Canadian Aikido Association (CAA) dojos were honoured to receive guidance from Hombu Dojo instructor, Katsurada Shihan (6th dan) – an amazing and intimate opportunity to take our Aikido to another level. We gathered May 2019 for three days of training in beautiful Manning Park, British Columbia, Canada – 2.5 hours travel east of Vancouver.
Upon his return to Japan, Katsurada Shihan wrote an article in the Hombu Dojo monthly newsletter.
He also wrote a reflection on his trip to Canada, in the Tankyu, a semi-annual Hombu magazine publication. The English translation is below.
Overseas Instruction – Canada
“Off to the dojo of Tony Hind Sensei, my memorable sempai from my time living at Hombu Dojo”.
Submitted by Aikido Hombu Dojo Instructor, Shihan Eiji Katsurada.
Approximately a year ago the International Office informed me that there was a request from Tony Hind Sensei to visit Canada.
In the three and a half years I lived in Hombu Dojo I practiced very often with my sempai’s Fujimaki Hiroshi Shihan and Anthony Hind (Tony Hind Sensei).
When I heard that name I naturally froze, couldn’t help myself. Katsurada reacting like Pavlov’s dog! That’s how I felt as I wondered why I was invited. “What is my fate?” I thought as I accepted the request.
Tony Sensei’s organization, the Canadian Aikido Association, is based in Vancouver with 9 dojos in 7 cities. Tony Sensei and Greg Duncan are the leaders. Greg is the same age as me and we practiced often at Hombu Dojo.
Tony Sensei lived for fourteen years in Japan and after that traveled back and forth for ten years. Greg lived in Japan for 8 years. He is 140 kilos (300 lbs) and 180 centimeters (6 ft tall).
I don’t know the circumstances but in Greg Duncan’s personal history he holds the record for breaking the most pigs’ necks!
Greg met me at the airport wearing army pants. (as expected – he’s scary). We spent the night at Tony Sensei’s joined by Kan Tateno who trains at Hombu and Art May from Hawaii. We first enjoyed various tasty local beers. It was good. I was told, “We have Canadian vodka” but as I go to Russia two or three times a year I didn’t want to drink Vodka in Canada as Canada is not famous for Vodka . But, “when In Rome, do as the Romans do”. I wanted to refuse, however I bent to my sempai’s unspoken pressure and combined with jet lag I was forced to retire to my room!
During practice, everyone from white belts to black belts were polite and nice.
Both tori and uke had wonderful attitudes towards practice and showed great ability.
Perhaps it was because their Senseis are so scary!
They will definitely rank as one of the top groups compared to the other dojos I have visited.
I am deeply grateful to Tony Sensei and all the people involved for making my trip great.
Thank you Katsurada Sensei!