T he International Shinshin Aiki Shurenkai Demonstration and Seminar took place in Bratislava , the capital of the Slovak Republic , from March 22nd to 28th.
After an afternoon seminar workshop dedicated to ken (suburi) the demonstration started at 18 :00 on the 24th,
More than a hundred people representing 13 countries participated in the demonstration in front of three thousand audience members. Most of the participants came from Europe. This demonstration, punctuated by strong and clear sounding kiai, obviously reached the spectators' hearts and we received a storm of applause.
I was honored to note the presence of the Japanese Consulate-General of the Slovak Republic at the demonstration.
The seminar was attended by over 160 people from 23 different countries. Many of the participants came from Russia and I hold up great hope for their dynamic collaboration. I feel very happy that they have joined our organization.
Landing at Narita airport on the 28th at 9 :00 Japan greeted me with newly blooming cherry blossoms.
18th year of the Heisei Era, April 8th (2006 April).
All my best wishes to everybody for the New Year. I'd like to take this occasion to thank all the people who helped me last year, and I sincerely hope 2006 will be a fruitful year.
This year, I am planning to give seminars in the Phillipines (January), in Slovakia (March), in Sweden (May), in Australia and Italy (June), as well as in Germany and the US (October). Also, in Japan, a seminar is scheduled for June in Osaka.
As I explained last year, I would strongly like to encourage all people practicing Aikido abroad, both instructors and students, to learn Japanese. Indeed, from the third Dan, I would expect all aikido students to understand basic Japanese. There is no urgency, I'm sure you can use five or ten minutes after training to study together. This should not incur any additional expense. I thank instructors for their kind comprehension concerning this matter. Aikido is not only about studying techniques: directly accessing the Founder's words and ideas with your own sensibility is definitely an important issue. Please keep in mind that interpreting the Founder's words directly from your own understanding, and not through others' explanations, is the starting point of Takemusu-Aiki, the Founder's original Aikido.
18th year of the Heisei Era, January 10th (2006 January 10th).
I left for the Mexico and Rio de Janeiro seminars on April 7th and came back on the 21st. In Mexico, I suffered from lower back pain, but fortunately the pain disappeared by the time I got to Brazil: I would like to apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
When I left from Narita a strong wind was blowing, but I didn't pay any attention to it. It was a great pleasure to see Homma-Sensei when I arrived since we had not met for quite a while.
I was astonished by the scale of the Houston airport and I was pleased it did not take more than two hours from Houston to Mexico. Vince Salvatore-Sensei (Reno) and Fernando-Sensei (Mexico) came to greet us and with them we could discover and enjoy Mexico's ancient civilization. Colorful blossoms are still sailing on the river in front of my eyes, and the music "The Sun and the Moon" is still playing in my ears.
130 people gathered in Mexico to attend the four seminar workshops that we held.
We left Mexico on the 12th and arrived in Brazil the following day. We landed at Rio de Janeiro and Stephanie Yap joined us.
The workshop took place on a military base. Over 160 students came to join us. It is always a great pleasure to share with so many people even a small piece of the teaching left in Iwama by the Founder. I would like to thank sincerely all the people who came to learn from me while I still have so much to learn. I would like to thank all the AHAN project members and Homma-Sensei and his team. Indeed, it would have been impossible to organize such a workshop-tour of Central and South America without their active support. Lastly, it is true to say this adventure only became possible thanks to the proactive back-up of many Japanese Sensei, and while on my way back to Japan, I felt a deep feeling of gratitude for them.
17th year of the Heisei Era, April 21st (2005 April 25th).
17th of Heisei Era, 2 665th year of the traditional calendar, March.
More than a year has passed since the inauguration ceremony of Shinshin Aiki Shurenkai , held in February last year, and I now feel regenerated.
This year has run incredibly quickly for me.
I have recently been remembering and reflecting upon my father's emphasis on a correct hanmi. Currently I am focusing strongly on the importance of keeping a correct hanmi whilst doing aikido. This is especially important for keeping one's balance during techniques.
Some university students came over in March for an uchideshi stay and I was keenly made aware of the importance of kihon training. I am currently recognizing the profound significance of “static” training (1). Even now, in my training, I am constantly correcting my balance and hanmi while practicing Ken and Jo suburi.
I am waiting with great impatience for the next seminars to be held in Mexico and Brazil with Gaku Homma-Sensei ( Denver ), Vince Salvatore-Sensei ( Reno ) and Stefanie Yap-Sensei ( Florida ). I feel guilty to leave my Iwama students alone for two weeks, but, should it enable more people to feel closer to the Founder's spirituality, needless to say, I will resist the pain in my hips to do my best. My sincere wish is to share with as many people as possible what I have named Shinshin-Aiki.
Recently, as my mother and I were having tea, we were speaking about the Founder's religious devotion and she was telling me the Founder used to start and end each day with prayers. In fact, I can remember O-Sensei praying to the four directions in the early morning. My parents were so close to the Founder and his wife that it is impossible to tell my parent's story without mentioning the Founder and his wife.
Every morning , I, as the Founder did, join my hands and pray to the Fudô divinity in the Tanrenkan. I offer these prayers on behalf of the Founder and my father.I will come back for this after the workshops in South America.
17th year of Heisei Era, March (2005 March).
(1) In japanese : katai keiko . Katai means “tough” and keiko “training”. Katai keiko refers to a “static” practice of techniques (as opposed to the dynamic ki-no-nagare ), and aims at correcting angles and positions. When practicing katai keiko the uke should be resistant, strong and realistic in every moment of his attack. It is a key training to develop the technical precision and the body stability required in order to perform the dynamic ki-no-nagare techniques.
After the extension works on my home were finished I felt free to leave for Reno (US) on September 29th.
I had a fairly uneventful flight with the exception of some turbulence. Conner, Patricia Hendricks' son kindly waited for me at San Francisco Airport where we met to travel to Reno together. We arrived at our destination without any trouble and Vincent Salvatore was waiting for us. He took us directly to his lovely home, boasting a fine view. I unpacked my luggage in the room I was offered and then I could enjoy a whole day of rest, which I really appreciated.
Thursday: Training with the Reno students.
Friday: Friday's seminar workshop started with tai-jutsu.
Saturday and Sunday: More than 250 people joined us on Saturday and Sunday. Many of them had already had an uchideshi experience in Iwama. Both Vincent and I were delighted by such a successful turnout.
I was pleased as well to notice the presence of Stefan Kurilla who had come to the US especially for this seminar; all the way from Slovakia.
While sharing with Stanley Pranin (Aikido-journal) and Gaku Homma-Sensei (Nippon kan) the great pleasure of seeing so many long term deshi mix with new comers I again felt the deep impact left by my father Morihiro.
I would like to take this opportunity to warmly thank Vincent's (Japanese) wife, Fumie, for her gastronomic talents. I feel very happy to know him so well-married.
I had an enthusiastic conversation about next year's Aiki Expo with Stanley Pranin and I promised to strongly support this event.
I left to come back to Japan on October 5th after a week that seemed to have flown. The first evening back, during the usual training, I told my Iwama students about the Reno Seminar. In the Tanrekan I prayed to the Fudomyo-O divinity to lead me in the way of spirit (Bushido) using the prayers left by the Aikido Founder, Morihei Ueshiba.
16th year of Heisei Era, October 25th (2004, october 25th).