〔where I stayed〕
Although it was in the middle of Easter holidays, there were more than ten participants and some of their families also came along which added an extra nice homey feel to the sequestered
idyllic setting blessed with rich nature. The more, the merrier indeed. It was about 90 minutes by car from Sacramento. The nearest town was about 20 miles away from there and I
figured it would be less of a hassle to stay in one of the on-site accommodations so I stayed in a trailer which was very cozy and snug. There was hot shower, infrared sauna, and
communal kitchen so it was like a luxurious camping so to speak. Surprisingly, I happened to be the very first international participant to take the course there and I was very grateful
everyone went out of their way to make me feel so welcomed. It must have been rather startling to see anyone come such a long way away! About half of the party was area trainers who
commuted and the rest were staying on the farm and had meals together so it brought back my memories from summer camp that my parents once sent me to in the deep woodlands of
〔what I learned〕
Using 60 min and 90 min formats as a basis, the course consisted of variations of movements and sequences developed from Level 2, Lotus Blossom, Happy Moves, and Breathing etc etc, incorporating
the essence of each movement but focusing more on particular parts of feet, hands, ankles and elbows that were deeply connected and directly affected the entire body. So they were familiar
and straightforward to follow and remember. And it wasn't required to do all of what we learned in the course at one go so we could play around by breaking them down into segments to use as
supplementary material for clarifying particular movement or function of the body or picking out a couple of elements and inserting them in between the usual format. It gave me lots of new
ideas and tools which I found very useful to design the
class in many different patterns to best match the needs of clients of the day.
I also reacknowledged how various physical disorders, imbalanced conditions, malfunctions, injuries, and pain attributed more often than not to problems in the extremities. Tenosynovitis,
tennis elbows, bunion, Morton's neuroma, Achilles tendonitis, flat feet, plantar fascitis are just a few of all too common issues we come across. There's not a single day that we don't use
our hands and feet, but unless we feel any discomfort or pain we take them for granted and tend not to pay much attention to them as much as we care about our face or neck or shoulders or back
where more obvious fatigue easily builds up. Many office workers spend most of the day with their feet cramped in high heels or hard leather shoes but neglect to take good care to unwind
them at the end of each day so they end up overusing them. After a thorough self massage focused particularly on these areas that easily get strained and also moving various bones and
superficial layers and muscles of my hands and feet in different directions that I'd never moved so much before, I could feel the difference in rubbery tenderness around the congested areas and
once those parts were more relaxed, the mobility range seemed to increase even in that short period in the course. So if we cared to spend more time to relieve tension from these parts
after using them in order to regain or train to be able to utilize full range of motion we originally had, then we would certainly be able maintain a body that can move effortlessly and
efficiently over a longer period of time.
There's always more than one right answer and depending on from which angle you focus on the issue, the application of particular movement or its effectiveness on a certain part of the body may
change. There were different interpretations, too and we shared them. One person had seen Juliu's movement in a certain flowing rhythm to flourish and another person focused on a
different element of the same movement and put more emphasis on the heaviness to create contrast of gathering energy to the center and then letting it burst out. The former gave me the feel
of a beautiful flower blossoming out in peace while the latter was like scooping water and splashing it around in joy of blessed rain and both felt really great. I think having these kinds
of variations in the texture or intensity of movements and being able to savor the different sensations and also having choices to apply them is what makes the method so amazingly
interesting and unique. I also felt that good trainers were always flexibly open to different ideas and approaches and were constantly experimenting how best they can get across the
intended aim with clarity and devised ways with ingenuity to achieve them.
〔people I met〕
Since there was no commercial establishment nearby, we had lots of opportunities to have meals together which also gave us chances to get to know each other outside of class. So in
these three days, I got to listen to many interesting stories.
Allsgood Farm was run by Nora
, an experienced master trainer, and her amiable husband Cliff. Nora had
worked with Juliu from the early days and I saw how everyone was so fond of her candid personality with a delightfully quirky sense of humor and a generous heart so that was the reason why so
many people had been drawn there.
The course was taught by Emma
, a master trainer from Portland, who was so full of zest and passion to fulfill
people's appetite for learning more. There was a lot of new information to take in but she summarized everything so well in an orderly sequence and zipped along so the three days went
by in a flash. She told us her toes were curled up into almost tight fists when she was born and her legs were bowed and developed scoliosis later on but she found ways to get around
them and put together all the findings from her study and experience into this course.
I was deeply impressed with
the potentials of the human body and how it was capable of making such significant changes.
Emma's affable husband, Vince cooked us a scrumptious barbecue dinner on the first day. He told me he'd been to Japan before to visit his friend who was teaching English there.
That was when Vince had his first shabu shabu, a Japanese dish cooked by stirring thin slices of meat in a pot of simmering broth for a few seconds and then dipped into a sauce to eat.
He was very dissapointed that he could hardly find any shabu shabu restaurants in the States and didn't understand why it wasn't popular because he thought it was so good.
Compared to chunky steaks, I guess you would have to repeat "swish, dip and eat" quite a lot to get full so maybe they just couldn't be bothered...!
There were also a few master trainers in the group so I got to hear about their amusing episodes and challenges with Juliu, the history of how the teacher training was done back in those days
and hardships before the whole system evolved into what we know today.
I didn't expect there would be so many people in the group who had been to Japan and I was so glad to know they returned with such pleasant memories. Stephanie
told me she taught English at junior high school in Kagawa and spoke to me in Japanese. Kathy
was coming to do final certs in Tokyo in June and she told me she enjoyed teaching in Asia because students were focused
and respectful and many master trainers looked foward to visiting. There is a number of specializedcourses that aren't available yet in Japan so I really hope the good reputation
continues so that more people might be encouraged to come out here and open doors to the new world. I'm excited to find out what may be in store for me next. Fingers