On August 6, 2017, our dojo had the honor of hosting Ryuji Sawa Sensei, 7th Dan, visiting from Japan. Sawa Sensei was hosted by Hans Goto Sensei on behalf of the TAA, and our dojo was one of several TAA dojos that he taught at over a span of a week.
Sawa Sensei was a student of the Founder when he was a teenager, and his brother is Shigemi Inagaki Shihan, current head of the Founder's Ibarki dojo (Iwama). It was an awesome experience, as his connection to the source was apparent.
Sawa Sensei with the Founder
The mat was full to capacity, and class was spirited and enjoyable. Sawa Sensei demonstrates clearly and slowly, and overlooks with a smile, stepping in and helping wherever he sees fit.
Dojo member Eddie Guardarramas had this to say about his experience: His technique was unbelievable. He was so relaxed. He made everything seem so easy. It was all spirals, angles, stance, placement, distance, and he never flexed a muscle. At one point, there I was, doing a technique with my partner and he came up and had me grab his hand. Before I knew it, a circle had formed around us. I was terrified, but he was so relaxed. He just toyed with me. And at one point he threw me and pinned me using just one finger. A fascinating, and inspiring man. So glad I was able to meet him.
We look forward to the chance to train with Sawa Sensei again. Thanks to Goto Sensei and the TAA for bringing him out to California and including our dojo in the tour!