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My Aikido Grandchildren

Kawaraban No. 56


by Kenji Shimizu

It is now 25 years since I went to Germany to teach for the first time. This spring in Berlin they held a splendid celebration of the jubilee of the 25th anniversary of Tendōryū aikidō. At present Tendōryū not only has spread to Germany and, of course, to the neighboring countries but also as far as America, Mexico, the former Yugoslavia, Serbia/Montenegro and so on. It is not so much due to my efforts to spread it, than it is rather due to the fact that its roots have spread, buds show and the trunk is growing. The time has come eventually in line with the natural flow.

The students, who were young then, have grown older, and now the students of these students, i.e. my grandchildren, have grown up to young people. Although coming from individualistic countries, numerous students have found each other and gathered by Tendōryū. I feel happy about it. I am grateful, that I was able to stick to the spirit of bushido, which I believe in , even when teaching in Europe. With their attitude, their drive at understanding, the students have shouldered a lot without loosing their balance.

The reason why such thoughts are on my mind is, that recently my aikidō grandchildren visit the Tendokan one after the other and practice untiringly. There is an episode with one of them, that I deeply bear in my mind. It happened just in the beginning when I started to travel to Germany in the Deggendorf dōjō (located in Germany, a town in eastern Bavaria next to the Czechoslovakian and Austrian border). More then 10 children of the children’s group dressed in dogis were chorusing the official school song (from the ministry of education) ‘sakura, sakura’ and welcomed me. Now one of those children, who were present at that time, came to Japan and worked up a sweat during practice. He was six years then, and in the meantime has grown up to a nice young guy of 28 years. His size is now about 190 cm.

The good impression is not restricted only to him; it is rather valid for the behavior of my grandchildren at large. They are modest, respect their partner, and show great attention and good manners. There we are back to our subject again, by means of aikidō they learn the old Japanese values. From teacher to student and again to his student … I wish that this pulsing chain of passing on would never cease.

© translated by Birgit Lauenstein and Peter Nawrot 01/2004