Always set goals and push yourself …
In July 2017 I traveled to Japan with my good friend, training partner and fellow school owner Colin Niland of Open Mat Martial Arts.
We had a very loose plan for each day with only our training at the home of Gyokushin Ryu Aikido in Shizuoka, some accommodation in Kiso valley and a visit with my friend Takashi San. Everything else was very open and we flowed with how each day presented itself.
On the 28th of July the plan was to walk an 8km section of the Nakasendo Trail.
In typical fashion Colin and myself could not simply walk the trail, we had to up the ante and add a challenge, this could have been caused by the sake the night before :-). We agreed on the 500 pushup challenge, which would see us stop along the way performing pushups at different levels and hand spacing etc.
We received some strange looks along the way from people not too sure what we were up to and we finished the pushups on a staircase in the town called Tusmago at the end of our walk.
The walk took us through local towns, and we saw a mixture of shrines, tori gates, farming land, water falls and rivers along with residential areas. There were not many houses that did not have a small garden providing some essential food.
Along the way we just spoke about life, our training and just enjoyed the scenery taking a lot of photos between looking out for bears, and ringing the bells to scare them off.
One of the most memorable moments was when we came across an old tea house that the owner ran by donation. We came over a hill into a small valley to see a old farm house.
There were other hikers sitting having tea, and the owner asked us if we would like one, we took a seat on the tatami and enjoyed one of the best green teas I have ever had. The house was built using that amazing traditional Japanese carpentry and joining.
Its always those little things and the quiet moments that stand out the most.
We ended the day at a restaurant in Kiso Valley where I enjoyed a traditional Japanese meal.
A great hiking trip.