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(Note to Carina and Francis, I'm still working on that tribute to Father Joe for the Aikido Academy website, thanks for your encouragement. But the eighties brought so many changes in my life and as I hinted before, Father Joe's influence may have been part of those changes, so that is why so many pages started and not finished.... hope you can wait...)
This is a huge topic. O Sensei. O Moto Kyo. Who was O Sensei, and what was his message? What were his training methods?
And another question, Whose O Sensei? Not really trying to ask rhetorical questions here, but it seems that so many of us have our own personal feelings about what O Sensei means to us.
Evidently he, and Aikido made some impression or we wouldn't have started training, or even for those who haven't trained yet, wouldn't be reading about it here.
I have known two Aikido artists personally, years ago, Harvey Konigsberg from New York Aikikai, whom I met again at Aikido of Fairfield County, Ray Farinato's dojo, several years ago, and John Hrabushi, whom I first met many years ago at New Haven Aikikai, when it was in East Haven.
So it was kind of interesting, checking out the Omoto website and finding out the great importance they accord to Art. Many who have read about Aikido know about the Founder's writings hoping for world peace, and harmony with the natural environment, but if you haven't checked out the Omoto website, I recommend it. I haven't in a while, but I intend to.
Some of you like my little stories. Here's one from my town. One of the art teachers from my old elementary school stopped me on the street near the post office many years ago, gave me a scrutinizing look to see who I was and asked "Are you still doing Art?" I must have mumbled something, and she proceeded on her way, leaving a quite definite prescription and direction to never stop with the art, whatever words she used to convey this, the message was clear.
Before we got married, my husband started doing art, and then I did. We were in a house share with another artist, then a loft. My husband did mostly abstract, with bright colors, acrylics. I did mostly nature stuff, animals, sometimes a giraffe appears, or for black and while among the greenery, a dalmatian dog, I think. But then I started with the princesses: the four mitama I mentioned in another blog entry. These were characters I was going to write stories about but haven't so far.
The Mongolian Empress was the Ara Mitama, I had started to do a kind of comic book drawing series on large art paper with pastels, she was capturing students to build up her dojo. It was kind of funny, kind of serious, because at the time I was trying to build up the Y dojo again after people moved. Or something like that. We actually did get another dojo, for a few months, at the art loft, but that's another story. Anyway, I thought Ara Mitama would be the kind of spirit necessary to build up a dojo, or a business, so I always kept this "mythological" character at the back of my mind.
What's strange, is the Ara Mitama originally was said to defend Japan from Genghis Khan's navy or his grandson's, I forget which. But in this story, the Princess, or Empress, is Mongolian. The painting even has a white Mongolian horse peering from behind the face in the portrait. There are three more paintings in the series, Princess Northern Bear, possibly a Kami from Hokkaido, where the name Kuma appears a lot, if I remember correctly, though I have never been there. Naturally, she is wearing a long robe that looks sort of Japanese, and there is a rather abstract snow scene going on in the painting. I think of her as the Nigi Mitama, the "nurturing" Den Mother type, though she is standing very straight and proud. Well, they often speak of mother bear defending cubs, and raising a dojo requires strength and determination ....
Well, that's enough for today, more later. Enjoy the season, do some artwork if you feel like it.
If you're not sure you want to do art work, just check out the O Moto website or read some of O Sensei's poetry. A little inspiration in life is always a good thing.