Austin James Sensei

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rsz austin jamesAustin James Sensei was the Area Representative for NSW, he was responsible to Aikikai Australia for all the dojos in NSW. He has held this position since 2010 to 2016, at the 50th Anniversary Summer School, January 2015 Austin was awarded the rank of Rokudan (6th Dan).

 

AJ

When did you first get interested in aikido?
 
First time I saw it was in 1976 when I saw a demonstration by Sugano Shihan, but didn't start until 1982.  
 
When and where did you first start?
 
In 1982, after I left school.
 
Who was/were your Sensei/s?
 
Sensei Roger Savage and Sensei Brian Dibblee. Both were excellent teachers with very different approaches. Additionally, my other teachers were the remarkable Howard Crofts, Peter McNally and Rick Johnson.
 
What was training like in those days?
 
It was very physical and sometimes quite hard. We were all much younger then and I guess that is the way for most of us from that era.  I could move without walking aids then!
 
What did you find interesting about aikido then?
 
It's beauty, power and its fundamental truth.
 
Has that changed now, how and why?
 
It hasn't changed, but hopefully my appreciation of those three elements have through training in the Sugano Shihan's method and my own self awareness
 
What makes you passionate about aikido?
 
How often does one have the opportunity to have a lifelong study which is both fun and rewarding.  It is a work in progress, but the idea of two or more people being able to work together harmoniously in potentially conflicting situations is one of my main passions.  
 
Have you studied other martial arts?
 
Yes, karate and kendo for about two years each 
 
Have you studied under other Sensei/Shihans?
 
I was lucky to find an exceptional master in Sugano Shihan so I never felt the need to study under anyone else
 
Do you have any special moments or memories to share?
 
So many, but the most special for me is the first class Sugano Shihan took in Sydney after the loss of his leg from an illness.  Hard to put all in a short answer, but I saw a man who took his adversity with both hands and allowed us all to see it through the prism of training and how we could all use that example as a path for each of us to follow. And throughout week, he showed us how he could adept and improve despite this terrible loss. Quite special
 
What keeps you coming back?
 
Again many things, but the feeling of comradeship and shared journey with many fellow students both in Sydney and across the world.   
 
What do you see as the future of Aikido?
 
I don't know but, as long as there are people willing to train - even if it is only two - there will be aikido and that's enough.  Aikido will find its own way.  It always seems to.
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Osensei Quotes

If your opponent strikes with fire, counter with water, becoming completely fluid and free-flowing. Water, by its nature, never collides with or breaks against anything. On the contrary, it swallows up any attack harmlessly.
Morihei Ueshiba (Osensei)

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