I’m pleased to say that for Seibukan UK, 2013 has been a good year overall. There is always an ebb and flow in our club membership and class attendance, but overall we continue to grow both as a club, as an association , and in our individual Aikido development and practice. Our membership is hugely diverse, being made up with representation from more than 10 countries around the globe – a testament to Ueshiba Morihei and his ideal that Aikido should be for everyone . Our classes have been well attended over the year, practice has been intense and a joy to take part in. Our members, both adult and junior, have worked hard to improve their Aikido, and our instructors have worked hard to continue their own development whilst, continuing to provide thoughtful and challenging classes for everyone else. Nakao Sensei and Akiko san continue to be a huge inspiration, not only in their Aikido, but also in their outlook, generous attitude, and for taking the time to visit us for a third successive year. Thanks are also due to our other friends in the Aikido world that have taken time to come and share their Aikido with us over the last 12 months, from such places as Dudley, Brighton and Devon, and not least Mimuro Sensei and Cathy for once again stopping by on their annual trip from Japan. Aikido truly has been a good experience this year.
As for 2014, the reward from Aikido is different for each and every one of us, but the path to find it is the same. It’s not an easy path, although it is often all too easy to get in from work and sit down and think tonight I’ll give it a miss, it’s been a long day, I’m too tired, I don’t think I’m improving, I haven’t got time…. there are many easy excuses, the only place to challenge them is in the dojo, and that is the same for all of us whether you are 6th Kyu or 6th Dan. Whatever it is you are looking to find, there is no short cut. It will only be found through dedicated and continued practice, and maybe, just when you think you have found it, you will discover that there is actually a lot more behind it. The hardest part for us all, and perhaps the essence of Aikido, is the ability to keep driving ourselves forward to practice, for what hopefully will become many decades, regardless of the rewards we perceive. Our bodies may become older, injuries whilst infrequent may increase, and may take longer to heal, but remember, there is no requirement to do every technique at 80 miles an hour, you can slow down and continue to practice this wonderful art at your pace. At Seibukan we will all work together to help each other enjoy the practice, and overcome the challenges set, providing you continue to practice.
There are many new challenges and things to look forward to in 2014, new courses, making new friends, meeting up with old friends, and of course our dojo visit to the Seibukan in Kobe. There are currently 9 of us signed up waiting for April, but there is still room if you want to join us. Flights are competitive right now, the week in Kobe can be done on a budget with hotel rooms approx. £25 per night and eating out for a tenner, and the exchange rate for spends is at a 5 year high in our favour. It’s a once in a lifetime chance for many and possibly the best time to go, if you have the chance, this is the time to take it.
Set your targets, enjoy your training but most of all train well and lead by example. Wishing you all joy, hope and peace for 2014.