On this last Thursday, 3/21 we celebrated the 10 year anniversary of my teacher and good friend’s dojo, Kyoto Aikido Mugenjuku. It was an amazing experience to travel back to Kyoto and see all of my Aikido friends from all over the world. It was also a particularly proud moment for me as one of the first instructors at the Kyoto dojo. I remember the days at the dojo when there were just two or three people per class. The number of members has now grown to over 200 in Kyoto and in addition there is my dojo in Tokyo as well as other Mugenjuku Dojos through-out western Japan, the United States and Canada.
Thanks to everyone who, one made it happen and two attending. It was truly a special day that I’ll never forget.
Last week we participated in our first Junior Aikido World Championship. First off, it was really quite amazing to see the size of the event. Not only were there many participants from all over Japan, several participants from multiple countries were also participating in the event. It truly was a world championship.
As I said, this was our first year participating in the championship so even though we didn’t produce any champions this year we walked away with invaluable experience whose positive effects will be felt by our students and staff from a long time to come.
I had the opportunity to judge a part of the competition. This experience was extremely valuable as it has given me multiple insights into how the competition is run and judged. It will make me a much more effective instructor in terms of preparing our kids for their next competition. It also made me realize how difficult it is t judge a competition of this type as the level of all of the participants was quite high. Often times there was no clear winner in a specific round.
For the students, participation in the championship has given them a goal to train for. We’ve seen the level of all of our students improve leading up to the event and I was proud to see that our kids class students were competitive.
We’re looking forward to next year’s championship!
We held our second annual new year training which is normally called Kagami Biraki. However since we didn’t actually plan to do any of the traditional ceremonies associated with Kagami Biraki, we decided to call it Shinnenkai, or New Year Training.
Typically New Year training at Aikido dojos is characterized by really hard training with seemingly endless hajime keiko. However this year as I wanted the kids members and the Adult Class members to train together, I decided on something a little different. I think one of the most important aspects of a student’s development in Aikido is to teach what he / she knows to his / her juniors. So we paired each kid off with an adult student and worked on a various number of exercises and techniques. It was great to see the care that each adult class member showed for the child they were paired with as they patiently helped teach the steps of the technique.
After we finished training, we all sat down together to each some of the now famous Aikido Mugenjuku Tokyo original mochi made by our very own Mochi Master, Shota Sugawara.
Finally, we finished the day with a much needed deep cleaning of the entire dojo.