Tamura sensei Interview, Alison Lane

Interview with Tamura Sensei
 conducted during the 1998 national seminar by Otomo Alison Lane
reprinted from Kiai Australian Ki Society Newsletter (3)1998

Q1. Is there differences in attitudes to Aikido by people in different countries 
Ans: Yes, in some countries people are more into competi- tion, more into the martial aspects of Aikido. They believe only in strength, and test visiting Senseis to find out how strong they are. This attitude is a waste of time and limits their ability to learn from their teachers. People need to have a beginner’s mind and learn what they can from everyone with whom they work. 
It is important to start from the beginning in learning, not to assume that you already know something. Each person passes on their knowledge, so although it may take one person 20 years to reach a certain point, but their students may learn from them and attain the same knowledge in 10 or 5 years, they do not have to take the same amount of time. They can then build on that knowledge and this is what allows progress and development of the art. 

Q2. What is the importance of Ki training for Aikido students, and how can people train to make their Ki stronger? 
Ans: Kiatsu has broader meaning, not just healing. Practice kiatsu for yourself and other people. It is important to do kiastu often in order to improve your ability to conduct and extend Ki. 
It is easy to put blame, on yourself and others. It is important to stop blaming...whether it be God, the universe, yourself or others. We are used to seeing newspaper articles about a murder, for example, and we make a judgement about the person who did this thing, that they are bad. It is better not to judge others...who is bad, who is good? You are not in a position to judge because you can never see the whole picture, eventually we will all be judged by the universe for what we do anyway. 
All people want to be loved, but first of all we need to love. We need an attitude of giving without the expectation of receiving something in return. Loving someone is not about control, it is an act of giving. You should not love simply in order to get love in return. The more you live like this...not judging and loving others, the more you expand your aura and make it brighter. By doing this you therefore have stronger Ki. 
And do not try to show off that your power is strong, because this attitude will stop your power. 

Q3. How can Aikido students use what they learn in order to make the world a better place, not just to use it for themselves but to improve other peoples lives. 

Ans: This depends on the individual. You need to look around you and see what people need. Just listening is one of the best things you can do, but is a very difficult thing to do. Talking is much easier than listening well. It takes great patience and discipline to just listen for as long a person needs without making comments or giving advice. 
Many people are too busy to just take the time to listen. Don’t push your own solutions onto the people who talk to you, although sometimes it may be helpful to relate things that you know of, or that have worked for you. But offer these things only as suggestions. Sometimes all that people need is someone who will listen without judging them. 
Support people in what they want to do. Some people think they are not clever because they do not excel at a certain thing, but this may because they are not interested in. They prob- ably do well at the things they enjoy. Help people by helping them to see the positive aspects of themselves and their lives. 
Giving of your ideas costs nothing, but may be a great help. By learning much yourself, you are in a better position to give advice and support to others than if you yourself are ignorant. It is important to keep learning, not just Aikido but everything that you can. When helping people, as with giving Kiatsu, try to see the real cause of the problem and treat that, rather than the symptoms.