Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happy New Year & an Award for Anno sensei

Happy New Year. Let us all look forward to an rewarding year of training in 2009. We had our special New year's day class, which was very well attended. We are back on our regular schedule. It is nice to see the energy gathering again in the dojo for the coming year.

I was informed by Linda Holiday sensei that on Monday January the 12th Anno sensei will be receiving a distinguished service award in martial arts at the Tokyo Budokan(Martial Arts Palace). Apparently there is one award given each year for each of nine martial arts, and aikido is one of those. I remember Hikitsuchi sensei receiving the same award in the early '90's. It honors an individual who has practiced and given time, energy, and excellence over a very long period of time. A few years ago, Anno sensei celebrated his 50th year in aikido. He is currently the chief instructor of the Kumano juku dojo in Shingu, Japan.

I find Anno sensei to be unique in martial arts and aikido in particular because of his emphasis on developing the heart through aikido practice. His elegance and humility are also very refreshing. We have had
the honor of having him come to our dojo and teach many times. He is the only one of my original teachers in Japan who is still active. Tojima sensei and Hikitsuchi sensei have passed over. Yanase sensei is hopefully physically active and doing well but no longer is formally connected with the Shingu dojo.

So I am very happy for him. And I am very proud of our connection which has endured over the years. In 2006 I took a small group in the summer to the Kumano area. We were greeted at the Tanabe train station by Anno sensei. We all stayed over at an inn and very vivid still was that evening. We were in the hot springs bath and Anno sensei very graciously interacted with us and answered questions on Aikido deep into the night. The next day he went with us to visit Osensei's grave. Then in Shingu he took us to Hikitsuchi sensei's grave and finally to Tojima sensei's grave. That night he taught a very memorable class at the Shingu dojo. When it was time for our group to depart, he, along with Yanase sensei, were at the train station to see us off.

The following video is from a class Anno sensei taught at the San Jose dojo in 2005:


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