We attended the Tamura Memorial Seminar in Marseille, France. The seminar was led by Nebi Vural, one of the successors of Tamura Sensei. During the intensive seminar, we practiced with Aikido practitioners from many countries.
Marseille is a beautiful port city, one of Europe’s gates to the world.
Nobuyoshi Tamura also arrived in Europe from Marseille port in 1964. This date would be a milestone for the European Aikido. Tamura was only 31 years old and had been practiced Aikido in the Hombu dojo as uchi-deshi for 11 years.
He had left his country, his dojo, and his teacher and came to France and had a new beginning in his life. Although some Japanese martial arts such as Judo and Karate were known to the public, Aikido was not well known and there were few Aikido instructors in Europe.
I tried to understand the feelings of Tamura sensei as I walked around the port. I’m at the almost same age and same Aikido experience of Tamura sensei when he came to Marseille. Even now, introducing Aikido needs a great effort, he must have made great sacrifices to achieve success.
Today, there are more than 100000 Aikido practitioners in Europe and most of them in France. Did Tamura sensei imagine that Aikido would become more widespread when he landed at the port from his ship and would hold many memorial seminars to commemorate him?
I feel lucky and thankful to Tamura sensei for his contributions to budo and for raising great masters, such as Nebi Vural.