At the end of August I traveled to Princeton, NJ to attend a seminar on Taiji Push Hands and the Bagua 18 Interceptions Dao form of Ma Gui -- this is a form using the "Goose Feather" saber, which is a long one-handed saber that has a constant width, unlike the Ox Tail saber more commonly seen. While in Princeton, I became a formal lineal disciple of Zhang Yun in Yin Cheng Gong Fa. I have been studying in YCGF since late 2005 and it was an honor to be able to join the YCGF family as Zhang Yun's 40th disciple.
While on travel in Vancouver I was able to practice Xingyi and Taiji in my hotel room a bit, and do some yoga. In Portland, I visited Laurelhurst Park, where I found enough shade to practice Taiji and Bagua. I also visited my friends Mike Heiler and Troy Gehrett. Mike and Troy are now students of Takamura-ha Shindo Yoshin-ryu -- I was fortunate to be able to visit and watch a session at the private Murakumo Dojo of Doug Walker. I enjoyed seeing a traditional jujutsu style that preserved an associated kenjutsu practice. Very often in Japanese martial arts weapons and grappling have diverged so that one has to learn a separate style of grappling from field weapons -- however, Shindo Yoshin-ryu is a wonderful late-Edo period exception. Its weapons practice is influenced by Matsuzaki Shinkage Ryu, which is a branch of Shinkage-ryu in the lineage of Ogasawara Genshin Nagaharu (Shin Shinkage Ryu) and Okuyama Kyugasai Kimishige (Okuyama Ryu).
[Much thanks to Michael Heiler for this clarification. The lineage chart on page 202 of David Hall's Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts is useful reference material.]
For me, it was nice to see a Japanese martial art that used the same body mechanics for both jujutsu and kenjutsu.
The next day, I visited Troy's farm in Beavercreek, OR. There, Troy and Mike and I practiced sword arts taught in the Hobyokai. My focus at the Hobyokan has been Jiki Shinkage Ryu, while Mike has practiced Yagyu Shinkage Ryu for a number of years and is now learning Jiki as well. Mike has been teaching Troy Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, and I was able to join in their practice of the honden kata. I was also able provide Mike some practice and pointers on Jiki's Hojo and To No Kata. Now I am home, making the transition back to daily routine. The overnight flight home was unpleasant but I was remarkably rested afterwards. I am looking forward to practicing YCGF weapons this fall outdoors as the weather begins to improve in Maryland. I think the vacation accomplished what I was looking for. It was a much needed break from routine.