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Sensei Celebrates Sixty [327]

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Sensei Celebrates SixtyWhat an evening! The Shin Ryu Aikido class at Action Martial Arts planned a surprise birthday part for Sensei Gayer. His first surprise was to have a full class in attendance. We went through our warm ups and moved into our techniques with vigor.

The birthday surprise was sprung when his wife and a number of former students arrived with cake during class. He left us on the mat, happily practicing our techniques to reunite with old friends. He didn’t let us off the hook just because cake had arrived though. We practiced some vigorous waza to make up for the short class.

Then Sensei surprised us. He had received a Gohei from his Sensei (Koichi Barrish Sensei), who now leads the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America. Each member of the class performed the purification ritual with the Gohei to remove the impurities (tsumi/kegare) that we had collected over the past year. (See the December 13th event here.)

We presented Sensei with his gifts after class was over. He is wearing one of them in this picture.

For men, the 60th birthday is called kanreki, the recognition of his “second infancy.” The Japanese characters in the word kanreki literally mean “return” and “calendar.” The traditional calendar, which was based on the Chinese calendar, was organized on 60-year cycles. The cycle of life returns to its starting point in 60 years, and as such, kanreki celebrates that point in a man’s life when his personal calendar has returned to the calendar sign under which he was born.

Traditionally, friends and relatives are invited for a celebratory feast on one’s 60th birthday. It is customary for the celebrant to be given a red hood and wear a red vest. These clothes are usually worn by babies and thus symbolize the celebrant’s return to his birth. [From

But wait!  There’s more!  Sensei Moss, who runs Action Martial Arts, had set up strobes in one of the practice rooms.  The Shin Ryu group tends to attract gadget geeks.  There were four of us with cameras.  The strobes were set to slave mode and fired every time one of used the flashes on our cameras.


Written by arangodan

December 2, 2009 at 8:30 am

One Response

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  1. At 60 he still looks dangerous. The silly shot could have been sillier. Perhaps the cats holding the camera when it fired???
    It all looks like fun.



    December 2, 2009 at 3:49 pm

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