This year that ,commemorates the 10th anniversary of the passing of our Master Morihiro Saito, Iwama Shin Shin Aikishurenkai Italy, headed by Alessandro Tittarelli Sensei, decided to organize two special training events in Italy, being one in Sacily and another one in Siracusa, south of Italy. Here is a short report of these two important aikido events.
SEMINAR IN SACILY
Kaicho Hitohira Saito arrived at Venice airport Wednesday, June 20th at 18.30. Tittarelli sensei was there waiting for him with Francesca, his lovely daughter, Mauro Tome (Dojo-cho of Sacile) and Andrea Piccinini who is the manager of the whole Palace Sports of Sacile (Palamicheletto).
A little over one hour, all the group arrived at Hotel Purlilium, where dinner was ready. Sensei was able to taste some of the typical dishes from the hotel and after dinner retired to rest.
On Thursday, June 21st, the day was devoted entirely to the relaxation and to showing the local area to Sensei: after breakfast the group took a walk in the town of Sacile. There was an interesting weekly outdoor market and after all tasted the worldly famous Italian ice cream and visited characteristic places of the city.
Later in the morning Sensei and entourage moved a few miles up to the mountains (Alps) to explore the two tributaries of the river Livenza. Sensei was very impressed by the purity of the water at the source and prayed on the spot.
Lunch was at a restaurant right by the margins of the River. Obvinsev Alexey (a Russian national who lives in Istanbul) joined the group after lunch and in the afternoon, after a well deserved rest, all went to visita brewery(birreria) near Sacile. Here everybody tasted some of the types of this beer. After this Sensei was led to visit a dairy cow farm, which also had many other animals. The owner gave a detailed explanation on how to make cheese from milk and he also offered everyone some cheese samples to taste.
Whilst speaking to the locals, the group heard of a farm in the hills where the farmers take the cows in summer time for pastures and where all the work is done by hands, from bread to cheese, meat, pasta and home made pastries. Everybody climbed the mountain and had dinner at the Farm, where many of these typical homemade dishes were tasted.
After dinner the group returned to the hotel and Sensei retired to rest. On the night between Thursday and Friday the organizers of the seminar fixed the Kamiza and mounted the tatami (900 square meters) in preparation for the seminar. On Friday morning, some German friends, Volker and a pupil, Bernd, and also the American Tim Haffner, joined Sensei’s group for breakfast and later all went for a visit to the city of Pordenone, which is a few miles from Sacile.
Upon returning to Sacile Hitohira Saito Sensei was received by the Mayor of the city with all the local authorities with full honors. The Mayor then present a silver plaque in memory of this event.
The koushukai started in the afternoon, after a short presentation by Tittarelli sensei, about the event.
As usual the first keiko was the basis of aikido, Ken. Sensei taught aikiken suburi and awase, followed by tachi dori.
The second keiko was taijutsu and everybody trained ikkyo, nikyo etc.
At night there was a party inside the Palamicheletto offered by the aikidoka of Sacile. Sensei was very pleased with the dinner and even drew on all the shirts of the gentlemen who cooked and served dinner.
On Saturday morning the first keiko were about jo suburi, 31 no kata and 13 no kata, followed by taijutsu training on ryo katadori techniques from the front and from behind. Many forms of Kokyu nage techniques and also sumi otoshi were practiced during this keiko.
As it is traditional, on Saturday, there was a group photograph after all the morning keikos were over.
The local Restaurant “Al Bracere” Porcia close to the hotel, was the place chosen by the organizaers for Saturday lunch and there Sensei and his group were joined by some more aikidoka, too..
On Saturday afternoon, the koushukai continued with 13 awase no jo, and then proceeded to jodori. The 6th keiko was taijutsu again and Sensei taught several techniques of ushiro ryo kata dori.
The customary Party on Saturday night was at the Restaurant “De Cial Brent” and about 80 people came to this event. In the good Italian way, the event started with appetizers, followed by several delicious dishes, sorbet, dessert, coffee and liquors at will.
Sensei got up many times during dinner to serve everyone around the tables. His very good mood was apparent to all and he even made a beautiful speech thanking Tittarelli sensei several times for this double invitation: to Northern Italy where he met the water (MI) and to the south, to Sicily to meet with fire (KA). Both of these elements mean great purification and have great symbolic significance.
On the last day of the seminar, the day started with a Special Keiko and Sensei taught all of the Ken-tai-jo techniques. The next two keikos were kumitachi and some of their specific variations and later koshinage techniques. Sensei also had time to teach Ganseki Otoshi techniques (many completely knew for everybody).
The koushukai finished at 1:00pm.
However, Sensei’s visit did not finish here. A large group – our very good friends from Germany and also from Siciliani (Peppe Doria, Daniel D’Urso and Giammarco Buffalo) enjoyed lunch at “Al Bracere” again, for indeed it had very good service and food.
After lunch it was time to say goodbye to all the friends who were in the hotel and Sensei retired to a well-deserved rest, after intensely working for 3 days.
In the afternoon Sensei, together with the host, Mr. Tittarelli, his daughter Francesca, Mauro and Andrea went to Trieste, an hour and half drive for dinner at the home of Michele Marolla. Mr Marolla and his wife offered Sensei delicious typical dishes of Trieste and wine typical of the area, too. After dinner, all returned tired but happy, back to the hotel.
Sensei left next day in the morning from the Venice airport. There were no problems with the flights and Sensei left for Rome and from there to Tokyo.
Thank you Sensei so much for this wonderful seminar and for visiting our home – Italia – again, on the year of the 10th Anniversary of the passing of the great Morihiro Saito.
SEMINAR IN CATANIA
Sensei arrived Tuesday at 18.30 Catania airport and was hosted at the big hotel complex of Arenella Resort, about 18 kilometers from Syracuse.
Some of the participants of this seminar were already in the place, enjoying their holidays such such as Botov Sergey Sensei and Alexey Obvintsev from Russia.
On Wednesday Sensei went to visit Mount Etna (an active volcano that dominates the city of Catania). After a long stroll on the slopes of Etna-san, everybody went to have lunch at a famous restaurant in Catania. The rest of the day was passed quietly at the hotel.
The whole Gasshuku was dedicated to the study of Bukiwaza with 4 classes per day, starting everyday at 7 o’clock in the morning. According to Sensei’s wishes, the timetable was a little changed and a special keiko was done on wonderful variations of kumitachi and kumijo.
This was the first weapons’ only gasshuku done in Italy and – according to Sensei – just about all the bukiwaza system was covered at this event. Aikiken, aikijo and kentaijo, were all practiced during this unique gasshuku.
Because of the nature of the gasshuku, Sensei was able to teach everyone individually. This was, therefore, of extreme utility to all participants.
On Saturday night there was a very friendly party near the swimming pool with music, dancing, drinking and singing where everyone had a really nice time.
On the same night Sensei’s elder sister Mrs Motomi and Kajiwara Sensei arrived and the next day a big group went to visit Syracuse historic center, Ortigia and the Roman catacombs. Next day the group increased in number with the arrival of Mrs Saito, Mrs Sonoko and husband Guerrino. All together were 18 people! This big group went together to Modica country side to a Masseria where Sensei was able to learn how to do the famous “ricotta” cheese. This city is also famous for its chocolate. The whole group enjoyed a big party, in the evening until late at night.
Sensei left next day to Uruguay after the second important event of the year, on the 10th anniversary of the passing of the great Morihiro Saito Shihan.