As most of you know, Aiki Kai Australia regularly invites very high-level instructors from overseas to visit us and give us an insight into their knowledge. We are always very grateful to these teachers to come so far and therefore have constantly been on the lookout to give them a meaningful gift in return, which reflects both Aikido and Australia. This has always been an extraordinarily difficult task, particularly as the item usually has to be packed into a suitcase for international travel!
Recently, we commissioned a member in Victoria, Graham Coombe, who is adept at woodworking, to make some gift kamidanas for us. Before we go too far, a kamidana is a small Shinto shrine in which resides the spirit of the location; house, dojo, store etc. You will have seen one of our recent news articles where Ken Trebilco Sensei was given one of these new kamidana in commemoration of his 40 years at Hobart Dojo. One could easily say while he is very much alive, his spirit is definitely imbued into the being of Hobart Dojo!
The wonderful thing about these kamidanas Graham has hand-constructed for us is they come apart like a jigsaw puzzle and can be packed flat for transporting then easily assembled, without any tools, to lock together as a solid structure which can sit on a flat surface or be wall mounted.
Graham made one version out of pine, for a clean, white and aesthetically pleasing look but then went one better by adding greater Australian significance to each kamidana by creating certain parts using Huon pine and native Tasmanian oak. As you may know, Huon pine trees can be a thousand years old and are now rightfully protected. However, early settlers often used Huon pine in their building and many pieces have been salvaged and reused. It is theses saved pieces that have been used to construct our ‘very special’ kamidana, using Tasmanian oak for the base and Huon pine for the roof. Thus, we now have something that features Japanese heritage, is made in part from very significant Australian wood and encompasses the ‘spirit’ of the gift which is giving and receiving, from us to our special guests. The official gift also includes the Aiki Kai Australia logo very cleverly imprinted on the back board. The whole kamidana is extensively hand polished using homemade beeswax from local bees.Graham has kindly consented to make these kamidana more widely available. If any members of Aiki Kai would like to give one as a special present to an instructor, organise one for their dojo or even get one for their own home, please contact Graham here <email@example.com> if you would like to know more about cost and delivery time.
For the AKA gifts we will hang a miniature scroll of Sugano Sensei's calligraphy inside