Reflections on Aiki Expo 2002
Aiki Expo was an excellent experience for me! Mr. Pranin did a fantastic job
bringing together a rich diversity of instructors and students to share their
love of Aikido. I would like to extend my deepest thanks to Mr Pranin and his
wife as well as all the people who made Aiki Expo happen.
Now that I have been back to Philadelphia for a few weeks, I had a chance to
reflect on the Expo. I wanted to share a few thoughts about this event with you.
The success of an endeavor like Aiki Expo derives from many factors. I
believe one the greatest of these is the spirit of the students who trained.
With this in mind, I want to thank all of the students who attended my workshops
and took the time to train with me. Together we shared a great training
experience and learned a lot from each other. I hope that I was able to impart
to each of you some understanding of Doshinkan Aikido, its basic movements, its
techniques, and how important it is to feel and understand your center access
While watching all of you train, I was reminded sometimes that we often
notice small differences in our techniques. But these are very small. In the
grander picture, we all share the same spirit and love of Aikido. Like a great
tree, the roots of Aikido all came from the same source. As Ueshiba Sensei
evolved his Aikido from the Aiki-Jujistsu, taught to him by his teacher, Sokaku
Takeda, he instructed many great disciples. My teacher, Goza Shioda, was one of
these disciples. Each of these students met Ueshiba Sensei at a different period
of his life. During their growth as students, they developed their Aikido
techniques as Ueshiba Sensei’s teachings combined with their unique qualities
as individuals. From this, each student may have developed a different approach
to his Aikido training. Regardless of this diversity of styles, I believe all of
them captured and maintained the same strong spirit of Aikido that Ueshiba
Sensei imparted to them.
I believe the time has come for us all to look beyond the small differences
in our techniques. We need to get back to the idea of one spirit of sharing and
learning through hard training. The roots of Aikido are all the same. The strong
spirit of training is all the same. Events like Aiki Expo make this type of
sharing happen! They reinforce the idea that I have always conveyed to my
students- Aikido is for all!
I hope in the future to be able to continue to participate in these types of
cooperative events and partner in teaching with our instructors across various
styles of Aikido. This is my vision--Aikido for all through cooperative training
in our shared Aiki spirit. Each of us has something to offer. Each of us has
something to learn from one another. For now, I believe it is important that we
all go back to our dojos, reflect and digest the many things that we have
learned. We need to continue to train hard and to develop our own Aikido.
I leave all of you with my wish that each of your dojos continues to grow and
If any of you have any questions about anything that I taught or would like
to contact me, please email me at "yutada (at) doshinkan-aikido (dot) org"
. I also extend an open invitation to any of you who are in the Philadelphia
area to visit our headquarters’ dojo, (information is available on our website
so that we can continue to share our Aikido training.