Manaka Sensei's 1997 Seminar in Dayton,Ohio
by Kikue Kato
My first impression of Dayton, Ohio was that it was a beautiful city with lots of trees and greenery. This was only natural, because I flew into Dayton from El Paso, Texas, a city in the desert. Anyway, Dayton is a very beautiful city. I think October was the best time to visit, because the trees were just beginning to change their colors.
At the Cincinnati Airport, two handsome guys, Scott Mueller and Mike Savage, were waiting for me. I knew immediately that my stay in Dayton would be wonderful. They drove me to Dayton. I had heard beforehand that Scott's usual driving was extraordinary, and that it would take him less than an hour to drive from the airport to Dayton. But this time his driving was so careful that it took over an hour and a half.
I met Shawn Havens for the first time at the hotel, though we had exchanged e- mail many times in preparation for the seminar. In one word, he is a real gentleman.
Manaka Sensei, Shawn and several others played golf on Friday. I videotaped their game. Manaka Sensei's group played well, but the other foursome did not look so good. It is the funniest video I have taken. It is my own treasure that nobody else is allowed to see. I was not interested in golf before I saw their game, but now I think I will give it a try. Maybe I can do it too, if I can call the game they played golf.
The first day of the seminar, Sensei went into the room where all of the seminar participants were waiting, and he was welcomed with loud applause. I have known him for a long time, but suddenly he looked like a great man to me. While Manaka Sensei taught one technique after another, David Hewitt translated his words very correctly and beautifully. I was surprised at the tone and timing of David's translation; it gave me the illusion that Sensei himself was speaking English. During training, Sensei would explain a technique, then walk around to teach and correct people's form, posture and technique directly. Most participants nodded when they found something important in his teaching. They all looked so happy. At the end of training, there was loud applause again when Manaka Sensei left the room.
On the last day of the seminar, rank testing was carried out. It was very different from training. During training, everybody looked happy and cheerful, and so Sensei seemed happy too. But at the test, Sensei looked like a different person. His dignity filled the testing room. I couldn't keep taping because it seemed rude to make videos in such a solemn place. Everyone taking the test looked pale and nervous. I was sorry because not many people passed the test, but I think it is good spiritual training to have a test in such a severe atmosphere. I myself will respectfully decline to try it.
I recognized again how wonderful this martial art is by participating in this Jinenkan™ Dayton seminar. How wonderful it would be if I could meet many friends around the world through this art. Through the Jinenkan™, we can understand each other, free from national and cultural borders.
I would like to offer my congratulations to the Jinenkan™ Dayton Dojo on the birth of their new homepage. I will check often to see what is posted on it.
Jinenkan™ Honbu Web Master
Translator of the Jissen Kobudo Jinenkan™
Age: Over 21