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Revival of Budo

Kawaraban No. 49


by Kenji Shimizu

Best wishes for the New Year.

One of the big events this year will be the football world championship, which will eventually take place in Japan and Korea . Although the popularity of Japanese football is no longer as strong as it was before, the distance to the top world class teams cannot be felt so strongly anymore. Some time ago the former president of the Japanese Football Federation, Okada Takeshi, paid a visit to the Tendokan. The occasion was the book ‘Zen and Aikido’, written by the late professor Kamata Shigeo (professor emeritus at the university Tokyo ) and myself as co-author, which caught his eyes. In earnest posture without abandoning his kneeling position he attended the training for one hour. Mr. Okada, who was at that time  trainer of the Japanese team, said: “Regarding the technique Japan in no way ranks behind the foreign top class, but regarding the mind …”. I remember he wholeheartedly agreed, when I talked from my aikido experience about the mind controlling the body.

As long as you possess enough strength for walking you may take up aikido training, because the ki power plays a more important role than physical strength. By repeating the techniques, which are excecuted by natural and unstrained body movements, we cultivate the power of ki. Many other kinds of sports frequently refer to this idea. In aikido we have to sense our physical center, and have to keep this knowledge within our hearts. The movements are circular and develop into spherical shapes by plenty of training. With the feeling of  imbibing the partner the movement will be absorbed and continued. Circular movements result in acceleration, which creates space, and the effect of the technique will be reinforced. On the other hand in case of forced movements new resistance will emerge, and you cannot move any more.

Howeverowever as the training involves some rigors as well, it happens, that some people refrain from training due to age or workload. Yet as long as you do not try by yourself, you will not be able to really understand the benefits of training. In our modern competition oriented society effectivity is excessively appreciated, at the same time you tend to forget the true being of a human. I myself being a person teaching aikido, feel, that by training we might be able to recover our peace again. In traditional Japanese budo you can find excellent techniques and outstanding ideas. Therefore, I wish that more and more Japanese will follow this way. Also my new video ‘Tendo’ is basically committed to these ideas.

Now I have made use of the New Year for aikido promotion. Please, support the Tendokan this year again.

© translated by Birgit Lauenstein and Peter Nawrot 04/2005