V International seminar under direction of Shoji SEKI shihan in Koinobori dojo. November 14-20, 2000. Moscow
The seminar consisted of three parts: the main part (a total of 12 hours, with the number of participants at each practice not exceeding 40, which offered every participant a chance to practice directly with the Sensei), the overview part (3 hours, held in one of the practice gyms of the Russian State Academy of Physical Culture (RGAFK), with over 70 participants), and the examination (1 Dan – 9 examinees, 2 Dan – 5 examinees). Over 130 aikidoists actively participated in the seminar, representing five cities of Russia, all AIKIKAI dojos of Moscow, and including guests from Lithuania, the USA, and Armenia.
World Harmony Modeled on a Selected Dojo
Mikhail Kudashkin, November 25th, 2000.
Seminars on the level of those led by such people as Seki Sensei usually attract several hundred people, and unless you are an honored guest of the dojo, the chances that you will be able to actually work one-on-one with the master himself are very small. For that reason one envies Koinobori Dojo which, with the generous permission of Hombu Dojo, has been able to receive Seki Sensei as technical director. Each year since June 1996, this person whose energy and capacity for work is truly amazing, comes to Moscow and conducts a seminar at Koinobori Dojo. According to the testimony of the many participants, they get practically as much out of his seminar as they do out of the year of training they have between his visits.
Exaggeration? Not really. After all, in Eastern martial arts, and in aikido in particular, “teacher-student” contact plays an invaluable role. It´s one thing to “learn by watching”, time after time viewing a videocassette or, if you´re lucky, watching a master at work in person. It´s another thing entirely to “feel the art from within”, to feel on yourself the effect of the mysterious “ki”, or be convinced that there really is “tanden”, which is immovable. Knowledge acquired that way cannot be obtained from any cassette or book. This is why, for people who seriously practice aikido, seminars led by Seki Sensei at Koinobori Dojo evoke great interest.
During these seminars, every person who steps onto the tatami can be sure that every move, every technical element demonstrated by Seki Sensei, he will execute one-on-one with him or her at least once. “Seki Sensei conducts three training sessions per day for a week,” says Aleksei Morozov (Kagami Dojo), “and during every session he personally gives attention to every participant. Such an attitude to his work arouses admiration and instills tremendous respect.”
Seki Shihan´s pedagogical talent also evokes admiration. Of course, there are no absolute beginners on the tatami, but the experience level of the participants varies greatly. The way he can go from pair to pair and adapt to their level instantly, giving to each according to that person´s ability, is especially appreciated by participants. The “spiritual warmth” that surrounds each person, say the participants from the town of Stupino, turns the seminar into an event that is not only useful, but also joyful. It is no secret that relations between many Russian dojos are far from ideal, but you would never guess this judging by the way their representatives relate on the tatami under the sensitive leadership of Seki Sensei. Isn´t this the “world harmony” Morihei Ueshiba urged us to study?
Translated by Douglas Marshall