On June, 6th, the Intercultural Association Italy-Japan Sakura organized the event “Haiku Open Air “. In the gorgeous garden of the Parco della Tesoriera in Turin, participants enjoyed the beauty, depth and distinctive features of Japanese poetry, then trying to write some haiku, in Italian and Japanese.
The Sakura Association is the institution where we have been studying Japanese for some years and is a place made up of people who are able to bled absolute professional and didactic excellence with creativity and delicacy typical of the female genius who Sakura is the burning engine. The sense of beauty and hospitality, combined with seriousness, are the elements that make Sakura an ideal place to grow and nurture relationships.
We were given the opportunity to offer a small public demonstration (enbukai) of Aikido at the end of the event.
On the spirit with which we approach a public demonstration of what we are and what we have to give, Marco Rubatto Sensei wrote a post . With him, seven years ago, we had our first experience of enbukai, in Piazza San Carlo in Turin , and it had been an important moment of growth for us.
Life has given us the possibility, now, of being able to offer in turn the possibility of showing our essence, who we are. A chance given to us and our travel companions of the Hara Kai . It was also a chance, for many people, to be able to try for almost two hours after the performance, the first contact with the tatami and with the weapons (since the current laws only allowed a contactless practice).
Marketing teaches that what you don’t see can’t be bought. Yet, before focusing on understanding if and what outcomes there are for the spread of Aikido and the increase of practitioners thanks to a public demonstration, it would be appropriate to reconsider the enbukai as a fundamental tool for the growth of the practitioner.
The Dojo may sometimes be a comfortable shell, too comfortable. What is done “inside” may never have a moment of confrontation with what exists “outside”. A bit like going to those job interviews, which are useful not to change, rather to understand how others see us.
In ordinary conditions, in Martial Arts the confrontation takes place on the tatami, during the seminars. And it experiences the moment of greatest evolutionary hype in the moment of the test (or, for those who live it, the competition). But it still remains something that lies within a controlled atmosphere environment.
Something different from walking down the street and in parks dressed in a gi, accepting to meet glances, comments and smiles and being able to be surprised of an “oooooh!” for techniques that are “normal” for you – and maybe they didn’t come out that clean.
Kaizen , constant improvement, is dialogic. The ki, which in Aikido is also its syllabic heart, exists just if it is constantly expanding. What we are, what we try to live cannot, therefore, be satisfied with the virtuality or with the oku, with the “secret internal work”.
For this reason, it may be true that we offered a demonstration to those who attended the event, but it is equally true that they gave us a unique opportunity for growth.
Below you can see the whole performance: