New video: AikiTalks with Kei Izawa, Chairman of the International Aikido Federation
I previously talked about the new series of discussions around Aikido that I call “AikiTalks”. Thanks to the support of YouTube Japan, this series is now well under way and I am currently in the planing stages for the fourth and fifth installments. My most recent guest was my friend and former colleague at the International Aikido Federation (IAF), Mr Kei Izawa.
Though I have not made an official announcement, most people know by now that I am no longer involved with the IAF in an official manner. I won’t go too much into details but being mostly interested in Aikido history, it had become evident that my priorities and that of the federation were actually quite different. Also, I must confess that some of the internal and external politics had gotten the best of my initial motivation, so I decided to give Kei my resignation in August last year.
Back in 2015 I decided to accept Kei’s invitation – who was the General Secretary at the time, – to join the IAF first and foremost due to my excellent relationship with him and also due to my respect for he work of the then Chairman, Professor Peter Goldsbury. Kei had a vision and he clearly saw a media need for the federation. On my part, I welcomed the opportunity to continue serving the Aikido community and our relationship produced some excellent results, such as the interview we did together in Iwama with Isoyama Shihan, or the great number of videos produced during the 2016 Congress in Takasaki. Though I have now left the IAF, I am still in excellent terms with both Kei and Peter. I have also offered to Kei to continue providing him technical support, if needed, but in a private capacity.
Interestingly, that newly-found freedom made it so that it felt more appropriate to sit down with Kei and discuss about his vision for Aikido and the IAF. He kindly agreed and we took the opportunity of one of his frequent trips to Tokyo to arrange a meeting. As soon as he got off the plane one Saturday morning, he joined me at YouTube Space Tokyo in Roppongi Hills and we started the shoot straight away.
I hope to have covered some of the most frequently asked questions about the IAF and its purpose. Though I do not necessarily agree with all of the the endeavors of the IAF, I respect Kei’s vision as a Chairman and I think that such a federation clearly has a role to play in the landscape of Aikido. Knowing a little bit about how t works from the inside, I can only show great respect for the work that he or his predecessor are doing for what the consider the greater good. I hope that Kei and I will be able to do a follow up interview in future as there much more I would like to ask him in terms of his conception of Aikido from a technical point of view.