In Japanese, the beautiful full moon of mid-autumn on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month is called " Mochizuki ". This year, it falls on September 29th. We give thanks to this beautiful moon for this year’s autumn harvest and wish for good health for the coming year.
The style of our Aikido practice is based on Mochizuki Aikido. This Mochizuki name comes from the founder of this style, Minoru Mochizuki, which actually has no relationship to this mid-Autumn moon. But when I look at this beautiful full moon this year, I am sure that I will feel gratitude for the wonderful martial arts techniques and knowledge that we have inherited from Mochizuki-sensei, and also for the good health that allows me to teach and practice these techniques and knowledge.
Even though I have been teaching for more than 10 years here in Kyoto now, I still regularly question whether or not I am teaching these techniques and ideas correctly to my students. I always challenge myself with the question, "How can I continue to improve my teaching methods and techniques?” In order not to get attached to my own ideas and approaches to teaching due to my own pride, I am always exploring how other martial arts teachers are teaching both techniques and philosophy and then think deeply about how to incorporate these different approaches into my own teaching and training. Every time I learn a new way of thinking or teaching from these other Sensei, I am reminded of my own inexperience, but actually the joy of learning from them is an even stronger feeling.
My own Sensei, Toru Kinefuchi, is a very flexible thinker. He has a firm core set of ideas and approaches to teaching, but he also always listens to suggestions for improvements from others and he is not afraid to change the way he does his techniques and even ukemi. And now he is thinking of ways to simplify the techniques rather than complicate them in order to improve them.
I have also noticed that the many different Senseis who visit my dojo from overseas are very humble and eager to learn new things, which I believe is based on their own wealth of knowledge. They never take the attitude that their way is the best way. I am able to meet and learn from such wonderful teachers because of my relationship with Kinefuchi sensei, who studied at Mochizuki sensei's Honbu (original) Dojo. And this summer, I had a very precious opportunity to learn from many Senseis both in Japan and from all around the world who have been studying and practicing Mochizuki Aikido for decades.
As I listen to the new sounds from the autumn insects and enjoy at the most beautiful mid-autumn moon of the year, I would like to express my gratitude for the opportunities I’ve had to meet these wonderful teachers and for being healthy enough to continue to learn and teach.