7th International Aikido Tournament, Vandalia 2007

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### Seminars ###

Nariyama Shihan conducted two seminars. The lectures and teaching points were translated by Bob Dziubla Sensei of Shodokan USC in California, whose speech became more fluid as the seminars progressed. The seminars focused on the importance of maintaining high standards and technical precision. One could observe during the
tournament that the execution of the Junanahon varies from club to club, with sometimes very notable differences. The Kihon (basic form) is different from and should not be confused with the applications and variations. The basic form of the Junanahon (kihon no kata) contains crucial points and principles of Aikido Kyogi, which are exploited in both kata and randori. Seminars at an international offer the chance to learn the principles. The seminars were therefore welcome by the participants of the tournament. It was noted that many BAA members failed to participate in these events, filming them instead.

### Judges/Referees ###

Only a handful of referees could judge well and worked very hard to raise the standards of the event, attempting to make up for their colleagues’ unprofessionalism. Indeed, many did not understand the rules well and made arbitrary calls during randori bouts, calls, in other words, which had little to do with fact, principle or system. It is of course necessary to understand the principles of both Aikido and refereeing.
Regrettably, most did not meet the criteria for refereeing. The people in charge of scoreboards and timekeeping appeared equally unprofessional.

### Players ###

“The quality of the players outside Japan has considerably improved,” commented Omori
Ryuichi Sensei (formerly Sato Sensei). However, there are still some players who are not familiar with the rules and regulations governing Aikido Kyogi (e.g. clothing norms). Where regional competitions may tolerate a certain amount of individualism, international events have to firmly adhere to a set of norms. Such absurd words of advice as “Use your power!” shouted by one player to another, displays of poor quality techniques appealing only to the unknowing eye, will become rare occurrences. As players continue to raise their levels of competence and skill, and become more closely acquainted with the rules and principles of Aikido, tournaments will assume a more professional form.

### Food ###
Some of the non-Japanese members of the JAA
Shodokan team made the comment that the food
served in Katsuura, Japan in 2005 was more
suited to competing athletes than the food on offer
in Vandalia. The Japanese members did not
express any concern on this subject.

### Conclusion ###
Most of the events started on time. The JAA
Shodokan team enjoyed the tournament
tremendously and was grateful to its American
hosts for the extensive preparations they had
undertaken and their management skills during
the games. Having said that, the American effort
did not compensate for the lack of qualified
referees and court management staff. The number
of individual competitors and participating teams
was low, which is partly explained by the World
Championships’ two-year cycle, a frequency
perhaps not everyone is able to follow.

All the past events are lessons that we hope will
help us to
festival/tournament in 2009 in Kyoto. We wish to
see a great number of competitors and together
deepen our understanding of Aikido.