It is already the end of 2017. It is time for greetings, wishes, and resolutions!
This year I’ve turned 60. In Japan, this is a special time when you take the opportunity to celebrate with family and friends, and thank them for their love and support during all those years.
Reflecting on my life, I realized that most of what has happened would not have been possible without the extraordinary support of family, friends, and students from all over the world. Many times I thought of quitting aikido. Sometimes, taking an easier path in moments of great doubt seemed more lucrative. There were times I wanted to quit aikido because I was not satisfied with my training, or could not see any progress. Other times I simply could not go on due to financial difficulties.
Somehow, life took me through all the ups and downs, and I am still here. I thank all of you in many countries and from all walks of life, because of your love and encouragement, I am still teaching and training in aikido today. Thank you all for being there all these years, walking beside me!
I also want to express my gratitude to my teacher, Shioda Gozo sensei. He gave me hope and inspiration, and he guided me to find my own inner strength. He has pointed the way so that I can find the energy inside myself to do my very best in all my endeavors. Thank you sensei for giving me aikido, thank you sensei for giving me life! I have learned aikido is about reconciliation with others and with oneself. Only peaceful people can bring forth a peaceful world. We need happy, strong, caring people! Peaceful people don’t have the need to fight. Happy people don’t have the need to be arrogant or disrespectful. Strong caring people don’t discriminate, or start a war based on separation. Only when we have truly found peace within, then we no longer need to hide or protect ourselves behind walls or weapons. This is the aikido sensei taught me and this is the aikido I attempt to teach. Because of the path of aikido I am a very happy man, and I feel blessed to be able to share my peace and joy with all of you! Thank you Shioda Gozo sensei for all that you have given me. Thank you Shioda Gozo sensei for all that I am able to pass on.
My resolution for 2018 is to be more thankful each and every day for my loving family, wonderful students, good health, and this happy life! And I take this end of the year opportunity to wish you all a happy life, a loving family, and many friends you can count on. Happy Aikido, Happy Budo, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
Love from Kyoto, Japan
Jacques Payet, December 2017