110) Shin-Budo Kai Aikido- 25 years and counting: November 2013
In 1988, Shizuo Imaizumi Sensei returned from Japan to New York and the new Aikido organization of Shin-Budo Kai Aikido was born. The first seminar for the affiliate dojos was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico in October of 1988, hosted by the dojo-cho, Wade Ishimoto Sensei, of Albuquerque Shin-Budo Kai. In November of 1988, I joined a newly-minted dojo in Stamford, Connecticut, taught by Imaizumi Sensei. The 25th anniversary seminar was recently held (October 2013) in Albuquerque, and it was a wonderful get-together and training experience for all who attended. It was impressive to see the number of people who have been with Sensei since the beginning of Shin-Budo Kai Aikido (including Wade Ishimoto Sensei’s presence on the mats!).
I have been very fortunate to be a direct student of Imaizumi Sensei, who was himself, a direct student of the founder of Aikido. For 25 years, I have been taught by someone who continues to humbly share his own personal Aikido journey. He has been a profound model of how we can evolve our budo throughout the course of our lives. Neither he, nor his teachings have ever been stagnant. His changes emerge from an ever-deepening understanding of the core of our art. The sophistication and martial integrity of his applications are “hidden” in his teaching of kihon waza. Too many people want to believe that they understand the basics and want to learn the “advanced stuff”. I have grown to appreciate the true measure of a person’s ability is understood through that person’s foundations (kihon waza). I am constantly working on improving my posture, the nature of my movements, etc.. I look back to my first martial arts training in 1973 and forty years later and I am still gaining a deeper appreciation of the importance of truly working hard on developing a solid foundation in order to genuinely own my budo. I could say that there were many wasted years in not recognizing this, but part of the journey is the exploration into what leads to depths of true budo. This journey is what I try to share with my students so that they can develop their own personal paths.
I look forward to the next quarter century of training in, and teaching Shin-Budo Kai Aikido. Imaizumi Sensei once told me that his teaching was passing on the gift of knowledge. He explained that the knowledge that was past down to him was a genuine gift that would lose it’s value and meaning if he did not in turn, pass it down to the next generation of students. I hope that Shin-Budo Kai Aikido remains a valuable gift that is always past down to the next generation of students. This act of sharing/teaching serves as an importance legacy that is directly tied to O’Sensei himself. I hope we can all serve our role as stewards in this process in the years to come.
Marc Abrams Sensei