April – June (Q2) 2012
The month of april is a very special month of Aikido Anniversaries (2nd of April: Doshu Aikido, Moriteru Ueshiba’s birthday, 21st of April: Shihan Fujita Masatake’s birthday, 26th of April: Anniversary of the passing away of O-Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba). Another anniversary (not so well known) also exists in the month of April which has the number 10 this year. That is, the anniversary of the EAAC (European Patent Office Aikido Club). In this issue, we look at the past, present and potential future of this club of European civil servants and their relation to the CABN. Also in this issue, some news about national certification of CABN teachers and a story of fascination about the legendary Samurai Game (TM) created by the genius of George Leonard. We finish this issue with one of Ernesto Sensei’s recommended cooking recipes and a Japanese word which is central to Aikido and central to a focussed and authentic practice, “Chuushin/??” (which literally means centre).
1. Celebrating 10 Years of Aikido at The European Patent Office
The EAAC (European Patent Office Aikikai Aikido Club) is not the only patent office Aikido club in the world. There exists at least one more (the JPO, Japanese Patent Office, Aikido club) and we have enjoyed a number of exchanges already (both JPO Aikido members coming to Europe and EPO Aikido members going to Japan) and Aikido is simply one of the perfect ways to balance a working day at the office. On the 25th of April this year, the EAAC will celebrate its 10th anniversary with special guests Ernesto Ladavas Sensei (our local 6th dan aikikai sensei) and Takeshi Yamashima Sensei (7th dan aikikai from Tokyo, Japan). During the summer, on the 24th of July, we will extend our celebration with the invitation of Ze’ev Erlich Sensei (5th dan aikikai from Israel). On celebrating, we reflect the paths the club has taken and the current state of how Aikido is enjoyed by members of the EAAC today, its connection to the Dutch organisation, the CABN, and we look at the possibilities of development for the club into the future.
The Past (The History): The EAAC was inaugurated under the Amicale Society (the social, cultural and sports organisation of the European Patent Office) in April 2002 by Mr. Franck Adkhis who sought the technical supervision of Peter Bacas Sensei (? 27/3/2006, 6th dan Aikikai), the former chairman of the CABN. Bacas Sensei was and still is a great inspiration to the club and we still display Bacas Sensei’s portrait at each of our lessons. Through Bacas Sensei, the EAAC had the privelage and Honour to receive direct instruction from a highly respected figure of the Hombu Dojo, Shihan Masake Fujita (8th dan Aikikai). We had many visits over the years from Fujita Shihan from our beginning until the point where Fujita Shihan could no longer travel to Europe for health reasons (Fujita Shihan’s last visit to Holland being in February 2008 for the CABN’s Lent School in Ameland). Later in 2008, the CABN received Yamashima sensei, 7th dan Aikikai and, again, the EAAC was honoured to receive a great sensei’s direct instruction. Including my person (as assistant instructor to Bacas Sensei) also there in the beginning was Arnaud Rilliard who helped to start up the club and was the club’s first chairman. Despite some changes in the wind, Arnaud has become an adept Aikidoka who doesn’t hesitate to help out with assisting at the club as a guest teacher and continues to maintain friendly links with the club. A number of patent office staff passed through the membership and guest teaching of the EAAC since the beginnning and, quite clearly, not all were going to stay. However, each individual who has at some point been a member of the club regardless of the period of membership, has contributed in some way to enriching the club, thereby making it a success. The EPO success story would not be complete, however, without the mentioning of the long-time service and immense contribution of 82 years old K.F. Leisinger sensei who, since the beginning, year in, year out, up to last year, was driving 3 hours from Germany to Holland and 3 hours back, teaching at the EPO twice per month in addition to teaching at 4 or 5 other clubs in the region. Currently, Leisinger sensei is recovering from heart surgery that took place earlier this year though, when he spoke on the phone recently, he was in high spirits and sounded chirpy and happy.
The Present (The Gift): The EAAC is a modestly sized club of about 25 adult aikido members, 11 child members (plus 40 EPO staff who have registered to enjoy the Friday morning Aiki-Stretch & Move classes). The class schedule runs every day from Tuesday to Friday (Tuesady mornings 07:30 – 09:00, Wednesday lunch times 12:15 -13:30, Thursday mornings 07:30 – 09:00, Thursday afternoons kids class 17:00 – 18:00, Friday mornings Aiki-Stretch & Move classes 08:00 -09:00, and Friday lunch times bokken and jo class 12:00 – 13:00). We give thanks for our links the club has made to the Aikido world both in the Netherlands and internationally and the pleasure we take in the many opportunities to practice at one’s working place during the working week. We are truly privelaged to have such a possibility of practicing our hobby at our work place to such a level of intensity. The EAAC’s 10th anniversary this month marks, above all, a celebration of all the friendships made in the past 10 years.
The Future (The Mystery): The future lies in: 1. The children of our club (who are children of EPO office staff) many of whom may well grow out of Aikido and pursue other interests but some my grow into Aikido and become amazing Aikido ambassadors; 2. The new members. They are not just the new blood of the club. They are also the inspiration. They teach the experienced ones how to be beginners again. They are going to be fresh with ideas and will bring a new voice to the club; 3. The friendships that have been made with other Aikido clubs and teachers locally and globally. Without friendship, Aikido cannot be exchanged from heart to heart. So, we hope that our future is bright and our existing friendships bloom (I think of friendships made between office staff but also friendships made externally, Dutch friends, friends from France, England, Germany, Israel, friends from Japan, friends from America, Australia and New Zealand, Hawaii, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. Yes, we have been making a lot of friends in the past 10 years!) and we are looking forward to new friendships being created. Recently, in 2011, a new patent office Aikido club was formed in the EPO Muich branch. Some members of the Munich branch Aikido club will be joining our 10th anniversary celebrations and we look forward to sharing ideas about future exchanges and joint projects between The Hague and Munich sites. Although the future is “the mystery”, the gift of the present lies in the many possibilities in which the EAAC can grow and develop. We’ll let you know how it went in 10 years time!
2. CABN Instructors On The Way to National Instructor Accreditation. This year has been a busy time for the CABN instructors and assistant instructors who have brought themselves forward for national accreditation. A number of weekend courses have taken place to prepare these people for their exams. On the 15th of April, the Aikido Teacher Level 4 exam will take place and on the 2nd of June, the Aikido Teacher Level 3 exam will take place. We wish these teachers much success for their exams.
3. The Culture in “Cultural Aikido Bond Nederland” by Ernesto Ladavas Sensei, 6th dan Aikikai
During the first weeks of 2012 I made a trip to Tokyo. I had three main reasons
for this trip. First to visit my fiancé Laila san who, for two months, I had not seen. Second, to visit the Hombu dojo for the opening of a new aikido year. Finally, to visit the wife of Fujita sensei, Shoko san.
Among the precious time I could spend with Laila and the hours of walking shop after shop and subway station to subway station, we found time to go and visit the Hombu dojo. In the
morning of 6 January, Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba gave his first lesson of the year. Waka sensei gave a short New Year’s speech, “Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu” or happy new year. Many of the Hombu shihan were present and sat at the kamiza side of the dojo on the second floor. The rest of the mat was covered with more than 100 aikidokas of all ages and degrees. The doshu was surprised to see me and looked at me during the warming up. I was surprised that he made eye contact with me while so many aikidoka’s were present. It gave a warm feeling and sense of pride. After the training we presented the gifts of the CABN over to the doshu, waka sensei and the Hombu Hombu Shihan and other staff. The 12 pounds load of gifts was clearly a burden. Due to all the gifts I could
only pack my keiko-gi, hakama, a few socks and my toothbrush. Luckily I had some spare clothes at Laila’s from the previous trip to Japan. Two days later, on January 8, the Kagami Biraki in the Hombu dojo took place. This is the formal opening ceremony of the Aikido year. After two and a half hours waiting in line for the parking lot of the Hombu we could
enter the building at half past one and sit in the front row, just behind the four future eighth dans. I sat behind Shibata Sensei. The ceremony began at one o’clock with a speech by Doshu followed by speeches by important representatives of the municipality Tokyo.
The Doshu gave a nice demonstration with Waka sensei and Suzuki san as uke. This was followed by a formal graduation ceremony for eight people. Normally, a first grade shodan followed by a nidan. This continues until one shichidan followed by four individual graduations for hachidan. At the end of the ceremony I looked at my watch and saw that the half hour was past three. I had been sitting two hours in Seiza. I got the impression that I was one of the few who had done this. Almost everyone sat with their rear end on the ground. I represented the CABN that day. The C stands for Cultural and I had ensured that this Culture point is absolutely respected. I hope that next year more CABN members will join this practice to sit down in Seiza for two hours. In itself, getting up after two hours sitting in Seiza was a terrible but also stimulating experience. I walked to the back of the dojo, where the list was hung from the grid displaying the PhD aikidokas. On the list were the names of familiar faces like John Goverts and Peter Lagerwaard, Rokudan, and, promoted to godan were Marcel Reijers and Ze’ev from Israel Many long and low tables were brought in and all sat down for more speeches and formal toast, “and o’mochi o’sake: Kampai”.
Next year I plan to attend the Kagami Biraki. I hope that many join me. January 5th, we visited Fujita sensei. Shoko san had prepared a delicious lunch for us. She looked very good. Fujita sensei had a healthy color. He understood our conversation and showed signs of understanding. I asked him “sensei, wakarimasuka?.He replied with a “Huum” and nodded his head. It was very difficult for me at this point to control my feelings. During lunch we gave a report of the main events of the CABN in the past year and her senior teachers.
Fujita san advised me to write this article, which for me is no simple task and to traditional Japanese way of thinking and living to explain. Tradition is very important and is essential to a cultural vitality. Culture is something that from ancient times has been passed to later generations. It is passed from father to son and from mother to daughter. Of old to young and especially to kohai sempai. The sempai-kohai relationship is the only way to a complex social environment to survive. It is the correct way to tradition and culture and
energized by it. Even where the kohai does not understand why something happens and may not agree with the sempai it is necessary for the kohai to accept and carry out with dedication. For us the capital C in the name of our association, CABN for Culture. As I mentioned earlier I said to culture, tradition and way of life together. As members of the CABN, created by Peter Bacas under the supervision of Sensei Masatake Fujita Sensei, we must honor these principles in keeping them and passing them on. Unfortunately, these two great sempai cannot actively support us. We must continue to our path and the cultural heritage passed on to new generations. They have our support and attention is needed in order to be able to develop. This development requires a structurally sound foundation and the sempai-kohai relationship is the basis of this.
4. One of Ernesto Sensei’s Famous Recipes.
As well as being a famous Italian sensei from Holland, not many people know the other secret talents of Ernesto sensei, one being his large repetoir of cooking recipes. Here is one such recipe courtesey of Ernesto Sensei. As they say in Dutch, Eet Smakelijk!
1 chicken. 4 onions. 1 clove of garlic.salt.pepper. 1 large carrot. 1 green and 1 red pepper. 2 teaspoons paprika. 1 pinch cayenne pepper. 4 large potatoes. 1 can sweetcorn. 4 spoons of oil. 4 small bananas.
i.Cut the chicken into 4 or 8 pieces or the chicken into cubes.
ii.Brown the pieces on all sides in oil.
iii.Then lower the heat and add the chopped onion and garlic added.
iv.Add the paprika and cayenne pepper and stir a few times around.
v.Add the thinly sliced ??peppers, sliced ??potatoes andthe sliced ??carrot with some salt and a dash of hot water.
vi.Cover the pan and cook all together gently and continuously.
vii.Then add the corn cobs and cook to warm through.
viii.Peel the bananas and fry on both sides in butter until lightly brown.
ix.Serve the stew in a warm dish and lay the banana on top.
5. Japanese Word Chuushin/??
Chuushin literally means “Center”. Depending on the context, the word can have various deviations of meaning. Chuushin can mean, for example, balance, core, emphasis, heart, innermost feelings, and pivot (to name but a few). Chuushin can also be used to describe the act of focussing or giving something importance.
In Aikido, the term Chushin-ryoku (??? ch?shin-ryoku) means “center of power” whereas Chushin-sen (??? ch?shin-sen) means “center line”, often used in the context of the centre line of the body when cutting with the bokken or sword. The same centre line is necessary for the correct alignment of the hand as an extension of the body’s power in avoiding excessive force of the shoulders in Aikido.
Just as it is important in Aikido to keep our centre line and center of power in our hanmi and movement, it is also important to keep our training central to our daily routine in order to develop a momentum of practise and habit. Through centralising and focusing one’s practise in this way, a person can develop their Aikido more as an art than as a recreation and the satisfaction of study becomes greater. Please practise Aikido in this central way and please become a great Aikidoka!
6. Announcements/Dates to look out for …
2nd of April: Birthday of Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba
15th of April: Aikido Teacher Level 4 exams, Holland.
21st of April: Birthday of Shihan Masatake Fujita
25th of April: EPO Aikikai Aikido Club Receives Ladavas Sensei and Yamashima Sensei (click here for facebook information page).
26th of April: Memorial of passing away of O-Sensei.
29th of April: Aiki Shrine Festival, Iwama, Japan
26th of May: 50th All Japan Aikikai Embukai.
2nd of June: Aikido Teacher Level 3 exams, Holland.
7th – 12th of July: CABN summer school with Mori Shihan, 6th dan Aikikai.
7.0 O-SENSEI QUOTE …