Meander Valley Gazette

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Practising the art of Aikido

SportJoanne EisemannComment


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DECEMBER 2015 | David Claridge

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AFTER A WEEKEND of intense training, students of Aikido found themselves relaxing and eating sushi under the cherry blossoms along the Meander River bank in Deloraine

The annual event called Hanami geiko (which means the ‘flower viewing training’ in English) is about peace and nature.

Hanami Geiko organiser, Bodhi McSweeney, who has coordinated the event for years, told us, “It all started with our Aikido club following the Japanese tradition of Cherry Blossom viewing with an informal picnic at the peak of the flowering.”

Event founder and President of Aiki Kai Australia, Tony Smibert, remembers how a Japanese businessman, Rick Shiritori, came to the district and donated the Sakura, Flowering Cherry Trees.

“Over the years the cherry trees have grown and now they ,are quite impressive.”

“It is now a national Aikido event with people coming from other states,” he said.

The training took place at the newly built Dojo (training hall) in Meander. Martin Bratzel and his wife Bodhi own Tenchi Farm Dojo. Martin, Tasmanian Aiki Kai Area Representative, stated, “The dream started a long time ago and is ongoing.”

“The most important part of the dojo is the people who train in it. There is a wonderful group of people training in Tasmania and we continue to use the Dojo for trainings and seminars.

“Aikido is something we practise in the Dojo but it is also a place for people to use for other activities,” he said.

Ms McSweeney added “Aikido, the art of harmony and self-defence, has had a strong presence in Deloraine for over 30 years. It is under the guidance of Tony Smibert Shihan, the President of Aikikai Australia who is, unbeknown to most, one of the world’s great proponents of the art.” .

“Aikido has a mission to contribute to the world through a spirit of peace, love and harmony which is what we aim to do with our new facilities, also available for non-aikido events.”


[udesign_icon_font name="fa fa-camera" color="#000000"] Mike Moores