few beers and chat, and on days off I was lucky enough to go to St Kilda beach for the day, as well as a gig with Sensei Fulori, Sensei Enrica and George. I was really appreciative of this time off, and everyone at the dojo did their best to make me feel welcome as soon as I arrived.
My deepest gratitude however, has to go to Sensei Joe who welcomed me into his home and taught me so much in my time here. He is an exceptionally patient and giving teacher and I have learnt so much from him and cannot thank him enough for his instruction (and patience)! I cannot say that the life of a dojosei is always easy or simple, but it is always rewarding and as already said, the instruction received here is world class. I would encourage anyone who takes martial arts seriously to come and study here as a dojosei in order to immerse yourself in aikido and I can honestly say that it has been a life changing experience for me having spent just one month here.