Iaido Journal Nov 2007
A Special Box for a Special Club
copyright © 2007 Rhona-Mae Arca, all rights reserved
all began with a simple request.
asked if I could put sword holders in our old box,” said Tobi
Breuer, a member of the Calgary Iaido Club.
a furniture and interior design journeyman of 10 years, saw the
request as an opportunity. “I have an idea,” he said to Chris
sensei. “We could build a new box.”
was something Tobi really wanted to do for the club. “When I moved
to Calgary,” Tobi explained, “I didn’t know anyone. Iaido
wasn’t something I had in Switzerland because of the weapons. When
I came to the club, everyone was so open and friendly. I wanted to
make it extraordinary for the club. A special box for a special
design came to Tobi rather quickly. “It was just in my head,” he
said. “I was thinking about putting the pieces together, showing
where we are right now and where the martial art is from.”
selected cherry and maple wood, red and white to symbolize Canada and
Japan. He especially wanted cherry wood because of its significance
didn’t go as smoothly as planned. While working on a drill press to
make the sword holders, Tobi had an accident, lacerating his thumb.
He had to go to Emergency, where they performed a partial amputation
of his left thumb. “No training for a month,” said Tobi ruefully.
finished product is a work of art. The Canadian flag is on the top of
the box, with the maple veneer serving as the red and the cherry, the
white. The front panels, when closed, resemble the Japanese flag.
They open to showcase various photos as well as calligraphy by
Yamamoto sensei. Sword holders are on the cover and in the main part
of the box. The craftsmanship is truly top notch.
gush over our box when we take it out and exercise great care when we
return it to storage. It has become much more than a sword box; it’s
our shinzen as well as a symbol of commitment, hard work, sacrifice
and a passion for excellence.
a teen, Tobi studied judo and jujitsu. When Tobi came to our club a
little over 1-½ years ago, he was looking for something
different. “I was looking for something that had more of the
samurai spirit. Being a samurai isn’t just being a warrior. It’s
an art too.”
course, the coolness factor influenced his decision to study Iaido –
to a degree. “Not everybody has a sword,” said Tobi with a grin.
also trains to run marathons. He ran his first marathon in Vancouver
this past May – the full 42 kilometres. To Tobi, Iaido and running
go hand in hand. When he’s running, he draws upon two lessons he
has learned from Iaido - patience and perseverance.
learn about your mistakes. With patience and the will to improve
yourself, you can make things better…or extraordinary.”
To Tobi, it’s just the way to go, not just in Iaido, but in all
areas of life.