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A Student from Yugoslavia

Kawaraban No. 32


by Kenji Shimizu Sensei and the editors of the Kawaraban

The Tendōryu aikidō seminar by Shimizu sensei this summer in the Black Forest in Germany was introduced in a Yugoslavian specialist journal for aikidō. The author is aikidō student Ivo Jovovic from Yugoslavia, and he sent us that photo report recently by fax. The publisher of that journal asked him directly for a publication. Herewith we print the contents of the article and additionally an introduction of Ivo by Shimizu sensei.

by Shimizu Sensei

“17 years ago, in 1980, I went to Yugoslavia to teach for the first time. At that time there were already dan degree holders, and Ivo Jovovic was in charge before he was 30 years old. He followed the path of Tendōryu ever since without interruption. All these years he did not give up, although he suffered during the civil war and endured various stresses and strains. This summer he participated in the Tendōryu seminar in the Black Forest in Germany. He is a wonderful man with character.”

Seminar in the Black Forest by Ivo

Every year beginning of July a seminar takes place in the Black Forest, and on this occasion comes one of the leading men in the world of aikidō, Shimizu Kenji shihan. This seminar is not announced widely in public, and participation is limited to Tendōryu members. As the seminar is very popular, participation is not easy even if you are a Tendōryu member. With the support of Shimizu shihan, to whom I am related by a friendship of 17 years, and the extraordinary goodwill of the German seminar organization team I was able to achieve a visa and to attend this seminar. The seminar lasted two weeks, and the participants were divided into two groups, whereas one was practicing in the first and the other in the following week. As a special favor I was permitted to attend both weeks. The seminar was conducted for aikidō trainer and dan degree holders in the first place. The topics of the seminar were educationally oriented, and from the very first day I noticed the high level of the participants, and I was very pleased.

Twice a day we practiced 1h 30 min. The teachings of Shimizu sensei proved every day, he is holding rightly the reputation of being a leading person in today’s world of aikidō. Facing participants of a mostly high level he expressed himself clearly, shortly and easily understandable, so that I as well had no difficulties at all. The tradition of this seminar, i.e. the so-called spirit, left an extraordinary strong mark on my side. You may say, that I was accepted into the circle of a big family, that is getting along well together.

I was happy, that I was able to practice at such a location with others and that I could intensify friendships.

The seminar took place at a sports center on a mountain in the Black Forest. Although we were secluded from the rest of the world (the next tarmac road was in 3 km distance), all necessary facilities (gym for training, pool, sleeping rooms, dining room, sauna and so on) were available, helping to creating a friendly atmosphere.

Shimizu shihan showed big interest in the situation of aikidō in our country, and we spent most of our leisure time chatting with each other. On top of that I shared the room with the nice young French man, Pascal Olivier (who was practicing aikidō during his 10 years stay in Japan). He spoke perfectly Japanese and English, and he assisted me when I had conversations with Shimizu shihan. Shimizu shihan gave me the organization of a seminar in spring 1998 in Beograd as homework. For this seminar there will be no restrictions for participation of certain federations or organizations. Most of the aikidō clubs in all Yugoslavia have already been informed regarding this seminar.

(from YU-Aikido, September 1997 edition)

© translated by Birgit Lauenstein and Peter Nawrot 11/2003