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I have been practicing Aikido for about 7 Years (Not counting the 1 1/2 during my teens) and try to read about Budo as much as I can. This term "Giri" is one that fascinates me. Giri meaning "Obligation", "Duty" or "Debt" is something I am not sure that most beginners know about or think about. I think in this culture and society where information and gratitude are now instantaneous, acknowledgement and being thankful are two ideas that may be becoming scarce in the next generation.
Being in the dojo has made me realize that for every hour I practice my sensei is there investing her hour also in me. That is not counting the hours she has put in learning this technique or the hours her teacher invested in her. On a grander scale this single technique has hundreds or thousands of hours through generations of people invested in it. A living moving antique passed down through generations. Being aware of this idea made me realize the value of my continued participation in Aikido. I owe a debt to my Sensei for investing in me in many different ways and the only way I can repay her is to continue investing my life in Aikido to help pass it on. I often wonder if beginners understood what Giri meant ( I am not sure myself this is just my interpretation!!) would that make them more dedicated or scare them away!!
This pondering on Giri has changed my ideas about life in general. I think about my son who was just born, will he understand the investment and obligation we put
Koichi Tohei 10 Dan, founder of Shin Shin Toitsu Do Aikido passed away recently and I have felt the need to write something about him. I have been researching Aikido in Hawaii from a historical perspective and a great deal of credit does go to Koichi Tohei for being an ambassador in Aikido to the world.
I never met the man in person ( Although he did frequent my Grandfathers house when visiting Hilo, Hi). I found through his writings and hearing the stories from former students, his influence was emmense on the Aikido community. Upon his arrival in Hawaii in 1953, Koichi Tohei began his introduction of Aikido with his charismatic presence and command of this energy called "Ki". His demonstrations of Aikido in the community even brought in senior martial artists such as judoka Yukiso Yamamoto who were amazed at the ease in which he threw them.
During the 60's and 70's the Aikido community florished with large numbers of practicioners in dojos (as stated to me by a senior member, the childrens class held 100 kids at one point in Hilo!!). Then the split happened, Koichi Tohei left the Aikikai and created his own organization Ki no Kenkyukai.
Even today Koichi Tohei's influence is far reaching as the former students of his continue to pass on the teachings of this pioneer. One senior Hawaii Aikikai Aikido instructor told me that he continues to teach the four principles because Koichi Tohei got it right in explaining it easily to students.
It has been over 30 years since
It has been almost 2 months since the Aikido Celebration 2011 seminar, No one has written anything so I decided to write about it while it is still fresh in my head.
This particular seminar was the largest seminar I have ever attended and also my first experience practicing Aikido in Oahu. I arrived on Oahu on Friday afternoon but unfortunately, did not make the Waialae dojo dedication. Upon arriving at McKinley High School on Sat, we had arrived just in time for the photo. Looking at the bleachers with the several hundred people in Hakama and keiko gi's was an impressive sight to behold! This was my first experience seeing Doshu, Yamada sensei and Masuda sensei in person.
The seminar itself was a blast!!! Randy Scoville sensei did a great job announcing the instructors and announcing. I got to practice with people from all over the globe and made made some new friends in the process. Watching Doshu was a joy as he demonstrated techniques, he moved so effortless and smoothly transitioned as the techniques were ingrained into him from a lifetime a practice. Glen Yoshida sensei was a great interpreter during Doshu's seminar.
Waka sensei (Who was at our Dojo's 30th anniversary) was also graceful and powerful throughout his demonstration. As the future leader of the Aikido world, It was great to see he is a great teacher also. Yamada Shihan started his class with deep breathing, then proceeded to demonstrate his powerful style of Aikido. Funny side note,
I have been working on this project for about 2 months and been getting great support and references from all the aikidoka here. I was wondering i would like some feedback from everyone to help me here . is there enough interest on Aikido on the big island to warrant a possible book ? I am a novice at this and have no journalism skills just a digital recorder and a desire to find history . What would be great questions to ask the senior aikidoka here ? I have found some very interesting facts and stories from a lot of them and some great lost pictures too . Please some feedback would be much appreiciated. Thank you .
I am in the process of documenting and interviewing people for history of aikido on the big island ,does anyone have any good sources or possible people to interview here ? I know of Nonaka Sensei (hilo Ki Aikido club ), Yonemori Sensei ( seishikan aikido ) ,and Barbara and bob Klein sensei (My senseis at Aikido of hilo ) ,but anyone else would be great . anyone have references on books with info or pictures would be much appreciated .