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Cheryl Matrasko
James Loeser
Matthew O'Connor

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Matthew O'Connor
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Hiroshi Kato:  Training at Enchanted Rock State Park in Texas
 by Matthew O’Connor and Jeannette Lee

The weekend of September 9th found us on the road to the Enchanted Rock state park, in Fredericksburg TX.  The reason for the trip – a hiking and weapons training outing in the company of fellow aikido students from Shinkikan Aikido – Houston and Hiroshi Kato Sensei, 8th dan.

 
Kato Sensei in randori at the Embukai
© 2000, M. O'Connor - J. Lee. All rights reserved

 It was mid-afternoon when we finally arrived at Enchanted Rock, later than we had planned.  The sun was high and it was a hot day.  Everyone was anxious to begin though, so without even taking time to unpack the cars or set up camp, Kato Sensei directed us to grab our weapons and head up the trail to the imposing summit of Enchanted Rock.  An intense hike (and a few buckets of sweat) later, we reach the top.  The view is stunning.  We grabbed our jo, and Kato Sensei led us through jo suburi.  One of the things that jumps out at you is how graceful Kato Sensei is when he moves, and how much he moves his feet.  He explained later that you need to keep your feet mobile so that you can move your body into the technique.  Definitely easier said than done.  


Ikkyo kumitachi, Alicia Berlanga uke
© 2000, M. O'Connor - J. Lee. All rights reserved
 

We continued into jo kumitachi, going through them one by one until we were all tired.  The indefatigable Mr. Kato had other ideas.  He led us down the hill back to our campsite where we quickly set up camp.  


Hiroshi Kato leading shihogi 
© 2000, M. O'Connor - J. Lee. All rights reserved

*****

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Michio Hikitsuchi 10th Dan 1978
(C. Matrasko as uke)
© 1978 C. Matrasko

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9/11/2001