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This year, the International Aikido Federation (IAF) will again hold its quadrennial congress and international seminar in Japan. As a member organization for Australia, Aiki Kai Australia will not only send delegates to the congress but also take a tour group to enjoy the atmosphere of the seminar and follow up with a guided tour to some of Japan’s most beautiful locations!
You can choose to stay either in a shared twin room or single room. All accommodation is in good business style hotels and on one night, you will be staying in a ryokan on Miyajima. A higher standard of accommodation (such as in exclusive ryokans) may be available in some locations near to the accommodation booked for the group as a whole, but subject to availability and to your willingness to pay the extra tariff!
This tour is Aiki Kai Australia's way of inviting you to participate in the amazing culture of Japan, broaden your understanding of Aikido, have a great holiday, and even share your Japan experience with friends or loved ones who may have no interest in Aikido!
The trip will take two weeks including the congress in Takasaki City, then to Tokyo and on to three other cultural highlights of Japan, including the ancient city of Kyoto (art, gardens, temples, etc), Hiroshima, and the beautiful island of Miyajima. It’s an ideal way to visit Japan and perfect for trainees, friends, and family, who will have plenty of opportunities to experience the wonderful culture of Japan together.
The IAF congress is the single most important Aikido gathering in the world and only happens every four years. There will be six full days of training, welcoming students of all levels, with classes by Doshu, Waka Sensei, Yamada Shihan, Tada Shihan, Asai Shihan, Suganuma Shihan and a great many other famous masters, including Smibert Shihan, so it’s an amazing opportunity to learn from the very best while making friends from all over the world.
Attendees can train as much or as little as they want, thereby, giving as much free time as you want to also explore the sights. After Takasaki, you will then spend two nights in Tokyo with a further opportunity to attend early morning classes by Doshu (or any of the regular Hombu instructors), if you wish. The rest of each day is free except for a unique, guided tour by public transport on Monday afternoon.
You’ll also have time to independently explore the wonderful sights of Tokyo such as the Imperial Palace, art museums, parks, gardens, and of course, shopping. From Tokyo, you then travel by shinkansen (the famous bullet train) to Kyoto, where you will be based for three nights in a hotel that offers an onsen - traditional hot spring baths.
Kyoto boasts something like 85% of the UNESCO World Heritage sights in Japan. While there, you may train in the dojo of Okamoto Shihan, one of the few female instructors with her own dojo in Japan.
Finally, a full-day, guided tour of Kyoto will be included on Tuesday, before you head off to historic Hiroshima, a bustling metropolis where you'll see some of the many sights on offer there, including the evocative Peace Museum.
The next night will be a fabulous traditional Japanese experience: staying in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) on the beautiful Island of Miyajima, with a sunset cruise to see the famous orange torii gate that seems to float in the water at high tide, before heading back eastward the next day - via the historic city of Kurashiki, one of the most picturesque and best-preserved Meiji era towns in Japan.
Aikido is a modern, non-violent Japanese martial art that was developed early in the 20th century by the late master Professor Morihei Ueshiba, commonly called O Sensei. The founder passed away in 1969 at the age of eighty six.
Aikido is effective as a martial art but its essence goes beyond the resolution of physical conflict. Based on a background of rigorous training in traditional Japanese jujitsu, Professor Ueshiba spent the latter half of his life developing the art as a means of refining and uplifting human spirit. He succeeded in creating what he then named 'Aikido', 'the way of harmony with the forces and principles of nature'. Aikido is a true 'budo', path in which the keen edge of martial training is utilized as a 'way' to spiritual growth.
Despite its growth in popularity, Aikido remains true to the goals of budo. Its methods are based on Professor Ueshiba's deep faith in 'austere training for the sake of improving the human spirit through tireless polishing and perfection of mind and body'. In accordance with the founders ideals, the art has kept separate from sports, in which one person competes with another.
Aikido is rather a path for personal development for people who sincerely desire to perfect their own human nature. As such, Aikido places great importance on the oriental of the universal principal 'ki' - the life force or breath. Aikido seeks to achieve the total unification of this universal 'ki' with the 'ki' of individual human 'self'.
Aikido is a budo to harmonize the individual with the universal principle and to concord among all peoples. Out of the ancient traditions of Japanese martial arts, Aikido thrives as a source of harmony to counter the disharmonious forces that exist in the world today.
The word 'Aikido' in Japanese is made up of three characters or kanji. The first and most important is 'Ai' which means 'to meet, to come together, or to harmonize'. In Japanese, this also means 'love' and this is the truer translation of the word, as O Sensei used it.
The second kanji is 'ki' which means literally 'steam or vapor', but has come to mean in modern Japanese, 'the mind, the soul, or the spirit'. In the larger context 'Ki' means 'spirit or force of the universe', and not just the spirit of mere human beings.
The third and last character is 'do' which means 'the way', as in Ken-Do or Ju-Do, to signify that the study of Aikido does not involve only techniques based purely in self-defence, but includes positive character-building ideals which people can incorporate into their daily lives. Thus, in a physical training sense, Aikido means 'the way of harmonizing the body and universal spirit' but in a deeper sense, it also means 'loving the world and all who live in it'.
The most outstanding feature of physical training is the repetitious practice of various techniques until rational and unforced movements flow naturally from within the body. The Aikidoist practices ways to control aggression without causing harm or injury. The fact that there is no competition in Aikido is a natural result of this basic philosophy. When winning or losing are of no consequence, trainees are free to dedicate their efforts mutual goals.
It is thus possible for men, women, and children of all ages to walk together down the path of budo that is the heart of Aikido. With each student training and progressing at his or her own pace, all can find harmony within their own personal development.
Circular, flowing movements originating from a relaxed body and a fully centered mind are the Aikido ideal. Regular practice brings a feeling of well-being and self-confidence that carries over into every aspect of daily life. Such experiences eventually result in a broadening of human experience.
In Aikido, there is no 'way' except the path of confronting 'the enemy that lies within oneself'. Aikido is a path of dogged perseverance and dedication to improving both spirit and body. The recognition and acceptance of this aspect of training is the surest means to steady progress and personal development.
Aiki Kai Australia was founded in 1965 by Sugano Shihan and celebrates its 47th anniversary this year. After the passing of Sugano Sensei in 2010, Tony Smibert Shihan, 7th Dan, continues today as the World Aikido Headquarters (Hombu) Representative in Australia, closely supported by Robert Botterill Shihan, 7th Dan and Hanan Janiv Shihan, 7th Dan. While continuing their extensive local activities, the three shihans have many international teaching commitments.
The Association has highly graded representatives in all States and Territories. Aiki Kai Australia is the accredited authority for Aikido in Australia under the national coaching accreditation scheme, which is endorsed by the Federal and State Departments of Sport and Recreation and is the only Australian organization to have grading authority from the Aikido World Headquarters in Japan.
The price includes the following excursions:
The trip will start with the congress in Takasaki City, then to Tokyo and on to three other cultural highlights of Japan, including the ancient city of Kyoto (art, gardens, temples, etc), Hiroshima, and the beautiful island of Miyajima.
The price includes daily breakfast and one dinner in Miyajima. In the evening, you will get a free bowl of noodles in Takasaki, Kyoto, and Kurashiki hotels.
Attendees can train as much or as little as they want, thereby, giving as much free time as you want to also explore the sights. You’ll also have time to independently explore the wonderful sights of Tokyo such as the Imperial Palace, art museums, parks, gardens, and of course, shopping.
You can enjoy onsen - traditional hot spring baths in your Kyoto hotel at no extra charge.
Please book your flights to arrive at Tokyo International Airport, commonly known as Haneda Airport (HND).