July 20, 2012Posted by Frank Hoekzema


Dear jodoka,

Welcome to our report of the annual Amsterdam Spring Gasshuku.

For many of you the set-up of this Gasshuku weekend is well-known by now. On Friday everybody is free to join our regular evening-training in our Shin Shin Buken dojo in Amsterdam. This year the total Friday-group was a little bit smaller than last year, resulting in more than enough space for 2 alternating groups to practice in a 3-hour session. Afterwards the dojo was quickly transformed into a sleeping area for the night. As the official Gasshuku always starts on Saturday, and we know the group will be at its maximum, we, as in previous years, took our refuge to a larger sports centre in Almere. With a total group of 36 jodoka's this year, the reserved hall was again just barely big enough. If next year's Gasshuku attracts the same amount of attendants or more, we will probably have to look for a bigger training-area.

Stage2012_dojo1409 This year we had again many foreign jodoka's visiting us. There were people from Hungary, the Czech-republic, Germany, Switzerland, England and again our Russian-American friend Slava, who normally tries to come over and practice in Amsterdam and in Haarlem about 2-3-times a year. From the Netherlands, students from the Amsterdam, Haarlem en Groningen dojo's were present. Many thanks to everybody, especially those coming from abroad, for undertaking the effort of traveling long distances to participate in this Gasshuku. It is well appreciated.

Stage2012_dojo0938 Although for the first time not being able to be present, our senior jodoka Rob Stemmerik had, like he does every year, prepared a beautiful new calligraphy for this seminar in advantage. This year the motto of the Gasshuku was:

Kokoro wo tagayasu

Translated by Pascal Krieger Sensei as: "Ploughing the spirit". Meaning: A man (or of course a woman-FH) must periodically plough his inner ground, that the seeds of Knowledge may spring roots in the loosened soil.

As we all know, being a novice or a senior in Shinto-muso-ryu, knowledge of the ryu does not come spontaneously. Just going through the motions will simply not do the trick. After practicing a lot, fine-tuning more and more details, and also trying to 'feel' the technique's, especially with an opponent, preferably not always the same, we will slowly 'feel the seed developing'. These kind of seminars are a big help in loosening up the soil.

The spring Gasshuku was of course again led by Fred Quant Sensei, as in previous years, assisted by Kees Bruggink Sensei. Together they demonstrated almost all kata-series during this weekend. Especially the higher level kata resulted in sometimes lightning fast performances. Zanshin (state of awareness), Metsuke (visual concentration), Shisei (posture), Ma-ai (combative distance between opponents), Kiai (unified energy) and Kime (decision, check), to name a few of the Budô concepts, were clear for all to see in these demonstrations. Very impressive.

Stage2012_dojo1429 Saturday the whole group trained from 10.00 till 17.00 hours, with a good lunch in the middle. As a tradition the lunch contained also the delicious Limburg 'vlaaien' (pies). This year the first day seemed to pass by very quickly. Always a good sign! Like before, the end of the Saturday-training meant for some participating in an exam. This year there were many candidates going up for exams from 5th up to 1st kyu. As always students had to perform under the strain of nerves, at one time even resulting in the birth of a new kata…. We have all been there one time or another and surely be there again soon. Because the kata did not come to a full stop 'in-mid-air' but was ended alternatively, the candidate was allowed to present the kata again, this time correctly. We are proud to say that all jodoka's passed their exams.

After finishing the Saturday training our Gasshuku organizers, as always dear Shanti and Jeffrey, had a new idea worked out for dinner. Every year they try to surprise us with another dinner style. This year we had our dinner in a Community Centre in Almere, where a lovely original Surinam buffet was made by a very nice Surinam family. I can tell you that many of us went for seconds and some even for thirds……. After this lovely diner everybody went on its way, some back to our Amsterdam dojo, to sleep again on the tatami.

Sunday morning training started again in Almere at 09.00 o'clock. The training was used to finish the last series of kata's for the higher levels and practice the other kata's again for the rest of us. This year Fred Sensei reserved enough time for everybody to start to learn a new kata. This was welcomed by all. The higher levels trained this last section of the Gasshuku amongst themselves and Fred and Kees were therefore able to practice one-on-one with the students in Omote and Chudan. Like in the summer-Gasshuku students lined up before Fred and Kees and were able to have some quality time with both Sensei. Stage2012_dojo1009

After formally closing this successful spring-Gasshuku, with Fred thanking everybody for their hard work, people where again able to join the Suriname family for a well deserved lunch. In the end everybody started their journey back home throughout Holland, Europe and even further.

We enjoyed having you all over and training with you and hope to see you again next year, if not earlier in the international summer Gasshuku in Switzerland.

Frank Hoekzema On behalf of the whole Shin Shin Buken group.

See the slideshow for an impression of the Gasshuku June 2012


June 20, 2011By Frank Hoekzema


My name is Frank Hoekzema, I practice Jodo since November 2006 at the dojo of Fred Quant, and this year I was asked to write a short summary of this annual training weekend.
As in the previous years the unofficial start of the Gasshuku was on Friday evening with a training session in our modest-sized dojo Shin-ShinBuKen in Amsterdam. 27 Jodoka's trained under the supervision of Fred in 2 alternating groups. 20110527_jodo_0007.jpg The first group practiced their technique while the other group was observing and vice-versa.
This way we were able to have a successful 3 hour training with a big group. All our foreign jodoka's, 12 in-all, were already present this Friday. Most of them have been here before so it was also a nice reunion. I am very fortunate to be able to practice 2 times a week with Fred, just a 15 minute drive from my home and I almost feel guilty that others have to save money and get on a plane, bus or train for a long trip to Amsterdam, just to be able to train with my Sensei. But at the same time it makes me feel proud.
The next day the group grew to 37 jodoka's. Fred Sensei was assisted in leading these 2 official days of the Gasshuku, by Kees Bruggink Sensei. For a few years now Kees and his group participate in these Gasshuku's and always provide us with interesting additional information. 20110528_jodo_0554.jpg In order to be able to all work together, we trained in a big sports centre in Almere, a half an hour drive from our dojo, as in previous years. Saturday from 10.00-17.00 hours, ending with the successful exam for a few students, up to 2nd kyu. On Sunday from 09.00 - 13.00 hours. During the weekend, as always with much time reserved for kihon, many students were still able to learn the form of a new kata. This weekend the number of students in Omote and Chudan were almost equal to those above Ra-nai, which, I think, is good for the continuation of passing on Jodo.

The Five Virtues
Our oldest member, known to all, Rob Stemmerik is besides a experienced jodoka also a gifted calligraphist. For many of our Gasshuku's Rob has made beautiful calligraphies.
For this event he drew the signs of The Five Virtues.
Nin : Human warmth
Gi : Justice
Rei : Etiquette or polite behavior
Chi : Knowledge
Shin : Trust or confidence


When I started practicing Jodo I immediately noticed in our dojo and also in the different Gasshuku I have participated in since, that throughout the groups a mutual feeling of almost family like behavior was present. The 'elder taking care of the younger'. Respect for each other, no matter what level. In and outside the dojo. No hesitation from the experienced jodoka's to assist newcomers for extended periods, even though this means less time to work on their own level. With this in mind I feel Rob chose an excellent subject for this Gasshuku. 20110528_jodo_0078.jpg My personal experience in training with jodoka's, other than out of my own school, is that I have both U-HU?? and A-HA!! moments. On my level (1st kyu) I still find that many techniques are much too rigid and 'styled' almost to the students I normally train with. You just get to know a little how they attack and defend. So it can happen that techniques I try with others just 'will not work properly'.....U-HU?? After much trying, searching and sometimes ample explaining by fellow students and/or teachers it can however become A-HA!! If this happens only once, it is already a successful Gasshuku. I am glad to say I had a few this weekend. 20110528_jodo_4715.jpg As always the organization of this weekend was in the experienced hands of Jeffrey Schwerzel and Shanti Tuinstra. This meant that breakfast and enough refreshments were present for those spending the night in the dojo and good lunches in the sports centre. For Saturday evening they organized an all-you-can-eat sushi diner in down-town Almere. The discipline I tried to have during training was soon gone! Within a short while I was stuffed and not able to taste more good food.
Sunday after lunch it was all over again for this year and everybody left, I am sure, with a satisfied feeling of a successful Gasshuku. Thanks to Fred and Kees, but also thanks to each other.

Till the next Gasshuku, where ever that may be.
Frank Hoekzema

See the slideshow for an impression of the Gasshuku May 2011


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