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Tendokan News No. 53

Shimzu sensei’s seminars abroad 2003 (schedule)

02.26. – 03.17.2003 = Belgium, Germany (Hennef, Berlin, etc.)

The celebration of the 25 years` anniversary of Shimizu sensei’s seminars in Germany and the celebration of the 10 years` anniversary of the German Tendōryu Association (tad) is scheduled to take place in Berlin.

06.22. – 07.05.2003 = Germany (Herzogenhorn)

07.08. – 07.12.2003 = Yugoslavia

In addition we received requests from Russia/Wladiwostok and Hungary.

Winter seminar 2003 (kangeiko Heisei 15)

The winter seminar took place every morning for 7 days from 06.30am to 07.15am between January 13th (Mo) and January 19th (Su). Although this winter`s temperatures were lower than usual 73 participants followed the slogan „The winter seminar is the mental preparation for the whole year“, and 31 participants attended all classes.

Foreign students, who visit the Tendōkan

From Tendōryu Germany the three gentlemen Olaf Müller (44 years, civil servant of public water works), Michael Wefers (37 years, employee of German Telecom), Dieter Benders (47 years, BMW designer) will come to participate in the celebration party and in the kagamibiraki party. Including practice they will stay in Japan for 1-2 weeks.

The two young ladies Kacha and Mascha (both 16 years old), who demonstrated a newly created dance at the opening party of the first seminar in Russia/Wladiwostok in November last year as a welcome greeting to Shimizu sensei and Kenta, will visit Japan.

They were invited to the celebration/kagamibiraki party in return for the visit in Russia. During the ceremony they will once more demonstrate the ‚crane dance’ with integrated aikidō movements. Shimizu sensei, who watched this dance in Russia, has been extremely impressed by their creativity.

Shimizu sensei’s first seminar in Russia

In this newsletter we want to inform you all about the results of Shimizu sensei’s seminar in Russia/Wladiwostok. In the following we will summarize, what Shimizu sensei reported. He was delighted about the grandiose welcome, which was far beyond his expectations.

Shimizu sensei and Kenta went to Russia/Wladiwostok for one week from November 7th to November 14th. They were invited by the joint cooperation of three organizations, the Association for the Friendship between Japan and Wladiwostok, the all Russian Aikidō Federation, and the Japanese consulate general in Wladiwostok.

For 12 years they had the intention to invite Shimzu sensei. By reports from people, who watched his seminars in Europe once before, by books and videos he already was a legendary man over there.

Shimizu sensei’s visit was announced on television, newspapers, magazines and in the radio, and during the visit he gave interviews to television and newspapers.

100 aikidōka and more than 1000 visitors attended the opening ceremony for the Tendōryu-Aikidō seminar. The hoisting of the flags of both countries and the national anthems were followed by greetings of five representatives of the involved associations. Thereafter Shimizu sensei stated that he would be happy, if his aikidō would contribute to the promotion of international culture exchange between Russia and Japan. And he received enthusiastic applause for his words. Then followed the presentation of a dance chorography of two students (16 years old), which included aikidō elements.

The ceremony lasted more than two hours and was crowned by the demonstration of Shimizu sensei. Kenta, who was traveling with him as his personal student, was his uke all the time. The demonstration platform was not laid out with tatami but with mats covered with a vinyl cover (same equipment as for amateur wrestling). Therefore the ground had the disadvantage of being very soft and slippery. In spite of that, nage and uke could melt into one unity, and the viewers applauded enthusiastically about the natural and dynamic circular movements, that are so typical for Tendōryu-Aikidō. The excellent movements of Kenta attracted attention as well. He reacted as uke on the powerful techniques of Shimizu sensei, at times making use of all his body with extreme efforts. He became the topic of conversation. After the demonstration people queued in a long line to get an autograph, and also Kenta complied with these wishes.

The seminar lasted three days from November 8th to November 11th 2002. Every day more than 100 aikidōka participated in the classes. As I had expected their aikidō style was rather different to Tendōryu, but there were no basic difficulties, and the seminar was a success. Besides Kenta was asked to take over the training of the youth.

Only when Shimizu sensei attended the grading tests he directly warned the vice president of the Russian Aikidō Federation, who held the examinations, because there was too much emphasis on body strength. Schuriga, the present president of the Association for the Friendship of both countries, was full with admiration about Shimizu sensei’s attitude, who clearly indicated all good and bad points. The person in charge also promised to improve the grading regulations.

We will now report somewhat about the local conditions. Shimizu sensei was accommodated in a first class Korean hotel (Hyundai Hotel), and he was lacking nothing. Each day he daily met for lunch with the Russian management staff or with staff from the Japanese general consulate. All dishes tasted extremely delicious, especially the rich fresh seafood. And the taste of vodka was totally different in its country of origin.

To speak about the Russians, they are quite simple, honest and polite people. They completely differ from the image we have had from the former Soviet Union (they say, this image might have made up by the West). It is a great advantage to be able to revise this perception. Additionally the Russian side is urgently requesting close cooperation in the PR sector with its neighboring country (the nearest Japanese airport is located in Niigata and can be reached within less than two hours).

At last we want to add something to the expansion of Tendōryu-Aikidō in Russia. They say there are presently about 50,000 Russian aikidōka all together. The vice president of the Russian Aikidō Federation, on whose request Shimizu sensei held the seminar, enquired about the possibility to practice Tendōryu-Aikidō. Of course there is the urgent request to Shimizu sensei to visit Russia for seminars on a regular basis. That is a future issue, but certainly there is a large hidden potential. It already has been proposed to publish a Russian edition of ‚Zen and Aikidō’.

Now, after our return we received a letter from Takamatsu Akira, the consul general of the Japanese general consulate in Wladiwostok, which reads as follows: „Up to now we did not imagine, that Russian people have such a great interest in aikidō, and I think, we should continue the cultural exchange in future in whatever form possible.“

© translated by Birgit Lauenstein and Peter Nawrot 04/2003