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Meeting of Dan Degree Holders (Summary)

Kawaraban No. 85


Today we inform about the Meeting of the Dan degree holders from 3rd Dan, which was organized after the training on Sunday, September 4th.  At that day an exchange of ideas including special practice and lunch took place, and the self-confidence of the Dan degree holders of the Tendokan was strengthened newly.

The summary is in order of the requests to speak. 

Shimizu Sensei: Why do you practice Aikido? Aren’t you usually vague about that?

We should be aware with what feelings we continue with Aikido. We have to drive out the ‘self’, which is running like a ventilation fan, we have to take in something new, and we have to control always our self. The reason is that we are forgetful about our faults, which hide somewhere within us. 

The following has happened in Germany. When I said strong words about human behavior, one of the attending students gave his opinion: “Aren’t we not also guests or customers (of Shimizu Sensei)?” The asking person was a strange guy, and I asked conversely: “Is it really possible to make you successful, if you feel like a guest or a customer?” It is not possible building up a Dojo with people, who think that they were customers.

I expect that all of you, who pay monthly fee and who come to the Dojo, will profit accordingly. I wish that we grew together to a whole, in which people become a Dojo member, in which people meet other people and practice together, in which our feelings for other people will deepen, and in which we take responsibility for the others, if there are problems.

It is being said “Ishi no ue ni sannen” (Japanese proverb: “Three years on a stone”, which means that if we continually sit on a cold stone for three years, the stone will become warm. If we practice continually, there will be progress.), but you already practice more than ten years. I wish that you do not restrain yourself and that you become even more aware of the importance of the Dojo to you. It does not matter whether your techniques are good or bad, everything is meaningless if you do not have a strong self with Ki power and strength.

“How important is the Dojo for you?” (Summary)

Shioji Aiko = It is a place, where I am able to refresh my self, after daily work. And therefore I am very thankful.

Takahashi Mariko = It is a place, where I am able to quiet down, even if I am tired from work.

Tsuruoka Tomoyuki = At my job I tell junior employees, how they, who are still like raw diamonds, may polish themselves; on the other hand, the Dojo is the place, where I am able to escape now and then from daily stress in a framed self and from the feeling of mannerism.

Miyazawa Kouei = Attentiveness to my environment and for the management of the company are quite useful besides the manners, which I learn at the Dojo. Although I rarely can attend the classes, the priority of practice within myself is extremely high.

Tokuda Takahiro = Belonging to the Tendokan is a strong backbone and gives me self-confidence. By paying the monthly fee I profit strongly from the philosophy of Aikido (合気道) with the meaning ‘way (道)’ and not ‘technique (術)’.

Takahashi Yoshio = Own weak points are drilled, and I am able to face everything sincerely.

Furthermore I want to get near to the techniques of Shimizu Sensei even with very small steps.

Masuda Kazuhiro = At a place, which is also far away from my job and where I am able to find myself, I am able to improve my self. I want to develop my self by continued and long practice.

(by the assistant trainers and the head of the Dojo)

Nagai Kotaro: One of those days when I talked to Shimizu Sensei he gave me the same answer as some time before, but even if the contents were the same – he told me that the self should be combined with a fresh feeling – I did not get tired. During practice it is important as well to use our Ki and to refresh us. We use polite terms like “O-negai shimasu” and “Arigato gozaimashita”, and the higher your Dan graduation becomes all the more your understanding of the meaning of politeness for your heart should deepen, because interpersonal connection may not be neglected. For example, it seems that new students are more careful and more concentrated when cleaning the Dojo

Watanabe Koichi: How could we implement the ideas of Shimizu Sensei? As I wrote some time ago, Dan degree holders hold an oar in their hand. If the Dan degree is rising, the oak becomes bigger accordingly, and the water resistance increases, but if we ride across this resistance, our self and the Dojo will show progress. I wish for you that you valued the feeling that you are learning a Budo, of which Shimizu Sensei is very proud.

I think that at our meetings there are only a few participants, who know all members by name. Therefore I ask you to attempt to exchange personalities at our informal social gatherings first of all with those students, who you do not know by name. This is the meaning of our meetings, too.

Furthermore, when Shimizu Sensei returns from his foreign seminars, usual greetings are not sufficient. On the contrary, the greetings have a wholly different effect, if you add only a few words, which demonstrate your binding to Shimizu Sensei. And this also will result in your personal positive future development.

Shimizu Kenta Waka-Sensei: Now I am teaching children for ten years, and I think, the atmosphere is most important. I heart that in foreign countries it is also difficult in children classes to have them maintain their concentration, and frankly spoken the technique does not matter so very much. It is always important to generate the appropriate atmosphere to make the children take the training seriously.

I do not admonish the children one by one, I communicate my intentions to the upper grades, and it works quite well, if they then communicate them to the lower grades. Once a boy was not noticed at all, when he joined the adult class and greeted the attending students in the changing room, and the adults did no say anything. I felt very sorry for the boy. The objective is not to get a higher Dan degree, but I think we should transmit something to the juniors. It is not all about techniques, and shouldn’t we grow somehow? Shimizu Sensei and the assistant trainers give us such hints. I wish that we would be able to enrich our hearts. 

© translated by Ichiro Murata and Peter Nawrot 12/2011