Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Remembering the Legend and the 'Hard Bastard': Key builders of Canadian Iaido

These last couple of days before the new year is typically a time for reflection. And while many of us will look back at 2014 with a mixture of accomplishment, regret, and nostalgia, we should also take this opportunity to reflect on those who got us to this point; and have laid the foundation to a brighter future, full of possibility.

The Legend
I started Iaido in 2004, but even before that I had started reading up on the art and its growth in Canada. Besides the usual suspects, the current leaders in Ohmi, Cruise, and Taylor, another name kept popping up: Haruna. Who was this man and why did everyone speak of him with such awe and reverence? I'll let the words of those who knew him best from his time in Canada speak for themselves:

The 'Hard Bastard'
I recently became aware that a new member of our Iaido dojo had actually started training over 10 years ago in St. Catharines, Ontario, but had to stop due to various other commitments. Back in 2003, Iaido in Southern Ontario was expertly organized and taught by one Bill Mears Sensei; a tall, bearded transplant from the UK who was affectionately referred to as a "Hard Bastard" by his many friends, colleagues, and students of Iaido in Canada. His tragic passing in 2005 of a heart attack left a hole in the hearts of many across the country and around the world. His legacy is still remembered and honoured by a tight-knit group of Iaido students; a community that he helped build.

Spring 2015 will be the 10 year anniversary of his passing, so let us take a look back and appreciate the many lessons he brought to those who had the pleasure of knowing him for years, or even only a few moments:

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