I won’t even try to express in English how much I owe to the four teachers who will take care of the teaching at the upcoming Hi no tori taikai. All four of them played decisive roles in my development in the Bujinkan. I’m very happy to have the four of them together for this event and the celebration of my 40th birthday – I appreciate them much as teachers, and I also consider them friends.

Oliver is dojo cho of the dojo where my ninjutsu training turned into Bujinkan training, the place where the connection to the source was established, and where I was hooked to Hatsumi sensei’s art. I’m happy the connection between Oliver and me has been re-established and opportunities to train with him emerge in all kinds of places. A while later, at Manchester Taikai 2003, I first met Lauri. He has been my teacher since 2005, and I’ve learned much about Bujinkan and myself through spending time with him – in the dojo, in the sauna and elsewhere. Countless nights have passed with little to no sleep, because Finish summer nights are not made for that, but for BBQ, sauna and talk. Brian I first met in Hannover in 2007, following an invitation of my friend Ingo. Brian’s proficiency, attitude and person instantly caught me. Since then I’ve attended more than 20 seminars with Brian in Germany and charming Liverpool, and I don’t intend to leave it at that. In chess I still have a score to settle with Brian, though I don’t see that coming any time soon (which is not due to lack of opportunity). I met Moti the first time only one month after my first encounter with Brian, at a Taikai in Finland. His openness and will to really transfer his abilities made a huge impression on me. His vast understanding of body mechanics and his simple dynamics keep on doing so. Also, I appreciate him as a conversational partner for topics like the equilibrium, freedom of the will and the question of who moved my cheese.