1.0 Aikido Without Borders.
Follow my diary as I go into the Palestinian areas of Jib Village and Ramallah to teach Aikido with Miles Kessler and the Aikido Without Borders project:http://aikidokawithoutborders.blogspot.co.il/
I'm settling down nicely in Israel and the other evening, I spoke with Miles Kessler sensei about participation in Aikido Without Borders. The discussion was positive and we have a rough plan for going to give some lessons to the Palestinians. I'll be reporting about my visits to the Palestinian areas during the month. Keep coming back to the blog to stay updated on my impressions of this important project.
Aikido Without Borders is a non-profit organisation and depends solely on fund-raising and
donations for it to function effectively. If anybody knows a way of helping, they would do well to contact AWB for further discussions (email@example.com).
For more information about AWB, click here: http://www.aikidowithoutborders.org/
In addition, I received this post on facebook from Ido Kallir:
To all my Aikidoka friends aborad- Sensei and students. This is an amazing project, a life dream of Miles Kessler sensei. Share, join and pass around. if there is "A WAY", then this is the one. Lawrence Warry sensei is here for a month to help, maybe others will want?
2. The 50th All Japan Aikikai Embukai
On Saturday the 26th of May 2012, the 50th All Japan Aikikai Embukai took place. Again there was a large turn out as aikido practitioners from all over Japan and a few overseas guests filled the Nippon budokan for this yearly all day event.
Like every year, the embukai finishes with the demonstrations of Tada shihan, 9th dan Aikikai and Doshu Moriteru. This year, Tada shihan will become 83 years old but, on viewing his demonstration, one would never guess.
Here is some footage of the demonstration presented by Tada shihan at this year´s embukai:
3. Practicing with Yamashima Sensei in Tokyo
During the week of my visit to Japan at the end of May, there were many opportunities to train with Yamashima sensei. He was most mornings at the hombu dojo 06:30 - 07:30 class with Doshu and would invite us for breakfast either at the famous Pony cafe (where all the Aikido veterens go) or at a the Shinagawa prince hotel. Breakfast was always fun and enjoyable after a morning practice. In addition, the visiting delegation got the opportunity to visit Yamashima sensei's house on several occassions for some private practice in his small dojo. In addition to that, I had the further opportunity to join the Chyoda practice of Wednesday evening where the atmosphere is very budo-like (with karate being practiced on the mat next to the aikido). The party afterwards is, as usual in a cramped little izakaya under the railway line but always a fun occassion with good food and beer.
After Chiyoda practice party in the izakaya under the railway.
4.0 Six forms of ki and prayer from Shimamoto shihan's recent Seminar in Israel.
After flying back from Japan, I was just two days later attending the last session Shimamoto shihan's seminar in Israel at the Masatake dojo in Rehovot. I walked in the dojo after a long journey and some down moments to a cloud of happy faces. I was immediately uplifted and I felt the wonderful ki that had been generated by what must have been another amazing seminar with Shimamoto shihan.
During the lesson I attended, Shimamoto shihan talked about ki and, in particular, how he sees ki energy like a prayer. As an ordained Zen buddhist priest, it is no wonder that, within his aikido, Shimamoto shihan adds elements of zen. In this case, it was about the link between ki and prayer. The "six levels" of prayer, as he put it, were order as follows:
First: Prayer to your God.
Second: Prayer to Parents and ancestors.
Three: Prayer to Teachers and piers.
Four: Prayer to friends and community.
Five: Prayer to materials (food, the sun, material objects in general).
Six: Prayer to your own soul.
It is in this method that Shimamoto sensei showed how his movement was embodied in the ki and, from this one understood that the six "prayers" are common to all spiritual movements and are underlying principles of spirituality in general. Shihan went on to name the movement he made as a prayer throw (inori nage).
Shimamoto Shihan demonstrating in front of his Calligraphy.