Message from the Head Instructor
With 2005 nearly at an end, and 2006, Inudoshi: the Year of the Dog, fast approaching, it is customary for me to look back over the past year and reflect on the many events and changes that have taken place within the United States Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu Organization (USTRIO).
For myself, the biggest highlight of this particular year was the July visit to Michigan and Canada by Fuku Soke (Assistant Headmaster) Tsumaki Kazuo Genwa Sensei and his Assistant, Endo Tsuyako Gentei Sensei. This year’s visit was their longest - almost 2 full weeks - and afforded them many new experiences, such as an opportunity to lead the Clarkston, Michigan Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu Study Group weekly training session; conduct the Koushuu and Shinsa (Lecture and Formal Testing) for over 30 Deshi of the USTRIO; and teach a day-long Seminar in Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu at the annual Guelph School of Japanese Sword Arts in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Also included this year was a magnificent demonstration of Kenbu (traditional Japanese dance with sword and fan) by Endo Sensei and an introduction to a Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu Shigin (Chinese Poetry Recitation) piece by Fuku Soke entitled “Tamiya Ryu Heiho”. Another very important aspect of their visit was the chance to spend time interacting with the Deshi, both during the training sessions that were scheduled for the various levels of proficiency and socially at the annual BBQ Party held after the Shinsa.
Further highlights of 2005 were the completion of the new, two-part Omote no Maki Video (thanks to the creative efforts of Brent Eastman Sensei) and the promotion of the Clarkston Study Group to official Branch status at their one-year anniversary Enbu (Formal Demonstration). My visit to the New York Study Group at the beginning of 2005 and the opportunity to participate in the Memorial Enbu for Otani Yoshiteru Sensei, founder of the New York Budokai, seemed to set the tone for a year of change for the USTRIO.
This year also saw the departure, due to various family concerns, of two of our original Deshi, Ron Maier, Jr. and Daniel Gore. While their presence will be sorely missed, we wish them well with their pursuits and hope that they will one day return to us when their respective situations allow.
2006 already promises to have some important events in store for the USTRIO, not the least of which will be the signing and concluding of the first formal Sister Branch Agreement between the Michigan Honbu Dojo and one of the key Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu Branches in Japan during the bi-annual USTRIO Japan Trip in May.
So as I look back…and forward, I am filled with equal amounts of happiness and sobriety for that which has happened and that which has yet to happen; and a sense of infinite thankfulness for it all.