Ei Mei Kan - 2018
Milestones of Warwick Aikido
by Tom Tam - Sandan
One of my fondest memories of my time at Warwick Aikido was the Weapons Course where we hosted Chiba Sensei in 2008.
The three-day event was only possible through years of cultivating a real dojo culture, beyond just a university sports club. It was during that weekend that Chiba Sensei recognised our small dojo's role as a springboard for many students on their Aikido path and gave us the name Gen Sen Jyuku ("gen sen" meaning "essence of a spring"). I'm proud to say that I was President at this time when Warwick Aikido received what was perhaps its highest honour.
For many of us, that was also a highlight of our Aikido journeys as we got to meet Chiba Sensei for the first time and see for ourselves the root of our teacher Mooney Sensei's Aikido and the principles behind his teaching. After hearing so many stories of Chiba Sensei, it was hard to know what to expect, and I still remember the first words I ever heard him say. As he was led into the venue for the first day, we had to explain and apologise that there were no mats available that evening. Sensei simply replied, "That's okay, I'm not taking ukemi!". To this day, I'm still not sure if he was joking or not...
It took a large team of people to organise the seminar, including myself and the rest of the Exec, senior members of the club and Ei Mei Kan. Despite all the stress, running around and near disasters with the mats behind the scenes, everyone involved pulled together to make the weekend a huge success.
The precursor to that highlight in Warwick Aikido history was another milestone in itself that occurred earlier that year: the 20th Anniversary Course. I was fortunate again to be involved in organising what I still remember to be one of the most enjoyable Aikido seminars I have ever attended. The course was far more ambitious than anything the club had done to date as we invited teachers from around the country and Europe and had record numbers of participants (it was a good year to be Treasurer!).
Seminars like these don't happen without the help of many people. And a club like this doesn't continue without the tireless efforts of dedicated members taking responsibility year after year, not to mention the commitment and guidance of the teachers. Warwick Aikido has given me many great memories over the years, but these two seminars I think sum up my experience fairly well. It's all about the community.
Ten years on, I'm happy to see the community is still going strong as we prepare to celebrate the 30th anniversary. It's an honour to be invited back, this time as a teacher, and I look forward to sharing our practice together. Hopefully, we’ll meet again to celebrate in another ten years.
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