Aug 2nd-30th, 2010
In August, 2010, Homma Kancho led a twenty four day practice marathon at Nippon Kan Headquarters Hombu dojo. In the summertime, some dojos hold week-long camps, but this challenge was held for twenty four days! One class per day was instructed by Homma Kancho as part of this marathon challenge and there were no additional fees charges to students outside of regular monthly membership dues. A large water pot used in many parts of Southeast Asia was used to collect contributions from students based on what was comfortable for them to contribute. Some students donated their daily coffee money or sacrificed their beer money to support the new Myanamar AHAN Learning Center, while other students made much more substantial contributions.
Homma Kancho purposely did not schedule any overseas trips for August so that he could instruct this special marathon practice. He noted that this was a marathon challenge for him too as he taught classes every day for 24 days. He also instructed special classes daily for the twelve new and alumni uchideshi that traveled from all over the world to Nippon Kan Headquarters to attend the challenge.
The close of the marathon challenge was celebrated with “the Great Rocky Mountain Road Trip” to the historical town of Salida, about three hours west of Denver in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Yama Dojo, instructed by Rick Thompson Sensei, hosted the weekend practice in Salida. The caravan of students from Denver arrived early Saturday afternoon and a three hour practice was held at Yama Dojo instructed by Homma Kancho. After practice everyone headed to the local hot springs for a bit of much appreciated R & R.
Some of the students from Denver camped, some stayed at a local hotel and some stayed at the dojo. On Sunday, practice was held outside in a beautiful high mountain meadow where Homma Kancho led weapons practice followed by a closing meditation. It was a perfect ending to an incredible month- long marathon.
This practice marathon was held as a fundraiser for the AHAN Learning Center in Myanmar and raised $4,500.00. Homma Kancho stressed, “In hard economic times it is better to organize an event at home in our dojo so that everyone can participate without financial strain. This way everyone can contributing what they are able. I thank all students for their support and participation, making this event a tremendous success”.
To be at Nippon Kan as an uchideshi again after 2 years made me so happy. With the invitation of Homma Sensei to come to Nippon Kan and practice was another important step for the development my Aikido.
This time was a little different. We were 10 uchideshi staying at Dojo. I heard from some others before that everything is different when there is more than one uchideshi. We together realized how important is communicating, sharing, helping each other and the most important was to liaise. And we arranged special 60th birthday ceremony (kanreki celebrate) for Homma Sensei, this was awesome experience.
At my first years in Aikido my Sensei once told me that “we are a big family”. At that time I couldn’t understand what he was implying. But with the passing time and more sharing I understood what he meant. Thanks to Nippon Kan I now have ten brothers and a sister (Rose was not staying at the Dojo). Now I have brothers and sister walking the same path with me. I’m very sure that one day I will meet again with them, the ones who share the same feelings with me.
The things we shared were not only among the uchideshi. I sincerely appreciate our trainers and friends who spend their time cooking and bringing their marvelous meals to Dojo for us. I will never forget different and wonderful foods I have tasted.
The Homeless Dinner, an event of help and support, which was organized with the pioneership of Homma Sensei was my second experience. To prepare and serve to food to the ones who need them was a different kind of happiness. In fact if you look from a different perspective Aikido is like a meal and we are the people who needed. The Marathon meal that Homma Sensei organized was unbelievable. In the seminars in Turkey Homma Sensei always says ” the real meal is your Sensei’s meal, today you just tasted from a different cousin.”. I believe that to understand and live Aikido better we need to taste different flavours.
I thank Homma Sensei for his invitation for Marathon and his special birthday ceremony that I appreciated very much. And my Sensei Ali Uludag who always supports me in my long path, both as a Sensei and a father.
Turkiye Aikikai Aikido