Kumamoto Bridge 2012 by Yukiko Narioka

Since it was my second time to attend the Aikido Bridge in Japan, I was very excited to have more fantastic classes with Ikeda-sensei, Shimizu-sensei and Sakabe-sensei as well as to meet people I trained with last time.  I also was involved in part of the operation of the seminar this time, so I could see how hard Sakabe-sensei and his students had been working to make this seminar happen and run smoothly. They were very friendly and warm and treated me as if I was family. I would like to deeply thank everyone in Sakabe-sensei’s group for that.

During the seminar the mat was full of energy and I learned lots of new ideas from each sensei (and other participants) just like last time, even though the number of attendees seemed to be fewer than last year.  In Ikeda-sensei’s class, I think he emphasized how important it is to “change yourself” to develop your Aikido further, along with teaching us how to control our body movement by ‘imagining it with your brain’.  One example of the body movement practices was to align your center with uke and release energy towards uke’s tailbone through that line.  In Sakabe-sensei’s class, I remember him repeatedly telling us that the connection point with uke is important. I felt he transformed a subtle body movement into a dynamic movement, breaking uke’s balance. In Shimizu-sensei’s class, he taught us dynamic and very effective body movements using basic Aikido techniques. His stories of being O-sensei’s uchi-deshi were very interesting and inspiring.  His son, Shimizu Kenta sensei, also gave a class which was very helpful to understand the aikido movements of Tendo-ryu.  I also deeply respected his attitude in the seminar, teaching each of us enthusiastically and training hard in other sensei’s classes just as one of us.  Jim-sensei and Ayhan-sensei also gave a class in the seminar. Jim-sensei demonstrated how we can learn aikido through sword movements with very descriptive explanations.  Ayhan-sensei introduced breathing exercises and dynamic body flow exercises which were all new to me and very interesting.  I learned various things from other participants too, and got lots of energy and motivation to further pursue my Aikido.

During the seminar, we went out to Kumamoto’s downtown every night.  It somewhat brought me back to good memories of training in college. Everyone, including people who attended the seminar for the first time, were all friendly and fun but sincere in their Aikido.  We shared really good times even after the training, transcending nationality, age, background, etc… I thought this was one way to certainly build a ‘bridge’ between us for the future good of Aikido.

I hope the concept of these Aikido bridge seminars becomes known to more practitioners, and that this connection spreads through the world of aikido regardless of organizations.





成岡 由規子

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