NextGen Delegation to Hombu Dojo, Tokyo in April, 2017
It was during the 50th anniversary school that the Foundation developed an idea which would pro-actively help to continue the ongoing close relationship that Aiki Kai Australia has always enjoyed with Aikido World Headquarters in Japan. Loosely termed the "Next Generation" initiative, the proposal was enthusiastically taken up by the Doshu during the 50th Anniversary Summer School. The idea - which became a reality - was that if we could invite the Doshu's son, now Dojo Cho of Hombu Dojo, to come to Australia, he would meet the Australian Aikido community and particularly our younger population - which hopefully includes future generations of teachers and leaders. Following that event
with funding provided mainly by the Foundation, Aiki Kai Australia and relevant states to send a small group of ‘younger' students to Tokyo to train for a week there, including attending Dojo Cho's class. As Tony Smibert Sensei describes it, "Training together at Hombu and making friends during the process was really important to many in our first generation. We want to encourage the same opportunities for others now, and hope this will contribute to the future."
Applicants were invited from all over Australia - with an initial group to be led by Jikou Sugano, representing the Foundation, Tristan Derham as the Aiki Kai Australia Vice President, and Felicity Peters, as the Group Organiser. Initial funding from the Foundation was augmented by a contribution from Aiki Kai Australia, the states and territories and then, very generously, by a further personal contribution from Phillip Lee Shihan of Aikido Shinju-Kai (Singapore).
It's with great excitement that we look forward to seeing how that group make the most of this wonderful opportunity, at the same time we remain fully aware of the fact that they are representatives of a much larger, talented group.
The Trustees are pleased to announce the selection of the following delegates for this stage of the NextGen initiative:
Jikou Sugano, (Foundation representative)
Tristan Derham (AKA representative)
Felicity Peters (Group leader)
Bruce Roberts (WA)
Bernard Dowd (WA)
Monica Tschochner (WA)
Mark Mc Laughlin (NT)
Annalise Bennett (Tas)
Alex Rojas (Vic)
Alex Raytsin (Vic)
Josh Taaffe (Vic)
The Trustees of the Foundation thank all of those who have helped with or applied for its 2017 NextGen Tokyo Delegation, which is intended to assist and encourage the building of friendships and personal connections between Aikido students in Australia and Hombu Dojo. They hope this will help to underpin the formal relationship between Aiki Kai Australia and Hombu in the years to come and pave the way for future groups and individuals.
Selection for participants in the 2017 Tokyo Training Visit was made entirely at the discretion of the Trustees and they sincerely thank all those who applied. The standard of applicant was very high and although the Foundation did not have funds to support as many people as they would have liked this time around, the Foundation hopes to be in a position to continue this sort of initiative into the future.