This is the first piece of a series planned until October, when we will have the 2nd Tendo World Seminar. Each month we would like to give one dojo the chance to introduce itself.
In November 2011 Wakasensei went to Mexico for teaching his first own seminar. He told us about the warm reception and the enthusiasm for Tendoryu Aikido he felt there.
Rodrigo Velazquez tells us about how Tendoryu Mexico has been developing from its start.
by Rodrigo Velazquez
The history of Tendoryu Aikido in Mexico dates back to 1997, when two Mexican students met Shimizu Sensei in the Herzogenhorn seminar. It was then when Alfredo Corona received permission from Shimizu Sensei to be Tendoryu Aikido representative in Mexico and begin a group that would be officially recognized by Tendokan.
Starting the group was not easy: in the beginning only 4 people attended regular classes, and we lacked a proper space for practice. It was thanks to the help of a longtime friend that the group could get its first training space: the hall of an old house in a traditional neighborhood in Mexico City. The place was conditioned, mats were made and the first class of Tendoryu Mexico was inaugurated. Several of the students from that time remain with us.
During those first years, we were very fortunate to count with the support of Eckhardt Hemkemeier from Hamburg. It was during a trip to Tendokan that Alfredo met Eckhardt and invited him to come and teach seminar in Mexico. The first Tendoryu seminar in Mexico was held in June 1999. A second one followed in 2001. Thanks to Eckhardt’s support the group grew stronger, became better prepared and also was challenged to become better. We will always be very grateful for this.
After several trips to international seminars and the Tendokan from some members of the group, finally the opportunity came to invite Shimizu Sensei to teach seminar in Mexico. It was 2005 and thankfully Sensei accepted to come. New tatami was acquired and the seminar took place in Mexico City. It was 4 days of intense training under Shimizu Sensei’s teaching; of course, for everyone of us this was the most important event in the history of the club. All of us have fond memories of the time spent with Sensei. As we often say, being close to Sensei is always enlightening.
Since Mexico is not near to Japan or Europe, nor travel is particularly cheap, the group from Mexico seldom participates with a lot of members in seminars abroad. Nevertheless we have always tried to stay close to Sensei’s teachings by having at least one of our members participate in one seminar with Shimizu Sensei every year - in Europe or attending classes in Tendokan. We are glad we’ve met many friends this way. Just recently in November 2011 we hosted a seminar with Waka Sensei Kenta Shimizu in Mexico City. After 6 years since Shimizu Sensei’s visit we were able to have once again an international seminar in our country, and an honor to be the first country where Waka Sensei teaches seminar.
As closing words, I would like to add that Tendoryu Mexico feels honored and grateful for the opportunity to share a little bit of its background with all Tendoryu Aikido members around the world, so we get to know each other better. With 2012 International Seminar coming soon, we look forward to be again in Japan and meet old and new friends while training under the guidance of Shimizu Sensei. And, why not? Perhaps getting together in Mexico somewhere in the future. Our Tendoryu friends will be always welcome in Mexico!