In Celebration of Takeshi Kimeda Senseis 35th Anniversary as Head
Instructor of Aikido Yoshinkai Canada
by Chris Johnston
SEMINAR - June 1999:
At the end of June this year, after months of
planning and preparation, Aikido
Yoshinkai Canada (AYC) was finally ready to celebrate Kimeda Senseis
35th Anniversary in Canada. This auspicious occasion was marked with a series of 8 clinics
spread over 5 days. Six of the clinics were open to all kyu and dan levels, one was
restricted to students 3rd kyu and up and one was reserved for black belts only. Also
included in the 5 day celebration was a grand public demonstration, and a variety of
social events such as an informal pizza party and a Japanese lunch at a local restaurant.
All of the functions surrounding this years celebrations were sold out well in
advance and were attended by a variety of local and international students and teachers.
Once again, Robert Mustard Sensei came in from Vancouver to attend and translate, David
Fryberger came from New York, Nick Mills dojo from Mississauga was well represented
as were Yoshinkan dojo from as far away as San Francisco and Philadelphia.
Our special guest again this year was Aikido Yoshinkai World Headquarters Chief
Instructor, Chida Shihan, who traveled all the way from Japan to be with us. Chida Shihan,
of course, was our guest last year in a series of similar clinics held at AYC.
This year, while many of his clinics may have
seemed similar on the surface, there was a certain depth that came across that was
probably due to the relaxed atmosphere, which pervaded each of Chida Shihans
classes. In fact, this was one of the most enjoyable things about this years
clinics: both during his classes and afterwards, Chida Shihan seemed to be quite at ease.
He was almost always accessible, always approachable, whether it was to answer questions
or just share time.
Also, and Im not sure whether to attribute this to the relaxed atmosphere, or an
improvement in our attention span as students, but it seemed that Chida Shihan was able to
clearly communicate specific technical details regarding the techniques and how to make
them work. Each of his classes were extremely clear and to the point. "This is what
were going to do. This is how you do it exactly. Now try it out!" And,
not surprisingly, I could see that many students were actually able to "get it".
Overall, the underlying lessons that Chida Shihan focused on throughout the 5 days
included the importance of making big movements, of maintaining a strong center, of
executing proper uke, and of circling around ukes power when acting as shite. In
each instance, Chida Shihan gave clear demonstrations of his point and then led us through
specific drills designed to enhance the likelihood that we might come to "feel"
just what he was talking about.
On Saturday afternoon, a public demonstration was held at Ryerson Polytechnic University.
The event was opened by a moving performance by the Japanese drumming group, Yakudo, who
set the mood for the dramatic demonstrations to follow.
Next, after welcoming comments, Kimeda Sensei
was presented with a special gift on behalf of the students of AYC. In recognition of his
tireless efforts introducing and spreading the art of Aikido here in Canada, Mr. Sid
Ikeda, President of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Center, presented Kimeda Sensei with a
commemorative letter marking his induction into the Cranes National Tribute. The Cranes
National Tribute is a powerful work of art permanently housed at the Japanese Canadian
Cultural Center. It incorporates dedications to 2,000 people and organizations and is a
celebration of the Japanese Canadian community at the millennium.
The demonstration itself, along with Kimeda Sensei and Chida Shihan, included the
areas top instructors from the arts of Karate-do, Judo, Iaido, and Jodo. Over a
two-hour period, the more than 500 spectators were treated to a superb display of Japanese
martial arts. To close the afternoon, Chida Shihan gave a brief but dynamic free style
demonstration and then Kimeda Sensei gave a broad ranging demonstration of basic
principles, weapons techniques and free style. Needless to say, the packed auditorium did
not leave without a lasting impression!
It should be noted that an event such as this
does not happen by accident. A great number of people volunteer a great deal of work and
they should all be commended for their contributions. While it is impossible to name
everyone, the Board of Directors would like to thank you all for your dedication. You
should know that Kimeda Sensei deeply appreciates your efforts.
Finally, dont forget that a professionally edited video of the clinics is now
available!!! There are 2 tapes in the package and they cover all of Chida Shihans
teachings over the five days as well as the complete demonstrations of both Chida Shihan
and Kimeda Sensei. Each of the techniques taught by Chida Shihan is clearly demonstrated
and easily visible. Both tapes in the set serve as wonderful mementos of Kimeda
Senseis 35th Anniversary, and have the added bonus of being extremely insightful
To see more photographs of this special seminar,
please view the Aikido
Yoshinkai Canada web page section!
Chris Johnston, Aikido Yoshinkai Canada.
Permission to display the photographs and this
article given by Aikido Yoshinkai Canada.
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