Iaido Journal Sept 2005
First Brock Iaido Summer Seminar:
the Bill Mears Memorial
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Over 60 Iaido students from Ontario, Quebec, New York State and even
British Columbia attended the August Anaguma Kan iaido seminar at Brock
University in St. Catherines Ontario.
This was a bittersweet meeting due to the unexpected death by heart
attack of Bill Mears, the instructor at Brock University and one of the
pioneers of the current iaido community in Ontario. You can read more
about Mears sensei in This Story.
The seminar was a two day event with instruction led by Goyo Ohmi
sensei, 7dan head of the CKF iaido section. He was assisted by almost
all the 4, 5 and 6dan instructors in Ontario. Topics included both Zen
Ken Ren iai and Koryu.
While it was a sad occasion, especially the final demonstration in
memory of Mears sensei, I was reminded that instructors may pass away
but their instruction remains. Just as we carry the genetic material
from our ancestors in our physical bodies, in the martial arts we also
carry fundamental ideas and movement patterns from those who came
before us. In the 1970s the concept of the "meme" was developed to
explain the spread and persistance of ideas and other culturally
inherited traits. The "meme" can be considered the unit of transmission
in iaido, and in this sense you can be called the child of your sensei.
Looking out over the students at the seminar, and thinking of what and
how Bill taught, I saw him over and over again on the floor. I saw his
timing, his emphasis in a kata, and even quirks of movement that he
would surely have tried to beat out of his students. These memes will
persist into the next generation of students, and through them to
further students so that Bill's essence, his influence on iaido will
continue far longer than our memory of the man himself. As long as his
students continue to practice and teach, his iaido will remain.
Here are some photographs of the seminar
taken by Lauren Taylor. (The out of focus group shot is not her fault).