United States Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu Gennankai


Reflecting Pool

The Total Experience

Gensui, 2022-02-06

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)