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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 first noticed Yamada Shihan during Doshu's class where he was practicing with someone very "intently". I said to myself I feel bad for whomever that was, It was a member of my Dojo!! lol!! I got some good pictures of that also!
Masuda Shihan, provided excellent instruction and also showed great timing in Aikido and comedy!! Masuda Shihan has developed a great relationship with Hawaii, having done several seminars all over the islands. Chris Li looked like he was having a great time and an did a great job translating for Masuda Shihan.
The senior Hawaii instructors taught at the end on Saturday and Sunday. I really enjoyed the diverse styles each of the instructors showed during each session. John Stevens Shihan talked about the different types of shihinage, Francis Takahashi Shihan spoke about the silver bridge and our roles in Aikido, Gayne Sogi Sensei showed his iriminage style, Donald Moriyama Shihan focused on being more effective, Robert Kubo Shihan demonstrated his powerful technique, Clyde Takeguchi Shihan gave his different types of kokyu nage, and Randy Scoville sensei gave his ideas about "Aloha" and "Aikido" and how they are similar. This was pretty amazing!
The demonstration on Monday morning was also amazing. It was great see the diversity of Aikido in the different instructors at embu. This was an amazing event to witness, there were 20 7th dan, around 40 6th dan, not to mention Doshu and Waka sensei! I wonder how the nearly 500 people on the mat felt about being there. I felt an overwhelming sense of harmony and purpose during the seminar. I honestly feel a responsibility to keep practicing and integrate Aikido more in my life. I hope others feel the same.