Aikido DoshuI write this while hoping that this year is a bright year full of life. Happy New Year, everyone.
Two years have already passed since we began talking about the corona virus. Once again this year we were unable to have a large group gather for Etsunen-keiko. Instead, a small practice was held with Aikido Hombu Dojo instructors and a small number of Hombu Dojo members who signed up in-advance. Even so, I am grateful that even while new strains of the coronavirus circulate, many people understand our actions to continue practicing while taking the appropriate measures to prevent infection.
Last yearfs state of emergency stretched for a long period of time, and numerous restrictions were imposed. That being said, in the spirit of gdoing the best we can now,h we were able to put on important events while reducing the scale of each one. That we accomplished them is great encouragement going into the New Year.
Many things previously taken for granted we could not do, and many events could not be held; I experienced that the energy spent on not being able to hold them was the same as the amount spent to hold them. In that case, even if the event must be smaller, holding it has great significance. Even if the scale of the event is smaller, shaping and executing it not only helps us move forward, but also to pass the baton forward.
In that way, holding the Aikido Hombu Dojo Kagamibiraki Ceremony, the Japan Dojos and Groups meeting, the Aiki Shrine Grand Festival, the All-Japan Aikido Embu Taikai, the International Aikido Federationfs General Assembly, the All-Japan Aikido Instructor Workshop, and the All-Japan Student Aikido Embu Taikai in smaller scale or entirely online shows the power of peoplesf belief and community with each other, for which I am grateful.
One famous quote by Mr. Konosuke Matsushita is gOptimism is good, pessimism is good. In pessimism there is a path forward, and in optimism there is a path forward.h Similarly, in times such as these, gI will get through this,h and gI do not know how long this is going to lasth are both valid ways to approach the current situation. This year, bearing in mind the state at that time, we can only move forward while utilizing our strong bonds to each other.
In many situations online tools have been used, and I expect that will continue this year. The Aikikai Foundationfs most important events were broadcast around the world, allowing many people to watch and participate. There are many merits to participating by screen in meetings, and I am fully aware of the convenience. On the other hand, my preference is for being in the same space, interacting face to face with each other.
I walk the path of Aikido, and in passing its doctrine, the connections between person become incredibly important. In this, I feel it is necessary to feel your hearts connect while meeting face to face. For these 2 years, I have not been able to meet people practicing outside of Hombu Dojo, and it is a lonely and sick feeling.
This is the year of the tiger. The mizunoe-tora, the year of the water tiger, is said to be a year where gafter surviving the hard winter, sprouting begins; it is the cornerstone of new growth.h The hard winter of coronavirus will surely end, and the flowers and trees on the path of Aikido that endured this hard winter grew stronger for it. I have sincere hope for their beautiful color and verdant greens. And as we all believe in that path together, sustain it together, and take responsibility for our behavior together, while keeping a heart full of gratitude let us keep progressing forward.