My Proposal to Re-launch a Nihon Goshin Aikido Dojo in Chitose, Hokkaido Japan
When John F. Kennedy looked up at the moon and said, “In 10 years we will be there” America took note. A goal was stated. A vision was cast. A dream became reality.
In the same manner, and while we still have direct ties to Japan via a living student of Master Morita (namely Shihan Bowe), we need to look seriously at reintroducing Master Morita’s art to his home town. I believe the timing is right for such a goal.
So let’s cast a vision which I’m calling “Hokkaido 2020” ~ whose stated purpose is to establish a Nihon Goshin Aikido Dojo in Chitose on the island of Hokkaido in Japan (the town the original Nihon Goshin Aikido dojo was located) by January 2020.
Now what would it take to establish a Nihon Goshin Aikido Dojo in Chitose, Hokkaido Japan?
First and foremost we need a “teacher with a missionary’s heart for the art.” This teacher must be willing to relocate his/ her family, and be ready to self support to some capacity initially. He/ she must commit to remaining until the dojo is established, and must also be flexible enough to know when the job is done. At some point, the dojo might be turned over to a trained Japanese student who achieved sho-dan in our art.
In my mind, this instructor should represent the absolute best of ALL of the qualities of the Nihon Goshin Aikido student body.
With the idea of starting a conversation about possibilities, I’ve devised a short list of important qualifications I deem essential:
1. Humility ~ It would take a special person to undertake this task, and do so with a missionary’s heart.
2. Loyalty ~ The system should be taught to the Japanese students essentially as it was taught to Mr. Bowe ~ with the obvious additions of Mr. Bowe’s organization of techniques and belt ranking structure.
3. Wisdom ~ The instructor should be capable of working in a cross cultural setting.
4. Savvy ~ The person should have the ability to leverage the appealing marketing nuance of reintroducing a previously established art in the same town it once thrived.
5. Pedigree ~ Ideally, I think it would be preferred if this instructor had direct ties to Mr. Bowe.
6. Total Sensei Support ~ All Nihon Goshin Aikido Sensei’s should rally around this instructor to assist in regular demonstrations (potentially with a Sensei traveling over to Japan monthly), and to aid in adding legitimacy in terms of demonstrating to the Japanese that the art thrives in the United States as a standardized form.
7. Financial Support ~ I think we should all get behind this movement with a regular, monthly, financial commitment to cover the start up costs of leasing dojo space, purchasing mats, securing housing, paying travel costs, marketing the dojo, etc., and that this might be done for an introductory period of time (possibly 1 - 2 years).
8. I do not believe that fluency in the Japanese language is a prerequisite ~ assuming the instructor is willing to learn on the fly.
It should be understood that the instructor would not necessarily have to enter into Japan without a job. I have a friend who spent 2 years in Japan as a part of the JET Exchange program (Japanese English Teachers). He and his wife essentially taught conversational english speaking skills to Japanese children and adults for 2 years. His evenings and weekends were free. Had he been an NGA practitioner, he might have been able to establish a Nihon Goshin Aikido dojo that could be run by the Japanese upon his return to the United States. I’m not sure JET would be the correct fit for the selected instructor, but it is quite possible that something similarly viable exists.
Finally, it should be restated that this effort should ideally represent the combined leverage of ALL Nihon Goshin Aikido Dojos regardless of association/ federation/ Sensei loyalties. A board of directors comprised of representatives from all willing vectors should be established to select, supervise, encourage, and provide council to the chosen instructor. The board would also support and provide accounting services for all funds raised, etc. “Hokkaido 2020” should not be considered to be a “solo operation” ~ where a Sensei just takes off on the fly to accomplish the mission on his own. It should be a concerted outreach effort on all fronts, and a goal for all of our dojos.
Of course I’m just a vision caster with no inherent authority. If “Hokkaido 2020” takes shape to move forward, it will take the combined efforts of our senior leadership in all associations working toward this common goal. As a parting thought on “Hokkaido 2020,” all I can say is this: “If we can not unite around the concept of reintroducing Shodo Morita’s art to his hometown in Chitose, what could reunite around?” So who wants to take charge of this project, and who wants to go to Japan?
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