April 2015 meant another great and friendly gathering in High Wycombe Judo Centre for a day of training and celebrating traditions in the spirit of Iwama Aikido.
A result of growing friendship between Ray Gardiner Sensei and myself in combination with a wish to uphold Iwama Aikido traditions and, not least, by encouragement from Pat Hendricks Sensei, the Tai Sai seminars in High Wycombe have now been established as an annual event. The 2015 edition was the fifth since we started and it saw some 20 people from several dojos coming together. By now we are really happy to see that plenty of them have come to be regular participants, returning year after year. But there were also several new faces this year, which added to the atmosphere.
Since the very beginning we have emphasized that these are not primarily style and technique improvement seminars, but rather a day of coming together in great spirits to just train hard, meet old and new friends and simply have a great time. If we pick something up along the way, that’s great, but the friendship and celebration part is the main thing.
We always try and build the seminars around a technical or principal theme, the day usually consisting of two tai jutsu and two buki waza classes. This year, the tai jutsu focused on empty handed techniques progressing into tanto dori. The weapons part took the participants through the most recent versions of the seven ken tai jo and a mix of variations.
After a long day of training hard, we all followed Tai Sai tradition and finished off the day in the pub with a few well-earned drinks, summing up the day before everyone started their journeys back home.
Traditions are strong within Iwama Aikido and celebrating Tai Sai is definitely one of the strongest traditions. At the end of April every year a lot of people come to Iwama to commemo-rate the passing of O Sensei and take part in the ceremony at the Iwama Aiki Jinja. But even more so, the Tai Sai tradition is a way of recognizing the years and years of hard work and dedication that O Sensei put into his studies of the martial arts leading up to his development of Aikido. A dedication and commitment that has since been transferred to his students and in turn to their students. It is a day of recognizing all the hard work that generations of people have put into their search for perfection and effectiveness in the martial arts and their willingness to selflessly share it in order to preserve and develop traditional Aikido. This is the tradition that we want to uphold through our Tai Sai Friendship seminars each year in High Wycombe.
The dojo is already booked for April 2016. Me and Ray both sincerely hope to see you all there for Tai Sai celebration next year. Old friends and new together in the spirit of Iwama Aikido.
In Takemusu Aiki – M