Japan Bridge by Yukiko Naruoka

It was a wonderful and special experience for me to be able to attend the first Aikido bridge seminar held in Kumamoto, Japan.  I had been excited about this seminar for a year since the seminar was announced, because the previous Aikido bridge seminar I attended was a great experience, in the concept of the seminar, instructors, and attendees.  This time, I had a special feeling about this seminar, not only because Kumamoto is the town in which I used to live and met my husband, but also because of the idea that the bridge seminar was being ‘brought back’ to Japan. During the seminar, Ikeda-sensei gave a speech in which he said that the purpose of the bridge seminar is to provide the opportunity to Aikido practitioners to learn about and be exposed to different style of Aikido, and to develop and nurse future Aikido in the world.

Classes by Ikeda-sensei, Shimizu-sensei, and Sakabe-sensei were very inspiring and amazing.  The way of teaching and focuses were different, but I felt the similar spirits and philosophy among these sensei. Also I learned many new techniques and movements form Ayhan sensei from Turkey and Shimizu Kenta sensei, son of Shimizu Kenji sensei. Another great part of the seminar was to get to know other wonderful aikido practitioners who are friendly and fun, but also very serious and sincere in their pursuit of Aikido, I have been very motivated for Aikido again because of them.

As Sakabe sensei mentioned at the end of the seminar, this first Aikido bridge seminar was started under less than ideal conditions, such as the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor disasters and strong yen which made it difficult for people to travel to Japan. Nevertheless, just as other bridge seminars in the US, it was a well-organized seminar by all sensei and attendees, but especially Sakabe sensei and his students. I hope more Aikido practitioners in Japan and overseas get together again in the Japan Aikido bridge seminar in next time, and share this wonderful seminar together.






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