It was my second time riding the Shinkansen, the “bullet
train,” so I was very excited. Sadly I slept through riding by Fuji-san. On the other hand I was looking forward to a
weekend filled with Aikido.
The demonstration, as always, was very interesting. It was
enlightening to see a variety of styles and approaches to Aikido, both to see
which ones were impressive and which didn’t suit my personal view of Aikido.
It was also nice to see Nanae-san again, who still didn’t
reply to my New Year’s email I sent her in January (I'm still waiting).
Of course Endo-sensei and the other Shihan were very impressive
in demonstrating their own styles, but it was also fun to see familiar faces like
Sobue-sensei and Sebastien, as well as Fujii-sensei. Andrew, Tanaka-san,
Saeki-san and I engaged in lively conversation about what we believe Aikido is
about in light of the All Japan Aikido Demonstration and Andrew and I received
many insights into the nuances of martial arts from our sempai.
Ultimately, the 50th All Japan Aikido
Demonstration marks the last one I will be attending in my high school time in
Japan. I thought I would be a lot more emotional, but I was rather content; the
Zen Nihon proved a fitting close to my time in Japan and I hope a suitable conclusion
to my service in the Seibukan Aikido Dojo.