A little before the end of 2008, the World Taido Federation published the first issue of The Taido Times. The Taido Times is set to be a twice-yearly magazine full of interesting news, history, and training ideas from Taido dojo all around the world.
If you’re part of an organization that is in the World Taido Federation (which essentially means ,“if you don’t practice in America”), you’ve probably already received your copy. In the meantime, I wanted to give a brief synopsis of the contents.
My first impression when I took the magazine out of the envelope was that of quality; this is not some cheap pamphlet that someone printed up on their home computer. The version sent out in Japan (publishing in Japan and Europe were handled separately) is printed on on nice, glossy stock, and (aside from an insert with some translations) full-color.
It took a really long time for WTF to finally get this thing out, but I’m glad they didn’t cut corners and make a cheap newsletter that people end up tossing in the trash after a quick look-over. The Taido Times is worthy of holding on to. People take high-quality publications more seriously, so it’s nice that this important forum is given the benefit of a polished appearance.
Taido Times Issue One
The front cover features a badass looking photo of Shukumine from his first public performance of enmei no hokei in 1986. I love these old pictures of Taido’s creator doing what he did best.
On the back, Taido’s gojojun is written in Japanese kanji. It would have been nice to have an English version alongside, but I guess English just doesn’t look cool enough.
There were a variety of articles in this issue written by Taido Soke (Shukumine’s family) and instructors and students from most countries where Taido is practiced. Here’s a breakdown:
- Taido Balance by Taido soke. Notes on balancing Taido and life. Taido was designed to be valuable to members of modern society, so it’s important that we consider how to make the most of it. Taido has a lot to teach us about being effective in life, and it goes way beyond just getting stronger and more confident. Taido includes processes that can be applied to any situation. Finding the balance between training and life should be a priority for all Taido students.
- An outline of the history of Taido in the UK. Though they’ve been around for a while now, English Taido has had a hard time getting off the ground. Being a small group with little access to high-level instruction, they’ve had to rely on the efforts of a passionate few to keep going. But they aren’t giving up.
- The story of how Taido came to Denmark. Essentially, the first Taido teacher in Denmark never actually learned Taido. They had a rough first few years, but things have smoothed out considerably.
- A review of a Finnish Taido training camp. There isn’t a lot to say about it here, but I do enjoy reading about how others practice Taido. Camps are a lot of fun, and I wish we had them more often in Western Japan.
- A few paragraphs about the Taido demonstrations at Bercy Martial Arts Festival in France. This is a major event that resulted in a lot of publicity for Taido in France. The French Taido Association has had a lot of support from Japanese Taidoka in putting on these demos, and they were really successful. If you haven’t seen the videos on YouTube, you should check them out.
- Two articles about nutrition and injury prevention from 2002. Though I disagree with some of the the points made, I’m glad to see an attempt at applying science to Taido training. Since Taido is a “scientific martial art,” it only makes sense that we would want to study new developments in sport science and athletics. Though we’re only recreational athletes, we can learn a lot from pro coaches and trainers. These articles are a step in the right direction.
The articles were pretty interesting. I learned a few things I didn’t know about Taido’s history and how it’s practiced elsewhere. There was also a fair amount of information about recent and upcoming events in Taido.
There was also an invitation the attend the World Taido Championships this August in Hiroshima. I can’t repeat often or emphatically enough my recommendation that everyone with the time and money to spare attend this event. Even if you don’t plan to compete, you will learn a lot and make a ton of new friends. Even if you’re new to Taido, visiting Japan needs to be on your list of things to experience. The WTC is the best time for Taidoka to visit Japan.
The last couple of pages lay out the plans for the next issue and make a call for contributions from Taido students. If you have an article idea or some interesting photos to share, definitely get in touch with Alvar. If you have questions you’d like to see answered, send those in too. There are plans to release a new issue twice a year, but this can’t happen if people don’t write to share their experiences.