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Kangeiko (Winter Seminar)

Kawaraban No. 77


by The Head of Tendokan, Kenji Shimizu

I wish you all the best for the New Year.

The other day when I was chatting with somebody the annual wrestling matches came up, and we put up to the question why presently no Japanese becomes Yokozuna (Sumo grand champion). We got to the conclusion that today’s society is not ‘hungry’ anymore. Isn’t it so that the spirit is missing, which should be characteristic for the Japanese as well? From India’s Ghandi the following words are left behind: “Strength does not result from physical abilities. Strength results from persistence of will.” And I, who look back on a long time of Budo experience, really think the same. I hope for more willpower and energy, which results from the spirit, for the Japanese Sumo wrestlers.

As usual the winter seminar took place (early morning at 6:30am, from January 12th – 18th). This time much more students then in the previous years attended. Even on weekdays more than 70 students participated, and the number of 95 participants at the final day was a record. The Tendokan Dojo has a size of 75 Tatami. The Dojo was crowded with nearly 100 people, every individual had the sense of a Budo location, and it was training in an atmosphere of sacredness and full harmony at the same time. In the Tendokan the distinction between Senpai (advanced student) and Kohai (new student) is not known, and every single student was seriously concentrating on his own practice, and it was a wonderful New Year’s winter seminar.

Presently the economics fall into pieces, and we have conditions where the politics and financial experts move around in confusion. “The Japanese judge the world only based upon an economical point of view. Therefore they loose their self-confidence regarding all other aspects as well, if the economy fails”, as for example Liu Denghui (former head of state of Taiwan) points out. He studied in our country, and he is an expert in Bushido as well. His words are remarkable as he shows sympathetic interest in us.

Again and again I call into my mind that “human life starts just now”, independently of my age. We are not able to change the past or strangers, but we are able to change the future and ourselves. These thoughts passed my mind intensively when I was looking at each one, who participated for the first time in the winter seminar.

© translated by Ichiro Murata and Peter Nawrot 03/2009