For the very first time Shin-nen-keiko was held in Stockholm and was organised by Sensei Åke Wall.
We gathered in the dojo of Oyama Karate Kai and started according to tradition with a written test. After having searched our memory for Japanese words and Taikiken knowledge and contemplated last year’s progress and suitable goals for this year we were happy to move to a Japanese restaurant for dinner.
Back in the dojo we were surprised by Sensei McDonagh who gave us all a small gift. Andreas Braula and David Stenqvist were even more surprised to be awarded the grade Oku-iri Nidan.
By far most surprised, however, was Sensei Åke Wall who was presented a unique diploma – in a beautiful frame were two documents, one bearing the signature of Soke, Yoshimichi Sato Sensei, the other signed by two European Taikiken Kyoshi, Jan Kallenbach och Marshall McDonagh. On the diplomas was written: MENKYO, Renshi Godan (A small step for mankind, but a giant leap for Yoshinken).
The remainder of the evening was devoted to the customary presentation of the members, more or less artistic, contributions with contemplations regarding life inspired by Taikiken. As always it was interesting to see the various angles of the different contributions and to listen to Sensei McDonagh´s comments.
Sunday morning, 8 o´clock to be precise, we met up in a dusk Eko temple in the Haga park.
A welcoming light extended towards us when Sensei Åke lit up the lantern (supported by an enlightened kenpoka), used by the Stockholm group during the first training session each year, as a symbol of the start of the new year.
After the traditional welcoming ceremony, practice commenced with the special Ritsu-zen, specific for Shin-nen-keiko. This is when you reflect on your practice during the past year and what goals you set for the coming year.
Next came Yuri, Hai and Neri, followed by a Shin-nen- keiko novelty. This is the first time bokken and jo is included in Shin-nen-keiko. Sensei Marshall held a short demonstration of bokken and jo. Another novelty this year was Sensei Marshall participating as a kenpoka. He left Sensei Åke in charge of the training.
Training finished, a hungry group of kenpoka went to the house of Sensei Åke to eat a very nice brunch prepared by him and his family.
We want to extend our thanks to Sensei Marshall bringing presents and the Wall family for a very nice and tasty brunch.
Lennart & Esko