■June 01, 2015
Contributor: Monterey Branch Master Kazuki Arita
On May 8th (Fri), 2015, 8 kenshi of Monterey Branch joined in a Shorinji Kempo demonstration for “Language Day” at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLI) in Monterey, California, U.S.A. The participants were Mr. Fumio Nishimura, Mr. Mitsugu Mori, Mr. Merced Rodriguez, Mr. Cleto Fernandez, Mr. Teeger Blasheck, Ms. Isabel Correia, Mr. Jeremy Diamson, and Kazuki Arita.
DLI is regarded as the world’s largest and finest language school managed by the U.S. Federal Government (the Department of Defense). It is located in Monterey along the central coast of California. The school provides resident instruction in 24 languages and dialects courses to more than 3500 military and U.S. Government officials, 5 days a week, 7 hours per day with 2 or 3 hours of homework each night. There are more than 3500 military and U.S. Federal Government officials. Generally, students spend between 26 and 64 weeks at the school until the graduation, depending on the difficulty of the language. (http://www.dliflc.edu/index.html.) I (Kazuki Arita) teach the Japanese language at DLIFLC. I used to teach Shorinji Kempo at the gym of DLI in 2005 before the branch was moved into Monterey town in 2006.
“Language Day” is an open house to general public in order to introduce the language school and many languages and cultures. The Shorinji Kempo demonstration collaborated with Kendo demonstration was held in order to introduce Japanese Martial Arts as Japanese culture on behalf of the Japanese Branch having 70 years’ history at DLI since 1942.
First, I briefly explained the philosophy of Japanese martial arts and Shorinji Kempo while emphasizing that the purpose is not for fighting or entertainment, but for education and better society. Then, we demonstrated Kihon from Kaisoku-Chudan, and Goho and Juho techniques in pairs.
Although it was a short-time, the audiences seemed to enjoy watching and but were very impressed with our big kiai and sharp movements. This year, the embu by Ms. Isabel Correia (6 years old) impressed all the audiences very much. When Isabel did Gyaku gote, they gave big hands to her.
To participate demonstration in public is a great experience and opportunity for them to have strong mind and spirit. They felt less nervous and could show techniques in the same way as they usually practice in the dojo if they train to have strong mind.
I really appreciate the participants’ precious time, effort, and great kindness to join in the demonstration. We plan to continue demonstrating Shorinji Kempo at DLI in order to help spread the name and philosophy of Shorinji Kempo and the Founder Doshin So in the U.S. Gassho.