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Remembering Foreign Seminars

Kawaraban No. 90


by the head of Tendokan, Kenji Shimizu Sensei

Already 35 years have passed since 1978, when I got an invitation to Germany, and since then I am travelling abroad teaching Aikido. Because climate, culture and customs are different in Japan and Germany, at those days it was difficult to travel, misunderstandings happened, and everything was quite difficult. But with the years passing difficulties and misunderstandings became less and less gradually. Today after 35 years the cultural exchange runs very well and smoothly. Because at those days I haven’t been the compromising type of person, trouble was frequent. That was valid even more, because on top of that I was teaching Budo. And because in the beginning I was teaching in the same way as in Japan, it is quite possible that the seminar students were not able to understand me at that time.

Looking back to the past it might be possible that I not always behaved reasonably, but now I think I was right. People say that smart people act cleverly, but actually a smart person is protecting himself. We want sincerity. To be sincere we need courage. If we only think of self-protection, courage will not be developed. Courage is beneficial to human beings and for the truth, we have to get rid of the ego.

As Japan has lost the war, inside the hearts of the Japanese a large mental gap has developed. The spiritual control of the Japanese, which existed until the pre-war days, seems to be lost. People say that the reason is that in many developed countries with a culture, which only aims at technological development, there is a tendency to neglect the individual. Unlike humans animals have received by the deities the ability to control their instinct. Humans have to develop at all costs the ability of control by education and training.

Humans possess the ability for intellectual training, for ethical education and for physical training. There are sports and Budo arts to train in the first place the body, which is the container for all those things. We want to mention here especially the Budo arts. Of course we want to strengthen muscles and bones with an adequate training, but spiritual training is most important. We want to develop strength to become able to overcome strains and to decide calmly and without errors in critical situations. Humans should not be less able than animals to control themselves.

© translated by Ichiro Murata and Dr. Peter Nawrot, 08/2014