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Summer Course in Wales with Inaba Sensei: 19 - 26 August 2006

This was a major course for Tetushinkan and invited guests.

From the Shiseikan we had:
• Inaba sensei (8th dan)
• Endo San (6th dan)
• Okada San (6th dan)
• Udagawa San (6th dan)
• Nishitani San (6th dan)
• Mori San (Shinto priest from Meji Jingu shrine)

From Europe we had a variety of people from Norway, Germany, France, Greece and Spain, including the following teachers:
• Bjorn Eirik Olsen (6th dan), Norway
• Joel Roche (6th dan), France
• Pascal Durchon (5th dan), France
• Anita Kohler (4th dan), Germany

In total 65 people took part in the course. Taking place in Wales, near Cardigan, the course included activities such as canoeing and horse-riding, enjoying some of the local sites and country side, and plenty of cream teas!

Background to the 2006 Course
By Paul Smith

In 1992 Inaba Sensei selected about 10 Aikido practitioners from Europe and the USA to attend a course in Japan. The participants were selected with the advice of Sekiya Sensei, by then an instructor at The Shiseikan, who had travelled widely and perhaps knew more foreign practitioners than did Inaba Sensei at that time. Among those participating were Bjorn Eirik Olsen, Director of The Norwegian Aikido Federation, Elias Papathanasis, Head of Athens Dojo, and his wife, Aphrodite, myself and my partner, Sasha Roubicek.

The course took place over two weeks and was not restricted to The Dojo. We had a few days intensive training at The Shiseikan and were then taken to the beautiful countryside of Taneyamagahara in Iwate prefecture, stopping over night on the way at a traditional farm. We stayed on a camp site for 4 days with high school students and university students from Tokyo - many of them had not met westerners before and it was Inaba Sensei's intention to bring us all together to promote East/West understanding and appreciation. While on the camp we had talks from Onoda San, a veteran from the Pacific War, who had survived alone in the jungle for 30 years, refusing to surrender. We were also entertained with traditional Japanese drumming and dancing, were given rides in a hot air balloon and taken to a sento, a traditional Japanese bath house. On the return journey to Tokyo we stayed one night in a hot springs hotel and were treated to a relaxing dip in the spar and a delicious Korean banquet.

Whilst in Iwate we were taken to the Kenji Miyazawa Memorial Centre. Kenji Miyazawa, born 1896, was a geologist, poet, novelist and amateur astronomer, he set up a kind of inter-disciplinary centre in which artists and scientists came together, exchanging ideas and worked with the local community attempting to improve the lot of impoverished farmers. Kenji Miyazawa was also concerned about ecological issues believing that man needed to find a balance with the rest of nature. (It was the visit to this centre that inspired me, with the invaluable support of members of my dojo, to eventually set up moving
east - Inaba Sensei, accompanied by Endo San, led the ceremonial opening of movingeast in May 1999).

On returning to Tokyo we enjoyed a few more days of intensive practice, during which one of the American participants went a strange and rather alarming shade of green and nearly fell over!

Sasha and I returned home thoroughly inspired and decided, with no prior experience, to host a reciprocal course of a similar nature set in the Welsh countryside, where she had lived and where her mother still lived. So, in 1993, Inaba Sensei accepted our invitation and led a group of 50 participants in Budo Studies with a similar range of activities as those programmed for the course this year.

I think it is very clear to everyone who has had contact with Inaba Sensei that he does not see Budo as an activity limited to its practice in a dojo but a means by which to enrich, examine and inform the whole of our life. He also has a keen appreciation of nature and quite clearly fell in love with the countryside around Cilgeran. I wanted everyone to understand that the afternoon activities are not merely additional to the Budo course but an integral part of it. Cilgeran and the surrounding environs provide a rich historical, cultural and elemental setting within which to contextualise and enrich our Budo Studies. In the same spirit, within each of the 4 sites of accommodation, we have attempted to mix nationalities and dojos to create an opportunity for participants to get to know each other socially and to forge new friendships or to re-enforce old ones.

I hope this background and historical context will help you to understand the intention behind the course and will serve to enhance your enjoyment.



movingeast gratefully acknowledges
financial support from
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