Before I became a Deshi I took a good long look at the art of Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu and the Sensei who represent this art. Deciding that if I was to become a formal Deshi, this art and these Sensei would have to be exceptional.
After some research I was pleased that the art was what I was looking for. Now it was time to see about the Sensei. If the Sensei could not teach, then it did not matter what art I had found.
I figured the best way to do this was by going to a few classes and see first hand. As I attended those first classes I paid close attention to the Sensei and Sempai. I was not too concerned about technique at this point, instead it was the character and knowledge of the Instructors that held my attention. Eastman Sensei explained that the Clarkston Study Group had just formed last September and the difference that meant in relation to being a full Dojo or branch as we are now. As Eastman Sensei elaborated on how the “lineage” connected this study group through the Honbu Dojo in Lansing, headed by Alexanian Sensei back to the Honbu Dojo in Japan. I felt a sense of loyalty to one’s style and Sensei that I have not seen in years. When Eastman Sensei was instructing the other Deshi, Steve-San and I had the opportunity to be instructed by Young Sensei (class Sempai at this time). In the time between showing us techniques Young Sensei also informed us on the United States Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu Organization. Again I sensed dedication and loyalty. I had decided to join when we were told that Alexanain Sensei would be at next week’s class. I was anxious to meet the man who brought this art from Japan to the United States. If one could judge a Sensei by his Deshi this man was indeed an exceptional martial artist.
The first impression Alexanain Sensei left on me was how he greeted people, smiling and full of energy. As class progressed I was also impressed by how he listened to the Deshi’s questions, they had his complete attention. After I left that class I got on line and started to read his articles. I also read many interviews he gave and some other material. When I got my first chance to see the Honbu and the gardens at the Alexanain home my thoughts were how beautiful they were. The time and dedication that Alexanain sensei has invested in his art are truly rare. I now see how” the thread follows the needle”.
One day in class Eastman Sensei told us that some one had criticized Alexanain Sensei teaching style. I do not know why this bothered me the way it did. It was either the fact that after a twenty three year search for a martial art with a Sensei the caliber that is offered by the U.S.T.R.I.O., or after seeing all the other “martial artists“ and “styles” out there that some one would criticize Alexanain Sensei. I do not believe that our art, nor any of the Sensei need defending but I felt I must speak out on this issue. I know from the teaching of Eastman Sensei, this should not have had that much of an impact on me. I take relief in one of Alexanain Sensei’s articles “Advertising, Fame and Ignorance” and the quote on a proverb ‘do not regret being ignored; regret being ignorant’.
Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu Clarkston Branch