The Iaido Journal
March Break Visit to France
copyright © 2012 Patrick Suen, all
Just got back from a fantastic trip to Southern France. Did some
site-seeing and relaxed with some friends. Also had a chance to
train with some local Iaidoka!
The "Shinfukan Dojo" is located in Marseille and is tucked away behind
a rather drab looking garage door in the industrial part of the city. I
didn't know what to expect as we waited outside for the Sensei to
unlock this portion of his house for the start of training.
Stepping across the threshold was like walking into a completely
different time and place. Spreading out before us, just meters
away from the dusty streets and highways of the second largest city in
France, was a magnificent, authentic dojo; the likes of which I've not
seen outside of Japan.
The level of detail and workmanship that went into its construction
could not have been less than a labour of love.
Eric introduced us to Sensei Chabaud, Renshi 7 Dan Jodo, 5 Dan Iaido,
who generously lent us two iaitos to train with. The class was an hour
long, but felt significantly shorter. Sensei Chabaud lead us through
some warm-ups followed by multiple repetitions of each Seitei
Every so often, he would come by to give some advice that was brief and
to the point. It was a clear sign of his experience that I didn't have
to understand French, and he didn't have to speak English, for each
suggestion to come out loud and clear.
After the class, one of the students volunteered to translate my
message of appreciation to the Sensei and a request for a group photo.
What a pleasure it was to find this isolated bit of Japanese culture
within the hustle and bustle of this western port city.