Closing Donation Ceremony. From left, Fernando Sensei, Dr. Tanaka, Mrs. Tanaka, children from the center, Homma Kancho, Stephanie Sensei, Stan Pranin-Editor of Aikido Journal, Rocio Sensei.
Mexico Aikido, Take Musu Aiki, instructed by Fernando Roman Sensei and Rocio Aguero Rangel Sensei, (www.mexicoaikido.com.mx) organized and hosted this event sponsored by AHAN Nippon Kan Headquarters in Denver, Colorado. The seminar was held as the second annual fundraising seminar for children with cancer in Mexico. The second purpose of the seminar was to recognize women Aikidoists in Latin America.
Held at the Tecnologico de Monterrey (Technical University of Monterrey), a highlight of the seminar was a special guest lecture by Aikido Journal Chief Editor on the history of Aikido in Spanish no less! In celebration of the important role women have in Aikido, Stephanie Yap Sensei, Chief Instructor of Aikido of South Florida (www.aikidosouthflorida.com) accompanied Homma Kancho as a special guest instructor. Yap Sensei delighted all students in attendance with her dynamic style and expertise. Stephanie Yap Sensei team-taught the seminar, alternating classes with Homma Kancho.
Continuing the tradition, this year students and instructors from fourteen dojos came to participate in this fundraising event. The purpose of this seminar was to welcome everyone beyond style or affiliation to join together for practice and to help members of their community.
Homma Kancho commented on the seminar experience; “The seminar this year is like catching five birds with one stone. First: the enjoyment of physical Aikido practice, second: the study of the history of Aikido, third: raising support for local community needs, fourth: the coming together of students and instructors from different styles and backgrounds, fifth: the recognition of the important role of women in Aikido in Mexico.
The setting for the seminar at a high level university such as the Tecnologico de Monterrey is an appropriate setting for such a high level, multipurpose event such as this seminar. There is something at this seminar for everyone attending yet it is not for personal profit or personal gain; this seminar is for the greater community of Mexico.”
We were all honored to have Stanley Pranin Sensei, Chief Editor of Aikido Journal (www.aikidojournal.com) join us for this fundraising event. I had not known that Pranin Sensei studied Spanish at a university in Mexico City in 1965. He told all of us an amusing story about coming to Mexico the first time on a bus from the United States; a trip that took over forty excruciating hours to complete. Five years later, after completing his military service, Pranin Sensei returned once to Mexico, but has not had the opportunity to return since. Now thirty five years later, Pranin Sensei seemed happy and nostalgic to be back. He still has managed to remember how to speak Spanish after all these years. This I understand is just one of Pranin Sensei’s amazing talents!
Stephanie Yap Sensei was also an inspiration to have with us in Mexico. She had a lot of fans on this trip both from Nippon Kan and among Mexico students and instructors. Her long history of hard practice experience as an Iwama uchideshi really showed through; her dynamic movement and abundant energy was infectious to everyone who met her at this seminar. In fact, I am a fan too!
Homma Kancho began the seminar closing ceremony by thanking everyone who had come and exchanged their seminar fees for a valuable opportunity to share with each other and be of service to others in need at the same time. He thanked Fernando Sensei and Rocio Sensei, Mexico Aikido Staff members Senior Jose, Senior Wimmer and all students who had made this seminar a remarkable event.
To close, Dr. Kunitake Tanaka, his wife Yoko Tanaka, Founders of the Casa de la Amistad (the cancer facility for children in Mexico) and two children from the center came forward in front of all assembled to receive $4,300.00 that was raised by seminar proceeds and AHAN Nippon Kan Headquarters. Many thanks to Stanley Pranin Sensei, Stephanie Yap Sensei, and Homma Kancho whose donated instruction and lecture fees made this donation to the Casa de la Amistad possible. (www.casadelaamistad.org.mx).
Nippon Kan Headquarters Staff