TaiKai 2013

TaiKai 2013 - Overview by Sheila Haddad

The Kunoichi Taikai has come and gone. It's been a wonderful event, well attended, and Soke was very happy. It had the feel of a DKMS, yet not. There were certainly more women than ever at one time in Japan, and this contributed, in my opinion, to a unique feeling in training and within the group.

Words I heard to describe this feeling were; joyful, fun, light hearted, no competition, no ego, a sense of balance. All interesting I think. I invite anyone who attended to add a comment and share their experience, thoughts and feelings for others to get a better sense of this unique, and most likely, not-to-be-repeated event.

The first day of training we had 220 buyu in attendance. 110 were women. The second day we had 250 participating, with 27 countries represented!!

In this image, I had the women in position for a picture, and looked behind me to see this! I did a quick snap, snap, snap to get 6 images I stitched together to give this view, that I saw, to share.

I had the opportunity to sit with Soke during the lunch breaks, to chat and mostly listen. He told me that getting on the mat, having so many people here, gave him energy. He had an enthusiasm and youthfulness, that we saw and uke's felt. But he says, he tires easily now.

He also told me that it is the job of the women now, to pass onto the younger generation of women, the training needed to live and thrive in today's world. To find their strengths, to know themselves as women, feminine and warrior together. We women need to share this, and to do this, we continue to have women's training. So anytime there is a kunoichi seminar or event, we women, make the effort to go, to share, and pass on modern day kunoichi skills and strategies.

There was the expectation of Soke teaching kunoichi techniques. He did expand and create variations from techniques that were shown by women, in Sokes fashion. And on the other side, with half the room being men, he taught also as a usual class or DKMS event. The Taikai was a mix of principles and techniques, form and formless, that only Soke can do. In this way, there was the feeling of a DKMS, yet with so many women there, and the focus put on women, there was a uniquely feminine feeling as well. My sense was Soke wanted to be sure there was something for everyone.

The Taikai Party was held at the hotel on the corner across from the train station in Ayase. We had 190 in attendance, and entertainment. The talented and professional singer and composer, Beate Proettel from Germany, shared her voice and talent to a enraptured audience. Doug Wilson joined her as they sang and played guitar to a song Doug wrote and composed for our dear departed kunoichi, Kathy Baylor. I know I wasn't the only one, secretly wiping some tears off my cheeks. Hiromi, another kunoichi, and her students accompanied the singing with their middle eastern dancing. On stage and mixing with the attendees, they moved gracefully around the room. Eye candy for all.

And most importantly, those who volunteered in a variety of capacities, to make this go as smoothly and elegantly as it did. A special acknowledgment and thank you to Doug Wilson, Elizabeth Scally, and Johaniek Sulzberger for their work on the ground in the weeks and months leading up to the event. My sincerest and heartfelt thanks. Yabanaka-san was instrumental in our acquiring the Ayase Budokan for the event. Without him "sticking his neck out" we would not have had a location. He also made sure Soke had lunch, tea and all his needs met personally. I wish to single him out specially for acknowledgement and sincere gratitude. If you see him, please thank him in person!!

To all who attended, thank you for making this event a success, and for the joy and happiness Soke felt in having everyone there.

Wisdom Saying

Forget your sadness, anger, grudges and hatred. Let them pass like smoke caught in a breeze. You should not deviate from the path of righteousness; you should lead a life worthy of a man [woman]. Don't be possessed by greed, luxury, or your ego. You should accept sorrows, sadness and hatred as they are, and consider them a chance for trial given to you by the powers... a blessing given by nature. Have both your mind and your time fully engaged in budo, and have your mind deeply set on bujutsu.

- Adapted from Tetsuzan