This photo of Anno sensei receiving his award was forwarded to me by Linda Holiday sensei. For more information on the award, please see the previous blog entry. I believe it is great for Anno sensei that he receive the award. But I also feel that it is great for aikido to have someone who is as dedicated and developped on a personal level as Anno sensei is. I think it is a beautiful photo. I am also including another video of Anno sensei's July 2005 visit to aikido of San Jose. It shows him interacting beautifully with a non-yudansha and demonstrating one of Aikido's greatest koans: katate dori kokyu ho.
I also want to say a few words about the Presidential inauguration. I was very moved on a personal level. I thought it was very significant that in taking the oath of office for vice-president it was"preserve, protect defend the constitution of the United States against enemies" and that for the presidential oath "enemies" was left out. We are facing a time when the concept of an enemy must be outmoded. The problems that we all face can only be solved by a uniting together of not just this nation but also the world. We are all one family. Period. There may be disagreements and conflicts within that family, but there are no enemies. I think that is a crucial shift in paradigms. And a very necessary one.
In Japan we were taught to realize openings or weak points in our movements and techniques. To train with our partners to mutually help each other to close those openings. There can be vigilance and awareness within a nurturing and protective framework as opposed to militaristic and national. So despite the immense problems that we face as a nation and a world, I hope the Obama presidency can issue in a new era where we can all collectively work together to solve our problems. It will not be easy. But the ultimate "opening" is to see only problems and weaknesses. The most precious thing of all is hope, and, right now, we have that.