by Francis Takahashi shihan; published in Aikido Journal, Jan 25, 2008
A week of training is always a special time. It is even more so when the ingredients make the simmering concoction a singular and history making event as well. Such was the Bridge Seminar!
To meet and greet established friends, creating new friendships, and experiencing personal discoveries about oneself and the people you interact with, simply do not allow you to remain unchanged.
The great masters Doran, Ikeda, Murashige, Tissier and Vriesman were in their usual fine form, and the guest instructors were revealing in their performances and gifts of sharing. Nonetheless, the real stars at this event were the many enthusiastic, supportive and dedicated aikidoka from all over the United States, Canada and Europe. It was their intensity at training, being open to the contrasting styles of the excellent presentations, and maintaining their energy and joy of training throughout, that made the biggest impression on me. There is no way that I can describe my gratitude and appreciation adequately. I simply hope to see them all again at the next Bridge Seminar.
Special thanks go to Jeff Soderman Sensei and his tireless group who made every effort to make us all comfortable (outside of training), organized and centered on the reasons we came, for the training.
Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei is rightly known for his awesome expertise, business acumen, and for his success in finding ways to remain the decent, approachable and compassionate man we love and respect. Only such a man could bring about a venue that dares to challenge the existing aikido leaders and their students to think beyond their individual dojo walls and to join in joyful training.
A mind expanded by a new thought or notion, simply cannot shrink back to its original shape. It is my hope that minds will continue to be shaped and expanded by events like the Bridge Seminar series!
Francis Y Takahashi