From the Desk of the President
~ There is no data available for this report ~
From the Desk of the Hon. Gen. Secretary
It has been a hectic year for the Association as we worked to map the future direction of the organization after the passing of our Technical Director, Seiichi Sugano Shihan. After many weeks of careful deliberation, we have decided to seek Hombu assistance as well as continue on with Sugano Shihan’s aikido legacy with the help and cooperation of Sugano Shihan Aikido Foundation of Australia.
- Sugano Shihan’s Commemorative School
The MAA was represented by 3 members of the Committee (Tony Yap Sensei, Dr Leong Sensei and Raja Sazita) and a member (Dr Rayney Azmi) at the Sugano Shihan’s Commemorative School in Melbourne from 10th to 16th January 2011. It was a gathering of individuals, groups and organizations who had, and still have, a strong connection to Seiichi Sugano Shihan. It was dubbed a Celebration of a Life and a Legacy. The Seminar was headed by renowned chief of New York Aikikai and founder of US Aikido Federation, Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan (8th Dan).
- Ikuhiro Kubota Seminar
This took place at the Bukit Jalil Golf and Country Resort (Poolside Terrace) from 11th to 13th March 2011. Despite the poor attendance, Kubota Shihan continued to reward us with his very circular and flowing aikido. Time and again, he stressed on good ashi sabaki, correct eye directions and a good posture.
- Aikido Seminar in Bali
This took place from 4th to 8th June 2011. Tan Chew Boon who had been working and training in Japan, and recently returned to Kuala Lumpur, was invited to join the above Seminar which was organized by the Samurai Dojo in Bali. Upon his urging, Low Sensei and Dr Leong Sensei joined Chew Boon at the Seminar which was conducted by Shoji Seki Shihan from Hombu Dojo.
- TTC Weekend Seminar
This was held at the Bukit Jalil Golf and Country Resort (Poolside Terrace) from 23rd to 24th April 2011. George Lo Sensei (6th Dan) was invited and his flight from and to Sydney paid for by the MAA to come and assist the Technical and Teaching Committee (TTC) in its teaching responsibilities.
- Annual Aikido Camp
After a hiatus of about 5 years, the Annual Camp was resurrected. This time it was organized by the MMU Cyberjaya Aikido Club from 18th to 19th June 2011. It was held at Seri Malaysia Hotel in Port Dickson and was very well organized. Our senior Instructors taught at the Seminar and the highlight of the Camp was the bokken practice by the seaside before dawn. The National Kyu Examination was held in conjunction with the Camp for the very first time.
- 12th Malaysian Aikido Seminar
This was held at the Kompleks Rakan Muda Puchong from 1st to 3rd July 2011. The response was good considering that this was the first time that Sugano Shihan did not instruct at the Seminar. And Tony Smibert Shihan did not disappoint, taking us through many of the techniques that Sensei himself would have done. No yudansha examination was conducted at the Seminar this year.
- Hironobu Yamada Shihan Seminar
This was held at the Sports Arena at Wisma Olympic, Jalan Hang Jebat in Kuala Lumpur. The Seminar took place from 14th to 16th October 2001. A group of Singaporeans came from across the Causeway to join us in learning from this very experienced teacher.
- Remembering Seiichi Sugano Shihan (1939 – 2010)
This was held at the HQ Dojo in Jalan Scott on 28th August 2011, a day before his actual day of passing. The simple yet meaningful gathering was held to mark the first Anniversary of his departure.
We were delighted to be asked to participate in Astro Arena’s Aktifpedia programme, introducing Aikido to the Malaysian public via the television.
Dr Leong Kok Weng
I have not done my writings for a long time. Perhaps the beginning of this year is a good time to start. First of all, I want to highlight 3 important events for this year. They are:
- Hombu Shihan visit
- Annual Malaysia Aikido Seminar
- International Aikido Federation Seminar
Hombu Shihan visit
Following the passing of our teacher Seiichi Sugano Shihan, the MAA has turned to Hombu for assistance in conducting Seminars and yudansha examinations. This year we are proud to have Shoji SEKI Shihan visit us. The dates are 23rd to 25th March 2012. Seki Shihan is well known to us senior instructors and we are delighted that he has kindly accepted our invitation. As this is the top event for the year, do mark your calendar to participate in this Seminar.
13th Malaysia Aikido Seminar
After 10 years of learning from Seiichi Sugano Shihan, we are determined to preserve the legacy of Sugano Shihan’s aikido. And thus, we continue our annual July Seminars with the assistance of the shihans from the Sugano Aikido Foundation in Australia. This July, we are very excited to have Robert Botteril Shihan. I remembered that he last came with Sugano Sensei more than 10 years ago and I missed many of his wonderful classes as I had to attend to Sensei. I now look forward to welcoming him in July.
11th International Aikido Federation Seminar
The above Seminar will take place in conjunction with the IAF Congress which is scheduled to be held in Yoyogi from 17th to 24th September 2012. This Seminar happens only once in 4 years and sessions are instructed by the top shihans in Japan and the rest of the world. Aikidokas from all over the globe will gather and train together in the spirit of love and harmony that the Founder propounded. As far as I am aware, more than 25 members from the MAA had already purchased their flight tickets to attend the Seminar. It is not too late to plan your leave and join in the largest overseas delegation that the MAA has sent to any Seminar! A meeting to discuss the programme and tours will be held as soon as more details of the Seminar are forth-coming.
Locally, we will continue to run the Annual Camp (revived last year after a hiatus of 3 years) and the annual Inter-varsity Aikido Seminar.
In view of the busy calendar, we sought the kind understanding of Ikuhiro Kubota Shihan and Hironobu Yamada Shihan to postpone their visits for this year. Fortunately, they were sympathetic to our problem and agreeable to come again in the near future upon our invitation.
As a responsible government recognized Aikikai Aikido organization in Malaysia, it is our job to promote the martial art to more Malaysians and maintain the high level of competence that Sugano Shihan had imparted to us. I urge all members to commit time to regular practice, attend all Seminars and events, and to assist the Association in the expansion and development of Aikido in Malaysia.
Keep on training - that is the secret in Aikido!
See you on the mats!
It's been a while since I updated this column. Well, I am happy to report that things have been going on smoothly and well. The MAA is consolidating and moving ahead!
This weekend we will get to see Hanan Janiv Shihan(6th Dan) of Australia Aikikai. This is his maiden trip to Malaysia and we wish him a pleasant stay here. Sugano Shihan had earlier planned not to come this year because of his busy schedule. Unfortunately also, recently he has taken ill and we wish him a speedy recovery.
The 11th Malaysia Aikido Seminar is the highlight of MAA activities for the year and I strongly urge all members to join. I am sure Hanan Shihan will be more than happy share his dedicated and wide experience doing Aikido under Sugano Sensei's guidance.
Attached please find the approved Report of the Management Committee 2009 for your information and reflection.
The MAA will represent Malaysia at the above Celebration and Country Demonstrations. A great exposure (one 9th Dan shihan and more than ten 7th Dan shihans) and a lot of fun is in store. This is a last call for more members to join the 4-member delegation. Please contact Dr Leong Sensei as soon as possible.
Tony Yap Sensei will be leading a 10-member delegation.
Those interested please get in touch with Tony or Dr Leong Sensei.
The MAA intends to publish a Newsletter twice a year, in the months of April and September. The Executive Committee has approved the appointment of Simon Pollock as the Editor. Invitations are open for members to join the Editorial Committee. Please write in to contactaikido-maacom to volunteer your services. Members may also submit articles for the Newsletter at the same email address.
July is a month of sweltering heat in Malaysia. It is a time when haze tends to appear no thanks to the perennial open burning in a neighbouring country and even within our own territory. In contrast, down south in Australia it is winter with freezing temperatures of 5 or less degrees.
Yet, one man has chosen to brave the extremes of climate to travel from Australia to tropical Kuala Lumpur to teach his students. This year would be his 8th trip, not to enjoy the sunny beaches or rest his eyes on the lush green jungles and highlands but to be on the mat, transmitting what he had learned from the Founder.
So I say to my students, please learn to appreciate this man for he is not an ordinary person. He had endured the tough life and hard training at Hombu during O’Sensei’s lifetime, serving his Teacher without any thoughts of financial reward or security. He followed his Teacher’s fleeting footsteps during his travels, carrying his belongings, finding a seat, buying food and drinks, preparing his tub of hot water and laying out his mattress. He had to stay alert in his sleep in case his Teacher gets up in the middle of the night to ease himself. Such was the life of a disciple (uchi-deshi) under the great Founder. The loyalty and attentiveness developed is something which our modern world is sadly lacking, shoved aside by selfish materialistic and social considerations.
All the present appointed Instructors in the National Technical and Teaching Committee in Malaysia have been training in Aikido for more than 15 years and teaching for at least 10 years. When Seiichi Sugano Shihan consented to be our Techical Advisor in 1997, he drew for us a PATH or direction in the study of Aikido. We seniors no longer have to scratch our heads on how to perform and understand some techniques – we just ask Sensei! We have now a systematic way of training! We were taught the tanto, ken and jo!
Learning from the Instructors is not the same as learning from Sugano Shihan. The Instructors just taught what they have been taught, combined with their past knowledge and experience, hoping to convey Shihan’s instructions to the grassroots. The students will have to be present in Sugano Shihan’s classes to learn from him. Somehow the ‘chi’ that emanates from him does not and cannot be passed on from the Instructors; it has to be ‘received’ directly from him (just as he had from O’Sensei previously).
The annual Malaysian Aikido Seminar, under the Instruction of Seiichi Sugano Shihan is the single most important event for members of the Association. Like a core Textbook, this year’s Seminar is Chapter 8 of the series which first started in 1998 when Sugano Sensei set step in Kuala Lumpur. Year by year, Sensei advances us a little in our understanding and the practice of his Aikido. Irregardless of whether the techniques taught are the same or new, there is always something fresh that we have not been aware of or done.
Lastly, I want to reassure all students that Sugano Shihan’s Seminar is not only for those who are already skilled. It is meant for the whole spectrum of students. It is an opportunity for him to assess the whole group and attend to any weak students. A beginner will get just as much opportunity to interact with Sensei as any yudansha. A chance to meet the ‘real’ Teacher will be an inspiration any student (beginner or senior) and you will find the pain, boredom and drudgery of daily practice melt away.
Dr Leong Kok Weng
National Technical and Teaching Committee
The Association kept its programme running as usual for year 2006. In addition, we were represented in 2 overseas Anniversary Celebrations and 1 Seminar. In February we were pleased to have a visitor and friend from New Zealand, Simon Puffet. An attempt to increase public awareness of Aikikai Aikido via Video Show and Introduction to Aikido Workshop was met with poor response. There was an intention to resume the Annual Camp but the decision came a little too late and it had to be postponed to the following year. The year ended with a spirit-lifting Year End Gathering at the HQ dojo. On that occasion we had Steve Ng Sensei and 3 students from Melbourne and Bernie Ho from Shinjukai Singapore as guests.
The highlights for the year 2006 (besides the quarterly National Kyu Grading) were:
- Aiki-kai Australia 40th Anniversary Gasshuku (Jan 17th - 22nd 2006)
Seiichi Sugano Shihan was sent by the Founder O’Sensei for his first overseas assignment in 1966. He landed in the far-away land of Australia and slowly attracted students who found something unique in his teaching. Since then, 40 years has passed and Sugano Sensei has moved on to spread the Art of Aikido to Belgium, other parts of Europe, the USA and also Malaysia. Despite being based in New York, Sugano Shihan makes it a point to return twice a year for a fortnight to Australia to instruct.
Sharing the historical occasion was the present Doshu, Moriteru Ueshiba (grandson of the Founder) and Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan (his partner at the New York Aikikai).
More than 400 participants took part in the very successful celebrations and we were represented by Tony Yap, Dr Leong, Petra Meijer and Vincent Sia. It was the first time that Malaysians attended Sugano Shihan’s Summer School in Australia. Making them feel at home were George Lo Sensei and his dojo mates and several other Malaysians studying or working in Australia.
- Ikuhiro Kubota Seminar (Mar 11th - 12th 2006)
This year Kubota Shihan was in fine form, having fully recovered from a major illness and well looked after by a companion. We were fortunate to have back with us Tan Chew Boon, a newly promoted nidan who has been studying, working and training in Japan for 7 years. He spoke Japanese like a Japanese and needless to say, was able to translate very word of Kubota Shihan’s teaching. For the very first time, we heard the essence of ‘kokyu soren’ , ‘fune goke undo’ and ways to develop ‘ki’ in a language we could understand.
- George Lo’s Annual Tutorial (Apr 16th – 19th 2006)
We were enriched with George Sensei’s annual return to provide the lead in Technical and Teaching Classes. Many would find his lessons refreshing and useful, especially those going for yudansha examinations in July.
- 7th Malaysian Aikido Seminar (Jul 14th - 16th 2006)
This was our main event for the year and the venue was the newly opened Kompleks Rakan Muda Petaling in Puchong. Joining us were 20 plus students from across the Causeway from Shinjukai (mainly) and Aikikai Singapore. There were 2 Belgians, someone from the UK and also a sprinkling of participants from other dojos. Seiichi Sugano Shihan looked comfortable in his new prosthesis and was in devastating form.
One of the most memorable time during the Seminar was dinner at a Japanese restaurant near Jalan Alor where the foreign participants and their assigned chaperons got up close and personal with Sugano Shihan.
- 3rd Rakan Muda Public Aikido Demonstration (Jul 16th 2006)
In an effort to promote aikido, the above Demonstration was held on the last day of the Seminar. The Guest-of-Honour was YB Tuan Dr Kow Cheong Wei, ADUN Kawasan Kinrara. He was so pleased with the effort that he contributed RM 1000 to the MAA. He commented that it costs much less to practice aikido than to work-out at the Fitness Gyms and the philosophy and the self-defence aspects were much more beneficial. He encouraged the setting up of a dojo in Puchong.
- Hironobu Yamada Seminar (Sep 22nd - 24th 2006)
Two of H.Yamada Shihan’s students, Kenichi Yamada and Kaneo Haga came to join him in the Seminar. The attendance of our members was poor and shameful. Despite that, H.Yamada Shihan shrugged off the disappointment and went on to teach us the finer aspects of aikido and took us through the complicated 24 jo-kata and kumijo of the Tada Shihan group. In the end, we came to the conclusion that as long as there was a sincere effort to practice, the benefit and fun of learning was just as great. Nonetheless we hope members will not lose out on the opportunity to learn from this serious and sincere teacher.
- Hong Kong Aikido Association 35th Anniversary (Nov 3rd – 5th 2006)
The Hong Kong Aikido Association, under Ken Cottier Shihan had many friends around the world and it was no surprise that many aikidokas from around the globe congregated at their 35th Anniversary celebrations. Amongst the Instructors at the Seminar were Hiroshi Somemiya Shihan and Masatake Fujita Shihan from Hombu Dojo. Other notable ones include Hironobu Yamada Shihan, Ken Cottier Shihan, Etsuji Horii Shihan, Tony Smibert Sensei, Mutsuko Minegeshi Sensei and Philip Lee Sensei. The venue was excellent as it was central to most tourist spots and shopping areas. We were represented by Tony Yap, Dr Leong, Petra Meijer, Kenny Teng and Vincent Sia.
A side bonus was the invitation by Michael Leung Sensei to visit his new dojo in Wan Chai. Therein housed one of the largest collection of books, magazines, videotapes and cd/dvds on Aikido that ever existed, including some very rare publications.
- Donovan Waite Seminar (Dec 2nd - 3rd 2006)
Donovan Waite was the uke for Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan in his videotape series Power and the Basics. His great ukemi has always awed me (besides the power and finesse of Y.Yamada Shihan’s technique, of course). When the invitation came from Jakarta, I knew I just have to go despite the fact that I have just returned from the Hong Kong Seminar. Three of us, Low Thian Seng Sensei, Dr Rayney and myself attended this great Seminar along with about 80 local Indonesians. Donovan Waite Shihan has grown out of the shell of just being Yamada Shihan’s uke and has now emerged as one of the finer aikidoka on his own merit.
It has been another active and very interesting year for the Association. The MAA has withstood the test of time and now more and more people in Japan and elsewhere are acknowledging its position as an established Aikido organization in Malaysia. We can only grow stronger in the years to come and I urge all members to help in recruiting more students so that we can become a force to be reckoned with come 2009 when we celebrate our 15th Anniversary.
Dr Leong Kok Weng
Hon. General Secretary
As I drove towards the dojo, my heart sank when I saw the dark Cumulus clouds looming menacingly above and scattered raindrops pelted on the windscreen of my car. Despite fighting a flu which started last night, I had looked forward to an evening of fun and camaraderie.
My heart warmed somewhat after one of the helpers called to enquire about what to do first and casually remarking that there were many people in the dojo already. Many willing hands greeted me as I parked my car and all the plastic bags, containers, pots and a gas-stove were quickly brought up to the dojo 2 floors up a shop-office building.
There were fresh and eager faces, familiar ones and regular die-hards all crowding the relatively small office space which had been converted into our dojo a few years back.
Then, Tony arrived with Bernie Ho, our good friend from across the Causeway, who risked the wrath of his wife’s fury (for not attending a relative’s Wedding Dinner) to come and join us. Shortly after, Low Sensei strolled in with another old friend, Steve Ng Sensei from Melbourne who just happened to know that we have a gathering that night.
At 8.05pm, Ng Sensei started the warm up and took those present through the various aikido techniques that can be used in the event of a mid-level punch. Fortunately, everyone was able to get on the mats even though there was not much space to do falls.
Next Dr Leong used Air-Asia’s motto of “now everyone can fly” to show how one can safely progress to a break-fall by doing a proper basic front row. He also taught on how to get your body to blend with the direction that the nage is leading you. Next, it was ‘show-off’ time for Tony Sensei as he showed how katate tori grabs at different levels could be handled efficiently. Similarly, he demonstrated how yokomenuchi kokyu nage could be executed in 4 different directions. To cap a wonderful night, Low Sensei highlighted the importance of tai-sabaki (in this instance irimi-tenkan) and how it can be practiced to train good and instinctive responses to various forms of attacks.
The picture taking was fun too with students needing to make 4 rows in order for everyone to be seen. After that, it was time for some food and friendly chatter, catching up with friends from other dojos and the guests. It was not until the strings of Negara Ku were heard, indicating midnight that everyone cleared the dojo. What a good ending for an exciting 2006. As we welcome Year 2007, Low Sensei’s words echo in our ears “I want you to train and train; we want to be even better next year”.
Dr Leong Kok Weng
The Star - METRO
25th July 2007
Aikido seminar a MAA regular affair
By NG WEI LOON
Photos by NORAFIFI EHSAN
THE aikido exponents were rolling and tumbling all over the mats as they went through the drills over three days at the eighth Malaysian Aikido Seminar that concluded at the Pusat Komuniti Seri Petaling recently.
And none of them seemed to mind taking repeated falls on the cushioned surface.
They were perfecting their moves under the supervision of Malaysia Aikido Association (MAA) technical advisor Seiichi Sugano.
Sugano guiding two exponents in executing a move.
The seminar conducted by Sugano has always been a regular affair on the MAA's annual calendar.
Sugano said exponents here were showing good progress in mastering the art over the years and the on-going programmes definitely attracted a bigger turnout and contributed to the development of aikido in Malaysia.
“Participants with proper basic skills went through many drills during the seminar. It is not good enough just to know how to perform the fast steps. It is important that they acquire a better understanding of the movements,” he added.
At the moment, the MAA have 12 centres and about 300 members on their database.
“The seminar is a special event for the top instructors nationwide to experience the comprehensive training system,” MAA honorary general secretary Dr Leong Kok Weng said.
This season, only one trainee went through the black belt grading test on the penultimate day of the seminar.
Meanwhile, a total of 14 exponents who passed their black belt grading last year were awarded their certificates.
In control: Mah (right) performing a drill.
The event drew more than 100 participants including foreigners from Australia, Belgium and China.
Beginner Stephanie Feng from China said attending the seminar was a graduation trip for her.
“I have just graduated with a degree from the Shanghai Normal University. I took up aikido with one of the MAA members when I was on my exchange programme stint in Britain in September last year,” said Feng, 23.
In addition, 13-year-old Alice Smith School student Dania Mah was the youngest in the pack.
“I had a great time executing the drills,” said Mah, who has been practising the art for two years.
Besides freehand self-defence manoeuvres, the participants also handled wooden weapons such as stick and those in the shape of knife and sword.
“This is my second outing here. We learned various techniques in an ideal atmosphere during the seminar.
“It is great that we are mingling with friendly locals. We also enjoyed the local food very much,” said Efisio Podda, 55, from Sydney, Australia.
Jalan Hang Jebat, Kuala Lumpur