Contributed by Andre Raymond*
The De-Ai Aikikai in Ottawa, Ontario was pleased to host William Gleason Sensei, founder and director of Shobu Aikido of Boston, at its second annual Spring Seminar, during the weekend of May 26 - 28, 2000.
The seminar was a great success, with a large local Ottawa Area participation and visitors from Montreal and New York, as well. Classes began on Friday evening and continued with morning and afternoon classes on Saturday and Sunday. Gleason Sensei, who studied in the early 1970's at Honbu Dojo with Seigo Yamaguchi Shihan and is fluent in Japanese, took the opportunity to elaborate upon the name of our dojo, "De-Ai." De-ai, in simplest terms, means "to meet." In the martial sense, it refers to the initial encounter between two practitioners, an encounter that may involve friend or foe. In another application, it refers to "first touch" or first contact - with swords or empty handed strikes. Gleason Sensei proceeded to demonstrate for the class the principles of de-ai and its profound implications in aikido.
While the tone of the classes was serious and everyone was intent on learning from this gifted teacher, a great time was had by all. Throughout the training, there were smiles on the faces of participants, sometimes even when falling or sailing through the air. At the conclusion of the seminar, several black belt candidates tested for rank. Congratulations are in order; everyone passed!
De-Ai Aikikai members join Colin West Sensei in thanking Gleason Sensei for an inspirational and enlightening seminar.
* Andre is a student at De-Ai Aikikai, and also serves as official dojo web designer, photographer, and PR man.