Ueshiba Morihei, O'Sensei's Memorial.
Every year, the Ueshiba family and the Aikikai foundation organize a memorial for the founder of Aikido in Iwama, Japan on April 26th, the date of his death.
Preparation of an event at the Aikikai foundation in Tokyo, before O'Sensei memorial in Iwama, Japan.
In the shinto religion, a memorial is a celebration of Nature and the cycle of life. Life is a celebration and we have to celebrate every spiritual being. Japanese people believe that their ancestors are watching over them everyday. They are thankful because without their ancestors, they would not be here today so it is extremely important to celebrate them. Memorials are usually not performed every year for most people but the Ueshiba family makes it a yearly event.
Until 2020, it was a time for aikido practitioners from all over the world to travel to Japan and be present at the event. Most aikidokas would train in Tokyo at the Aikikai headquarters and then make a special trip to Iwama, Ibaraki prefecture.
I hope we can resume our travels soon to Japan.
After the religious ceremony, everyone gathers, socializes and eats a bento box (lunch box). It is a pleasant and convivial atmosphere.
This last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar organized by the Los Angeles Aikido center in Los Angeles. We trained from 7:45am until 11 am. From 11 am until 11:30 am, a Memorial ceremony was performed by monks from the Zenshuji Soto temple.
Afterwards, we resumed the training for another hour and it was followed by a wonderful lunch at a Korean BBQ restaurant in Little Tokyo.
As Aikidokas, we are all representatives of Aikido and it is important to be thankful at least once year and remember the founder of Aikido. For the students who have the opportunity to travel to Iwama, it also gives them an opportunity to meet other people of different nationalities who share the same passion. For us, who stayed in town this year, it was an opportunity for the local aikido community to get together and share some wonderful moments together. Those times are precious. Please, value them!