Skip navigation

Special Report "Spring Seminar 2005"

Kawaraban No. 62


by Kenta Shimizu

The following article is a summary of Kenta’s impressions. Together with Shimizu sensei he attended the European seminars last March.

Additional information can be found on the Tendokan homepage. Click on “off time” to read the reports published there.

- The Editors -

We all know, that there are no limits, if we manage to look far enough ahead. But still it is the same story every year. Again and again, when I have the opportunity to travel to Europe, I realize my own shortcomings. Of course, training is the main issue, but when staying in Europe for several weeksit is certainly not the only one. There is physical fitness, as well as matters of daily life, proper manners and much else to be considered. Really, there is quite an exhausting list! I want to understand my own position, whether I should be active or more reserved. From now onwards I want to react immediately according to the situation.

In Genk we were already for the second time. That meant I was already familiar with the general atmosphere of the town, as well as with the Belgian student’s level in aikido, which helped a lot. If you enter a dojo in a new area or in another country, you are always under some stress, until you get used to the local atmosphere. This time really everything went well. The only minor problem was that my father and I caught a cold.

On the fifth day of the dan training I overstretched my wrist. It happened during a practice of Sankyo. The position of my partner, who practiced the technique, was downright unstable. He was out of balance, probably also because I offered resistance. I underestimated the situation and thought that from such a position the technique would not work. The very next moment there was a creaky noise. It occurred to me that I might not have paid enough attention to my ki, but on the other hand the sheer physical strength of the Europeans and too much pride in my abilities as a trainer would have played a role as well. With this experience, I take away a very important lesson for myself from the workshop.

Within less than a week I realized that the pain in my wrist would not disappear any more during my stay in Europe. Thinking it all over again now, I do believe, that this matter sharpened my awareness for the rest of the training.

After about halftime in Berlin the journey started wearing me out. One reason for this was the presence of the television, which took pictures. On the one hand I was increasingly tired, but on the other hand the stress to put on a good performance, strained my body more and more. Actually I missedthe final part of the television recordings, and honestly speaking, I felt relieved. I suppose I should regret that I did not perform as well as I should have done, but considering the circumstances at the time I am happy to have finished the whole matter without mistakes.

However, when I once jokingly asked a German, whether he would like to take my place as uke, he answered, laughing, that the part of uke was my job. I still remember this quite well. And since the Germans were seeing me with such eyes, I would pull myself together again. Indeed I did not feel any physical tiredness during practice after the television recordings until the last stay in Hamburg any more. I had of course not wanted to get irritated in the first place, but the presence of the television just did have an initial impact on my mind and performance. As I am not yet such an expert, I am very thankful for these experiences.

Many of the long-standing students of the Tendoryu are outstanding characters also on a purely human and social level. Every single word during our conversations is important, and I feel their esprit. Many of them look back on a career of more than 20 years in aikido. They made aikido part of their life long before my birth. I feel seriously honored that I may train with them. They have decided to follow the way of aikido, and without commenting on their techniques they are simply outstanding human beings as they are facing me. I am only now beginning to feel the pressure as a result of their expectations, which they put into me. The reason is, that they love Tendoryu Aikido. Therefore I believe, that apart from the expectations there will also be demanding glances at me, which did not exist up to now. I do not know how long it will take, until I will be able to come up to these expectations, but I will work hard also further on.

© translated by Peter Nawrot 10/2005