United States Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu Gennankai



Message from the Head Instructor

Year of the Tiger

Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu. Kotoshimo, yoroshiku onegai itashimasu!

As we mark the end of 2021, a year that saw both change and a return to something like normal for the United States Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu Gennankai, I’d like to express my gratitude to all the Gennankai members for their commitment and dedication to Tamiya Ryu. Tamiya Ryu is a lineage that has persisted for 400 years. With all the current challenges in the world it would be easy for training to become less than a priority but the Gennankai has held together. It was great to see so many deshi at our Fall All Member Practice, old and new. While practicing Inazuma, I was moved by everyone’s effort to re-dedicate themselves to their practice. Thank you for your perseverance during these interesting times.

Looking forward, 2022 will see the resumption of mostly normal Gennankai’s annual activities. With a few modifications, this will include a Spring and Fall All Member Practice, as well as the Summer Shinsa-Koshukai. Dates and further details will be provided in the future but I’d like to briefly discuss each event this year.

The Spring All Member Practice will mainly act as a Shinsa checkpoint and rehearsal. Of course special attention will be paid to those seeking to take their next shinsa, however, all members will be asked to perform an enbu whether or not they are planning to test. This will allow the instructional staff to get a general impression of the group’s position so further training plans can be made for the future.

The Summer Shinsa-Koshukai will be the main event of the year. A large portion of the Gennankai may end up taking their shinsa, including several kodansha. Therefore, arrangements are being made to record the shinsakai and send the video to Tsumaki Soke Sensei. This means our usual custom of presenting successful shinsa candidates with their menjo at the end of the day’s events will have to be suspended.

The Fall All Member Practice will act as a recapitulation of the Shinsakai where comments and corrections will be discussed and menjo will be presented.

Another Gennankai activity that will be resuming is Branch visits by the Head Instructor. Ideally these visits will take place once a quarter. I’m greatly looking forward to visiting each branch and spending some more time with and getting to know each deshi in the organization.

In closing, let’s use the new year to reinvigorate ourselves and our practice to prepare for a successful Shinsakai! I wish you all a healthy and happy 2022, the year of the tiger!

James Russell (Gennetsu)
United States Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu Gennankai
6th Degree, Jokyō
Gennankai Head Instructor
Brighton Branch Manager

Reflecting Pool

The Total Experience

I have been scuba diving for over 40 years. On a typical trip to Mackinaw City, we would dive four times. Because of the depth, the actual total time underwater was only about one hour. I learned over those 40 years that the act of diving was a relatively small but important part of the “total experience”. As important were the discussions in the car driving up to and on the way back from Mackinaw; white fish dinners; and a cold Corona beer on the back of the boat before going to bed.

Over 18 years of practicing Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu I have also learned that while performing kata is an important part of the art, it is still a relatively small but important portion of the “total experience”. For example, to perform Inazuma it takes approximately 40 seconds (longer for some of us older deshi).

For this article I wanted to list some of my best “other experiences” in USTRI:

  • being a deshi with my son Eric for 5 years. This involved; training at the Honbu Dojo with Buhaku Sensei; taking Japanese language and Ikebana class with Dianne Sensei; and Shodo lessons with Buhaku Sensei. My best experience was our trip to Japan in 2006.

  • general discussions with other deshi while getting suited up in Alexanian’s basement.

  • dojo and yard cleanup with all the other members of USTRI.

  • getting sushi after class.

  • 47 Ronin movie night.

  • several USTRI group trips to Japan.

  • visits to Michigan from Soke Sensei and Endo Sensei

Once again, in my mind the combination of kata work and these”other experiences” make up the great “Total Experience” that I have enjoyed for so many years.

Thomas L. Hufnagel (Gensui)