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Rowing Together for the Joint Progress

Kawaraban No. 79


by Koichi Watanabe Sensei

To illustrate the circumstances, when he separated from Aikikai and became independent, Shimizu Sensei told us previously “it was similar to start rowing in a single-seater across the Pacific Ocean”. I am not quite, what Shimizu Sensei thinks to which degree the boat became big until today, but I would like to answer, if being asked one way or another, that the source of power comes from all Dan degree holders.

With other words, who receives a black belt from Shimizu Sensei receives an oar. Until now students were normal passengers, and it was nice watching the landscape after boarding. But from now on it will be requested from Black Belts that they join in rowing to make the ship advance forward. Although somebody is actually rowing, as long as everybody is acting selfishly, the desired objective cannot be reached. Therefore, all have to put in their strength at the right moment according to the instructions of the captain (Shimizu Sensei).

Concerning this timing there are for example the world seminar, the Kagamibiraki, and some times a year we have a party (‘Cherry Blossom Party’, Welcome Party after the foreign seminars’, Bonenkai’ and others). If at those meetings only new students and only a few Black belts attend the new students might think anxiously “whether this ship (Dojo) might be okay”. If on the other hand many long-standing students attend, they will be relieved and surely be happy.

If a notification is published, also the attitude to enroll is very important. Of course there are students as well, who are not able to enroll immediately as their time schedule is not yet decided. But whenever possible they should enroll right at the beginning, and during scheduling they should consider their participation with high priority. It cannot be helped if due to circumstances finally participation is not possible, but I think that we cannot achieve any community spirit, if there is no real intention from the beginning.

Can’t we create a start for a renewal if our self that up to now only answered: “I do not take part” at least once tries hard with an “I take part”?

Kitani Sayoko (3rd Dan)

Up to now I did not think so much about it, I attended the class care freely, and I am ashamed a little bit. From now on I will take efforts to help same way or the other.

Henry de La Trobe (5th Dan)

Presently I am working for a Japanese enterprise, of course there are various different things compared to a foreign company, and there are some difficulties as well. But those things, which I could learn from Shimizu Sensei, are very helpful. I am not frightened, if the director or the superior seniors scold me, but being scolded by Shimizu Sensei really is frightening. Because we have to survive in a tough environment, I am very thankful to be familiar with strict people.

Yamazaki Masao (1st Dan)

Thanks to Aikido I do not have physical problems. When noticing the introduction of the foreign participants of the world seminar at the bulletin board, I think that we should entertain them hospitably, to ensure a wonderful memory. I am very glad that there are such nice Aikidoka all over the world.

Shioji Aiko (3rd Dan)

I was able to practice already with many of the ladies and gentlemen, who visited us, and surely they already noticed, what person I am. Those things, which I obtained during training, are useful for the business life as well, and isn’t it so that by the training the interpersonal understanding will be deepened?

Taniguchi Masataka (1st Dan)

Thanks to the training my body is still with good health, and I am glad, if people tell me that my facial expression became brighter as well. I wish to continue to practice on my future way to have a substantial life.

Tsuruoka Tomoyuki (2nd Dan)

In the midst of work a ‘crisis’ happened, and I had never thought that something like that could happen to me. The behavior of an office lady with a customer at the telephone was impolite, and there was some quarrel. Some time later three men marched in, approached the office lady and shouted threatening into her face. Unluckily I was totally paralyzed and I didn’t know what to do, although I was already practicing Aikido at that time. But then somehow I remembered Shimizu Sensei and all the other Aikido students, and in the very moment, when “Yes, of course, I am backed up by friends!” flashed through my mind, I became calm again. The Aikido friends will be very important to me as well in future.

Fukada Ryo (2nd Dan)

From last year to this spring I was busy with the preparations for the entry examinination to the university, and I did not quit Aikido but continued to practice. Therefore I was able to not only to continue to learn in Aikido but in other areas as well, and I am very glad about that. Please, continue to support me in future as well.

© translated by Ichiro Murata and Peter Nawrot 11/2009