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Cheryl Matrasko
James Loeser
Matthew O'Connor


Cheryl Matrasko
James Loeser
Matthew O'Connor



In Celebration of Takeshi Kimeda Sensei’s 35th Anniversary as Head
Instructor of Aikido Yoshinkai Canada

by Chris Johnston

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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 Sensei’s 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.

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All of the functions surrounding this year’s 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.

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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 Shihan’s 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 I’m 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 we’re 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". No mystery.

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 uke’s 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.

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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 area’s 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, don’t 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 Shihan’s 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 Sensei’s 35th Anniversary, and have the added bonus of being extremely insightful learning resources.

To see more photographs of this special seminar, please view the Aikido Yoshinkai Canada web page section!

Submitted by:
Chris Johnston, Aikido Yoshinkai Canada.

Permission to display the photographs and this article given by Aikido Yoshinkai Canada.

Literary materials, film clips, and pictures are
copyrighted by their respected authors and owners.
Permission in writing must be made for any
duplication, display, or reprint.


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Michio Hikitsuchi 10th Dan 1978
(C. Matrasko as uke)
1978 C. Matrasko

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