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This poem and others are available in my books, Nothing Works: Meditations on Aikido, Buddhism, the Tao, Zen, and other inconsequential things....and, Nothing Special, and Nothing Matters..., available thru Amazon.com, in print and Kindle editions and Barnes & Noble websites.....Also available as an e-book via Smashwords.com. Try this link: www.nothing-works.com for the full array of options.
It was post-seminar
We were all sitting around the bar
People telling stories:
You should have seen him!
When he walked into the dojo
he had to bow so his head wouldn't
hit the top of the door frame!
Maybe he was just bowing cause
that's what people do when entering
any dojo, someone pointed out
Hah, you weren't there! Was the reply
(A very common refrain,
actually, as the night went on)
When he struck with the bokken or jyo,
we would all have to wear face protectors
cause the splinters would fly everywhere!
That created a big laugh
His wooden tanto was so sharp
it actually drew blood!
Nodding heads all around
I remember when he touched me
Another old-timer voiced, I didn't
know what happened, but I ended up
on the other side of the dojo!
Hell, when he just smiled,
we would all fall down!
Damn, those were incredible times!
All the old-timers agreed in unison
But, now, they all said, this is your time. Looking around the table,
Now, today, is your time. All of us sitting
here tonight, this is our time together.
One day, you will be the old ones,
telling stories, telling tall tales.
But, for now, here's to the past
and a great teacher -- Kampai!
This poem was inspired by an article in Birankai Aikido News,
by Liese Klein Sensei, quoting some words spoken by George Lyons Sensei,
at a memorial seminar, on the anniversary of Chiba Sensei's death, at Brooklyn Aikikai.
Liberties with the original material were certainly taken!