The 30th of january 2011, and the lost of a great person, Shihan, mentor, friend, father,....
It is with a sadness we must all now carry, at the passing of this charismatic extraordinary man, Shuji Tasaki Hanshi, a mentor, a father figure, known as both to some of us.
I remember Shihan Leo Lipinski telling me how he had felt physically sick in the presence of Tasaki Hanshi just from fear alone. Shihan Leo had a huge respect for his teacher.
I recall his stern admonitions in class, but for me, this came from a clarity of purpose, that only the best of efforts and results were good enough to be accepted in his eyes and he wanted us to know and understand such values, if we were to teach his ways, born of experience.
I had the honour to train with him and Fujiwara Sensei in tailor made classes for just a select few. He would teach with passion to just three of us, getting us to perform singularly and to scrutinise every little detail. His shouting or barking at you was never taken as offensive, it was his love for those worthy of his time.
Mmmmm, maybe this sounds a bit like he was only interested in a few seniors, but no! To see him teach those less capable with a smile and then to see him often would walk away chuckling to himself, was a measure of how much he cared for his karate family, HIS Seiwa Kai and ultimately OUR Seiwa Kai. Beyond this, he spent a lot of time and patience with the kids, who he clearly adored, just as they did adore him in return (I have tears in my eyes typing this!).
Let us not forget that we continue to foster the indomitable spirit imparted through him to us.
We are now blessed with Fujiwara Sensei, another gem in the world of karate-do and he has been very close to Tasaki Hanshi for many years. Fujiwara Sensei has my loyalty, as I am sure many of you will show, in striving to maintain the cohesion of this unique Kai, this awesome family that are all a part of.
Beyond just the karate, please look at the friends we have made across the globe, and indeed some we will have yet to meet, in Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA, Canada, Mexico, South America, Brazil, Russia, Portugal, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Hong Kong, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Angola, South Africa, Belgium, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, Italy, India, and of course in Japan ........... forgive me if I have missed anyone's country out from this list, but hey .................. that is one BIG family. A family we share a common interest in .... karate, but from which we also have built so many wonderful friendships and happy memories of time spent together, sweating, learning, sharing, laughing etc.
Please do not waste too much time mourning this great man's passing, let it rather be, that we celebrate his life and reflect on that. Hold him in your mind and in your heart with reverence. He is not dead, he lives on in spirit.
Raise a glass to this man and salute him with a big