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Well, that should let the people who wanted more about Terry Dobson know that here is at least a little something, maybe, about his teaching? Well, it is. Terry taught real Aikido, real techniqes, but he used some unusual methods to get concepts across. It's good to read "It's a lot like dancing" and "Giving in to Get Your Way" and the articles written about him that were mentioned in people's comments to my other blog entry several weeks ago called "The Ara Mitama of Terry Dobson"
It occurred to me I could have just said instead of Ara Mitama, that Terry was awesome, or "larger than life" but I don't often use those words anyway, and besides that might overshadow Terry's understated side. I didn't know Terry very well, but I was moved to realize that some of you really, really want to know more about him. This is extremely gratifying, because I was fortunate to have met him and taken a few of his classes, and am honored to be asked to share.
His teaching was not exactly unprecedented but he took it maybe a bit farther in some ways than Koichi Tohei Sensei, although Tohei did teach many people outside of Aikido and the Ki no Kenkyukai , often called Ki Society in English, has always strongly emphasized "Aikido in Daily Life" as the book was originally titled, and I think later renamed, "Ki in Daily Life." Terry may have renamed his own book Aikido in Daily Life, but I'm not sure.
I'm pretty sure Terry at least wanted to rename his book, and it may have been because it was a publisher's catchy title (my family is in publishing although just the architecture division remains).
If I were to guess the reason it's because "giving in" is just a very small part of the options available. And this blog entry will be just a small hint of what Terry was offering to people. I was fascinated in reading a thread on the anonymous forum that the young woman who posted has a copy and seems to say she tries to follow some of the advice! This is very gratifying, since the book was published in the late seventies, I believe. And she has just recently entered college.
No disrespect to Tohei Sensei's memory, he spent most of his life spreading Aikido and concepts of Ki, One Point, Relaxation, but administratively and as regards curriculum the dojo I spent the most years in did not go with his organization when the division occurred. Our teacher was strongly devoted to Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba, both Yamada Sensei and Kanai Sensei said that "Doshu fed us" in pretty much those exact words. For now, I'll leave the history to the historians and go on to the classes, because I can almost feel the eyes of the readers hoping to catch a glimpse of an actual Terry Dobson class.
There he is, calling four students to push from four directions, one on each shoulder, one on the back, one on the chest. Looks like he was boxed in, doesn't it? Have you ever felt that way, boxed in by circumstances? Well, hold on to your hats, here's the answer from Terry. I'm not even sure he made the parallel to daily life in that class, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind if I do.
He would shake his lower arms a bit, and it probably came from somewhere where his upper arm joins his clavicle and scapula, or maybe it started from the legs, hips, one point but anyway he certainly was not trapped, even though he looked "boxed" I'm reminded of a column article about boxes by Sensei Seiser here on Aiki Web that we can look up about (symbolic) boxes, and recommend it.....
So it seemed that one could indeed move in such a situation, the part of the arms that was not held, the hands and forearms and the bones inside could rotate, and the spine could rotate and whoops off they flew and had to roll or do whatever to regain their balance and stand upright again.
What a lesson. I'm not sure where he got all these aiki games but he sure made them his own. And shared them. See, I remembered this one, and so will most of you reading this. Hey, Terry, I just passed it on, again. So many years after we used this game from you at our little YMCA dojo.