The 4th International competition, by Tetsuro Nariyama

On behalf of the Tournament’s organising committee I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you.

This tournament is something of a landmark tournament for us. Firstly this year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Tomiki Kenji Shihan, the founder of competitive
Aikido. Secondly this is the first international tournament of the new millennium.

We are moreover very pleased to be holding this event in Osaka, the city where Tomiki Shihan opened his first purpose built Dojo ;The Shodokan Honbu Dojo.

Tomiki Shihan’s dream was to promote international friendship and understanding through the pursuit of competitive Aikido, whilst at the same time contributing to the development
and perfecting of Aikido practice in the world.

Just before his death Tomiki Shihan again and again stressed the importance and necessity of teaching Aikido abroad. He made it clear to me that this was his wish. So starting in 1982, three years after his death, I have traveled abroad every year teaching his Aikido system in various countries.

At first it was not easy and we encountered a lot of problems and certain misunderstandings arose; most of which were due to language barriers. Regardless of
the problems encountered I always carried one of Tomiki Shihan’s favorite sayings with me; and it helped me to keep going. In English it is equivalent to ” you can’t hide a candle under a bushel” meaning that you can’t stop a good thing from spreading. At this point I would like to say how much I appreciate the various foreign instructors who were so helpful and supportive in those difficult early days.

This is the 4th International competition, and with each successive competition we have seen increases in the numbers of participants, participating countries  and the levels of
performance.
The numbers and levels have increased so much that I can really say that we have a truly international tournament. Also I can  see Tomiki Shihan’s desire of Aikido joining Judo as an official Olympic sport drawing nearer.

In this year’s event we have included things which I find particularly
apt considering this event commemorates the 100th anniversary of Tomiki Shihan’s birth.  Firstly we have officially adopted the “Syumokubetsu Kongo Dantaisen” which

is a mixed team event including the Goshin no  Kata which Tomiki Shihan spent so much of  his time and thought on, as well as various important aspects of our training system.  Second we have invited leading exponents to demonstrate the Kodokan Goshinjutsu Kata    and the Nippon Kendo Kata, which Tomiki Shihan thought so valuable to thefundamental essence of Budo.

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all those people who helped to make this  tournament possible. I would like to thank the tournament staff, the judges and referees for their hard work and preparation day and night. Thank you also to all those people
from overseas who have made the trip to join us here and a special thanks to our guest  instructors for their demonstrations.

To conclude my welcome speech I would like to say that in the future I intend to continue  my promise to Tomiki Shihan of working with all of you towards the development  of Aikido around the world and trying to move us closer towards realizing Tomiki Shihan’s
Olympic dream. Always keeping in mind Tomiki Shihan’s precept of “Waza no shinri wa
hitotsu ” which basically means ” The truth is inthe technique.” Thank you.