Holiday Greeting from Ando Shihan

As this year draws to a close, it’s a good time to take a look back on the year that was. For us at Ryu, it was a wonderful year of rediscovering Aikido. Due the ongoing Corona virus pandemic all extra events were cancelled. There was nothing to focus on but our daily training.

In the Chinese philosophical text from which the Yoshinkan name is taken, there is a quote that reads:
“In some things, preserve your foolishness. Do not swerve from your ambitions and silently feed the gods.”

This was a year where we worked silently, intently, on feeding the Aikido gods.

Because of this, the standard for kyu and dan tests has become much stricter. In the general winter tests held this month, more than 50% of students failed their tests. I feel that the recent testing standard had become too slack. But those who failed previously and tried again had improved a lot. Their failure had sharpened their focus and their desire to improve.

There is a proverb that the strongest plant grows in a gale. Like the students battered by the gale of failure grew stronger, as we are battered by this pandemic we grow stronger.

疾風 勁草 
The strongest plant grows in a gale.

I am sure we will see results bloom in the new year so let us not be downcast or defeated. Let us celebrate the new year with joy and with hope!

Tsuneo Ando