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2001 International Tomiki Aikido Festival

by Stanley Pranin

Aikido Journal #121

Knife thrust lands wide of its mark

On October 27-28, 2001, the 2001 International Aikido Festival was held at the Maishima Arena in Osaka, Japan On October 27-28, 2001, the 2001 International Aikido Festival was held at the Maishima Arena in Osaka, Japan. The highlight of this Tomiki Aikido event was the 4th International Aikido Tournament which attracted well over 400 competitors from approximately 15 nations. Aikido Journal readers will recall that Tomiki Aikido, or “Sport Aikido” as it is sometimes called, is the only major branch of aikido that incorporates competition into its curriculum.

On Saturday the 27th beginning at 9:30 am, the qualifying rounds in both kata and randori competitions were held. This included both male and female, and team and individual competitions. The remaining qualifying matches in men’s team randori and mixed team competition, followed by a series of demonstrations and the final matches made for an activity-packed schedule on Sunday, the 28th.

Clash of Tanto and Toshu

Japanese athletes trained in dojos and clubs who have their roots in training going back into the 1960s were the dominant force in the tournament. However, many foreign competitors continue to make stronger showings with each successive tournament. The British, in particular, assembled a fine group of athletes that challenged the Japanese for the team randori finals.

I have been present at two earlier tournaments in 1989 and in 1993 and the technical and fitness level of the athletes in general seems to improve steadily. Also, quite a number of participants are cross-training in other martial arts. In fact, the winner in the men’s individual randori competition is also a shoot-fighting competitor.

Tournament results:

Randori kihon kata (mudansha): Naomasa Noshita, Masahiro Izutsu (Osaka Commercial College, Japan)

Randori kihon kata (yudansha): Junji Konaka, Noriaki Shirai (Ryoshokai, Japan)

Goshin no kata: Steven Evans, Abi Bown (U.K. Shodokan)

Free enbu: Takahiro Abe, Kazuyoshi Fujimoto (JAA Shodokan, Japan)

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