Message from the Head Instructor
In the fall of 2009, four of our Sandan Deshi chose to set their feet on a new and challenging path by committing themselves to the USTRI Assistant Instructor (AI) Program.
Thomas Hufnagel-san and Douglas Jarrett-san of the USTRI Michigan Honbu Dojo and Daniel Mordan-san and Scott Sier-san of the USTRI Southeast Michigan Branch began their Assistant Instructor training by participating in a 4-month Academic Course of study from September through December of 2009 and are now focusing on their energies on the Teaching Practicum requirement of the AI Program, which has no set time limit for completion.
To set out on the road to become a licensed Instructor of Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu is to admit to oneself that Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu has had such a major impact on one’s own life that we must now begin to share with others all the positive benefits that our training and commitment to the art of Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu have brought us. This idea is akin to that of the “overflowing cup.” To quote A.E. Davey from his book Living the Japanese Arts and Ways: “…deliberately holding back knowledge can be damaging for a teacher. Hoarding knowledge is ultimately destructive…Once we begin to store away a limited amount of knowledge, learning comes to a stop. We become like a glass filled to the brim, unable to receive any more. Even if we hang on to what we have, it becomes old….If, on the other hand, we share what we have, we make room for something new.” (pp.156, 157)
It is this deep desire to pass on what they have learned to others that has brought our four Assistant Instructor trainees to this particular point in their lives. Eventually, when they receive their Assistant Instructor license, they will become the next generation of qualified Instructors of Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu in America to carry on the work of keeping this invaluable Japanese cultural asset alive for future generations of Deshi.
So now we can see “USTRI – The Next Generation” evolving and growing as they diligently chip away at the most critical and formative part of their training as future teachers of Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu. As those of us who have been teaching Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu for the last 14 years can attest to, being a Deshi is one thing, but to get up in front of a group, whether large or small, and share what you have learned in order to help others improve their skills is something else entirely. It forces the potential Instructor to constantly re-examine not only their personal skill level, but their commitment to the art of Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu…that it is being taught correctly and in accordance with the Standardized Techniques established by the Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu Genwakai in Japan.
Michael Alexanian (Gennan) - 7th Dan
USTRI General Manager (Sokatsu Shibucho)
Genwakai Head Instructor (Shihan)
United States Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu
Michigan Honbu Dojo