by Scott Allbright.
This year saw the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Shodokan by Professor Kenji Tomiki. Since those first days in 1967, when I was only 6 years old, Shodokan aikido and its randori practice and competition has spread throughout Japan and across the world.
Tomiki sensei established the Shodokan hombu dojo in Osaka as the headquarters for his system of aikido training. This commemorative event was organised and hosted by Shodokan hombu dojo.
The event took place at the Osaka Central Municipal Gymnasium on Sunday 8th October 2017. The gymnasium is a very large, modern and well equipped arena and the sub-arena where the event took place had a 6 court matted area teeming with aikidoka of all ages.
All the participants took part in the shihan seminar led by the current shihan of Shodokan aikido, Mr. Nariyama Tetsuro 9th dan. Nariyama sensei was Tomiki sensei’s most predominant student and assistant during the establishment of the Shodokan system of training and became the head of the headquarters dojo after Tomiki sensei passed away in 1979.
After the seminar, there were demonstrations throughout the day by school children, university students, adult club members and overseas aikidoka.
I was able to attend the event with my partner, Celine, Katrina Love, captain of the Sheffield Hallam University aikido club and James Ang, one of my club yudansha. We did a 2 minute demonstration simultaneously with 5 other demonstrations across the 6 courts.
At the end of the demonstrations there was a shumoku betsu kongo dantaisen special demonstration.
The kongo dantaisen is a mini competition that encompasses the competitive elements of embu and shiai played out by two teams.
This was followed by demonstrations by each of the hombu international instructors, Teranishi sensei, Omori sensei, Yamagata sensei, Nishi sensei, Endo sensei and Morikawa sensei.
Finally, there was a demonstration by Nariyama shihan with Sakai sensei and Adams sensei.
It was a fantastic day, during which I could watch and train with Japanese instructors and members I have had the pleasure to learn Shodokan aikido with for over 30 years! It was also great to see the many overseas players and instructors who had made the long journey to Japan.
I was also very impressed to see the huge numbers of Japanese children and university students taking part, who are the future of our aikido!
After the event, there was an official party, with Japanese food and beer flowing. After the official speeches we were entertained by taiko drumming. I love taiko drumming! It was a small group of 6 or 8 players in one corner of the room but their drum beats filled the whole room. It was a great and traditional way to end the festivities.