This article tells the story of the dojo of Geneva (Katsugen Kai, the regenerating movement group), in it we find the watermark of Itsuo Tsuda’s journey from his early years in Europe. It was published in « Journal du dojo » April, 1987. Written by a co-responsible of the dojo, Sven Kunz, reproduced with the kind permission of the author. The article is preceded by an extract of letters Itsuo Tsuda sent to Geneva in 1975.
Work, this is what allows us to have two feet on the ground.
I do not preach to escape, to resignation. Utopia doesn’t exist anywhere except where one is. If you know to wait, interior changement will be made and you will not see things the same way.
In the West there is the phenomenon of strong fixation, and it is inevitable that one indulges in discussion.
I have never stopped people to discuss, it’s their favorite sport. Nowadays, these pointless discussions have almost disappeared.
A lot of people come to us out of curiosity but many stay just enough time to stick a label and then disappear. However, the number of practitioners is increasing gradually.
Cerebral hypertrophy, multiple system atrophy, are diseases of civilization. In the past, religion imposed on us the value of work, the value of family, the value of life. Today we must rediscover ourselves the value of our life, without to resort to the Church authority.
I know the reactions you described. When I am present, they are not afraid. When I am absent, they begins to be afraid. From my point of view, they are afraid of things that do not scare me. But when it comes to things that scare me, they are not afraid. They remain indifferent. They wear inverting glasses.
All I hope for is that they will continue. They will find the truth by themselves.
Rome isn’t build in a day. To become detached of structured mentalities takes time. Time works straightforwardly for us.
Meeting by Sven Kunz
I met Mr. Tsuda in Gstaad (station in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland), at a workshop macrobiotic by lady Tartière in December 1972. To enliven the macrobiotic courses, people in charge invited masters of various disciplines. Yoga, aikido, zazen, etc.. Mr. Tsuda was therefore a guest, not a follower of macrobiotics.
During this first period, from 1973 till 1976-1977, in Geneva we only practiced the regenerating movement. After contacting Mr. Tsuda in his dojo Epinettes in Paris, a first workshop was organized in Geneva in September 1973. The workshop lasted 10 days.
From that date on, Mr. Tsuda came to Geneva to give 4 workshops of 10 days per year.
The first year workshops and regular practice were held in rental spaces in town. From November 1974 thanks to the initiative of Christoph, we could have fixed premises and from that date, all our activities have taken place in our current dojo, Avenue Giuseppe-Motta
At that time, Mr. Tsuda, who lived alone, his wife having remained in Japan, stayed at the hotel.
Mr. Tsuda liked neither tourism nor social niceties and he took advantage of his spare time to write his books. He greatly enjoyed the quiet atmosphere of Geneva, which allowed him to quickly proceed his work.
This period was an euphoric period in Geneva, there were many participants in the workshops (it was not rare to see 70 to 90 persons) and in the regular sessions (from 3 to 6 sessions per week) 15 to 20 persons per session.
The atmosphere during the sessions was quite extraordinary (huge collective laughter, tears, cries animal alike, somersaults and so on) maybe it wasn’t really the regenerating movement, but « it did some good » and Mr. Tsuda let it be. The workshops were followed by wonderful picnics and impromptu dancing parties. Almost all regular sessions ended in the bistro with big discussions and great laughter.
Contacts between the dojos of Paris and Geneva were very good and I remember a Christmas workshop in Paris for which at least 15 persons of Geneva changed places.
Needless to clarify that through the contact with Mr. Tsuda, very rapidly, not so many people continued practicing macrobiotics.
Next to a trip of Mr. Tsuda to Japan and the arrival of Ms.Tsuda in Europe in May 1976, many things changed in our dojo as in other ones. Mr. Tsuda then told us that we should not confuse regenerating movement with abreaction (letting of steam). The movement sessions have become calmer and more concentrated, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Cries and gesticulations gradually disappeared. But for some people, the transition was too sudden and at the time many practitioners did quit. We later found a certain groups’ atmosphere (outside of the sessions), but it has never been again like in the first years.
Ms. Tsuda then advised us to also practice aikido. So in May 1977 we installed tatamis in our dojo, previously, the ground was only covered with a carpet.
A six weeks summer seminar was organized in Geneva in July and August 1977. We finished this seminar reaching the end of our tether, but it allowed us to pay for the installation of almost all mats completely.
From January 1978, Mr. Tsuda came regularly conducting 5 days’ workshops of regenerating movement and aikido, every month until January 1983. There have been ups and downs, the number of participants in workshops fluctuating from 20 to 70 persons, participants in regular sessions fluctuating from 2 to 20 persons.
At this time, the dojo Geneva organized summer seminars in Arcachon, in 1979 and 1980, seminars with a very friendly atmosphere.
From 1977 to 1982, the people responsible for the dojo took care of typing out the booklets of Mr. Tsuda and photocopying and sending them to subscribers. They were also involved in publication and dissemination of the schedule of the workshops of Mr. Tsuda for different dojos (Paris, Geneva, Brussels, Palma, Ibiza, Madrid). From 1973 to 1983, about 1000 persons attended the dojo Geneva.
From l974 the dojo Geneva was run by Christoph and myself, being the administrators. The dojo Geneva is a simple partnership and not an association. There are currently no gatherings or meetings, but the important things are discussed informally after the sessions.
Throughout this period, Mr. and Mrs. Tsuda stayed with Christoph. Ms. Tsuda cooked for us a lunch (absolutely marvelous food) and we cooked a simple diner so she could attend the regenerating movement sessions.
We had a very pleasant time together as a family, at often very funny moments, this to the astonishment of those who believed one had to be serious to comprehend the movement and aikido.
Mr. Tsuda was a bon vivant who liked good food and good drinks. He enjoyed both the Asian cuisine and French cuisine with his glass of red wine. He also liked good cigar.
Concluding, I would say that Mr. Tsuda (in Geneva we have never called him Master Tsuda, but we considered him as such) was an unusual character and he has left a great emptiness behind him after his death.
After the death of Mr. Tsuda, we have made some changes in our schedules. Currently our activities are still ongoing. The Geneva dojo can count upon about thirty inflexible persons to pursue the path shown by Mr. Tsuda.
Sven Kunz, april 1987