HAPPY NEW YEAR!
This is the 10th anniversary of Iwama ShinShin Aiki Shurenkai. The spirit and technique of Aikido that O’Sensei made and Morihiro sensei continued to teach. I saw O’sensei’s kiai, techniques and prayers to god, and felt a special mood when I grew up. There are now not many people who knew O’Sensei left alive. I felt a sense of incongruity in the aikido world when I started this group ten years ago. It was not unusual that a budo style might disappear within just one generation.
At the end of last year, I found a photo of O’sensei and a young Kisshomaru sensei. They are facing each other with Ken and Jo in front of a waterfall in Tanabe. Kisshomaru sensei’s jo kamae is clearly the same as taught in our style. It proved that he was taught by O’Sensei. But no one will teach this if we don’t teach it. It’s difficult for beginners to understand that Aikido is based on buki waza. I think the first step of keiko is to practice what O’Sensei did modestly. This is basis of Iwama ShinShin Aiki Shurenkai.
I want to share O’sensei’s ideas and feelings about our Aikido with everyone in the world.
At the last, I’ve never forgotten the relationship between master and man, between the Ueshiba family and the Saito family.
Saito Hitohira ”
Thank you very much to Mr. and Mrs Attey for their translation.
Time is passing quickly, it’s like being swept away by a flood.
I can’t believe it, because when I was younger the time seemed to pass so slowly that I was often board or irritated by it . [ When I was learning to cook and in the summer time, when it was very hot, I would be training, the sweat pouring off me and I would feel time was passing very slowly.]
I remember my father would often say, ” I don’t have enough time and can’t waste even a second. Because the day may come when we have to teach Aikido to foreign people.”
My father spent a long time thinking about how to teach Osensei’s Aikido.
This year is the 13th anniversary of my father’s death.
I’m getting old but fortunately 2 of my sons have learned Aikido. However they are still young and need to keep training.
In japan, we say, ” parent’s advice is like cold sake”, it affects you after a while.
I thought about this just before OBON.
The movie “Moneyball” starring Brad Pitt has been released.
This film is made based on the life of a real person who re-organized a baseball team utilizing the statistics and analysis data and revived a lowest rank baseball team.
Me too, I always analyze the current techniques and I am always thinking whether this is or that is good, whether it makes sense in a real fighting situation. My questions for my Sensei and Senpai(s) and this film overlapped and it reminds me the struggle and determination when we became independent. This year, the Japan Earthquake and many natural disasters have occurred around the world. Despite all this I hope that next year will bring lots of happiness for everybody.
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.
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.
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.