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The Seminar in France

Kawaraban No. 74


by the head of Tendokan, Kenji Shimizu

As scheduled this year’s foreign spring seminars started with a one-week stay in France. Early we received from the local French representative Pascal Olivier (43 years old, about 30 years of Aikido experience) the message that all preparations are in good order, and that everybody is looking forward to the first French Tendoryu seminar with enthusiasm. Pascal is someone, who devoted his whole life to Aikido, and he is a personality with a clear heart. Besides his humbleness he as well is quite stubborn, and he is the kind of character, who does not give in even a millimeter, if he is not really convinced. From the beginning Pascal had finished already all issues as date and time of the seminar, and actually also the selection of seminar location, PR etc.

Then, however, unexpected circumstances occurred. Unfortunately at the same time there were mayoral elections of the whole nation, and the large gym, where the seminar should take place, was to become a polling place. It is quite clear that in other countries and in Japan as well reservations for public events have priority. But Pascal did not want to accept a cancellation. Over and over again he moved his feet to the present mayor and finally got the permission to use the gym. As Pascal had already informed the agenda of the seminar to many students several months ago, he also was in a situation, from which he wasn’t able to retreat, and his obstinacy, his pure motivation, and his strength might have moved the mayor’s heart.

More than 100 students attended this seminar, which had to climb over such barriers, and the seminar could obtain a great success.

From the beginning France was a country, where Budo was highly valuated, and also today a very large Budo population exists. This way the Japanese Budo is already extensively known all over the world, and we Japanese want to persist to contribute that the spiritual values, which have been transmitted from the past, will not be forgotten.

Independent of nationality and school many Aikidoka pass over state borders practicing intensively with pleasure, and each person possesses good manners and morals. I got the feeling that everybody was satisfied about this tendency to Japanese behavior. And I do think, that Pascal, who organized the seminar, was exceedingly satisfied.

Thinking about Pascal’s behavior I believe that it is courage, which cheers up the heart. We could say that people should not show a lack of courage. The pillars, which become the support of the face of the spirit of Budo, are “chi – jin – yuu (eichi – wisdom, jihi – compassion, yuuki – courage)”.

© translated by Ichiro Murata and Peter Nawrot 06/2008