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📰 REVIEW: AKI USA 20th Anniversary Seminar By Lia Suzuki

aikido los angeles martial arts Oct 12, 2016
I was thrilled that so many joined us for our 20th Anniversary Seminar and Celebration in Los Angeles! New friends and old gathered from as far away as British Columbia, Philadelphia, New York, Indonesia, San Francisco Bay Area, and even Japan!
Takeda Shihan always brings positive vision and breathes new life into our dojo when he visits. As always, it was educational and inspiring spending time with him. Not just on the mat, but also our conversations off the mat were so very beneficial for me.

“Zero Point”: A place or situation from where one can move in any direction.

The 20th Anniversary Seminar & Celebration not only celebrated the past 20 years, but also looked to the future – the next 20 years.
“Zero Point”: A place or situation from where one can move in any direction.
This is one expression or concept that came up in discussions between Takeda Shihan, Jean-René Sensei and myself off the mat. The seminar took place not at our original dojo in Philadelphia, but rather at our new headquarters in Los Angeles. Also, my apartment search had finally yielded positive results just a few days before we were set to begin the event. When Takeda Shihan arrived, he found me in the middle of moving to a new home!

Zero Point. New Beginning. Complete freedom to choose the course for the next 20 years.

Having Numata Sensei and Satoshi Sensei at the event brought back so many memories of living and training in Japan before I founded AKI USA. I remembered my first time training with them in Sasame dojo back in 1987. It was a black belt class. The dojo had 29 tatami and about 35 black belts were in attendance. Only Jean-René Sensei and I were white belts. I think I can speak for both of us and say that we will never forget those classes! I was so moved that these two sempai made the long journey from Japan, along with Takeda Shihan.
And having Jean-René Sensei in attendance brought back fond memories of the two of us training in Boston and Japan together, as well as teaching so many seminars together in Santa Barbara years ago. We honed our teaching skills in those days by doing monster teaching schedules, followed by spirited fellowship sometimes lasting late into the night – only to get up the next morning at 6am to repeat the same routine!
It was such an honor to share the teaching responsibilities at the 20th Anniversary Seminar with these fine people and impressive instructors.
This review would not be complete without me mentioning how very proud I was of our dojo members and their team work: Momoko generously donating her time and administrative expertise the entire event, Chris Ziliotto and Chris Calaprice bringing the mats from the Santa Barbara Dojo, Chris Coats carefully choosing restaurants and cafés to accommodate all tastes, and all participants making sure tatami were cleaned and ready before each class. (I’m sure there were other tasks that were covered that I either didn’t even know about or have forgotten to mention here. To those people also a huge thank you!)
In summary, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the 20th Anniversary Celebration. I’m excited about our bright, new beginning in Los Angeles and I’m looking forward the next 20 years!
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Lia Suzuki
National Director
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