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Sonja2012
10-20-2006, 09:21 AM
I have just translated the book "Its a lot like dancing" by Terry Dobson and it will be published by Schlatt publishers here in Germany soon. The publisher is now looking for some more information and facts on Terry Dobsons life and asked if I could maybe find out some more about him. Apart from the book I dont know that much about him so I thought Id ask here if anyone could point me into the right direction. Do you know where to get hold of anything like that (internet, books, interviews, etc.)? I do know his interview in "Aikido in America", but that is pretty much it.

Thanks very much for yout time,
best regards,
Sonja

Joe Bowen
10-20-2006, 09:35 AM
Ellis Amdur talks a bit about Terry Dobson and his interaction with him in "Dueling with OSensei". It is an interesting read. Unfortunately aside from the AJ Encyclopedia I don't know much more. Maybe by adding my voice to yours we can elicit a few anecdotes from those folks that knew Terry Dobson. I have a high regard for him without really knowing much about him or having seen him in action. Hopefully, some folks can tell us a few stories....

Jim Sorrentino
10-20-2006, 11:11 AM
FWIW, here is the Mother Jones article about Terry Dobson:

http://www.motherjones.com/commentary/columns/1993/03/vienne.html

And letters rebutting the article:

http://www.motherjones.com/commentary/letters/1993/05/backtalk.html

I'm sorry to say that I never met him.

Whether aikido is a lot like dancing or not, perhaps there is something in dance that aikidoka would find worth observing. The following is from Joan Acocella's Talk of the Town piece in the 10/16/2006 issue of the New Yorker. The subject is Azari Plisetsky, the brother of the famous ballerina Maya Plisetskaya. Plisetsky became a famous ballet teacher himself.

"Plisetsky is an ordinary-looking sixty-nine-year-old man, with a bald head and a paunch. But the minute he took his position in front of the class his body changed. His spine elongated; his shoulders moved back; even his cheekbones seemed to rise. The drill he led was very hard, as a master class...is supposed to be. ... Many of the corrections he gave had to do with the most basic principles of ballet; above all, with how to initiate the movement --- from the middle of the body, not from the extremities. One dancer was told to pick up her left buttock, as well as her right, before turning. The whole class was told to plie from the pelvis, not from the ankles, and to pirouette from both legs, not just from the back leg. This centering of movement is what makes ballet look 'classical' --- unified, harmonious, natural --- but everybody has to be reminded of it constantly."

I suspect that Terry Dobson would have approved.

Jim Sorrentino

Neil Mick
10-20-2006, 11:14 AM
I had the chance to meet him once, at his next-to-last class (he taught Aikido right up until the end).

It was easily the most unusual class I'd ever taken. He was quite a character.

mathewjgano
10-20-2006, 12:57 PM
I had the chance to meet him once, at his next-to-last class (he taught Aikido right up until the end).

It was easily the most unusual class I'd ever taken. He was quite a character.
How so?

markwalsh
10-20-2006, 02:27 PM
There is a video of him teaching a class - but yes not enough about him around all considered.

jimbaker
10-20-2006, 04:51 PM
You might try contacting Ken Nisson at Aikido of Modesto <http://www.aikidoofmodesto.org/>. He and Terry founded the Bond Street Dojo in 1973.

Jim Baker

Neil Mick
10-20-2006, 07:32 PM
How so?

Some of the things he had us doing were not what you'd call standard technique (standing very close to uke and taking turns, gently smacking each other on the forehead; crawling around on all four's while uke tries to stay on top of nage; etc).

Also, he was a good storyteller. Very chatty, too...esp with the ladies.

The thing that stays with me is his choice to teach, right up until the end. He was having health problems, and he knew his time was limited, but it didn't stop him from teaching on.

Ten minutes after the last class he taught for a seminar, he collapsed and remained in a coma for 2 weeks before he died. That kind of dedication is very inspiring (even tho he was critical of my strugges with technique, lol :blush: ) .

Choku Tsuki
10-20-2006, 08:51 PM
I am curious about Terry Dobson as well. Chris Jordan Sensei speaks of him fondly as a fearsome fellow. The feeling I get, he was volatile and unpredictable and charismatic. In Chris Sensei's class we get an occasional glimpse of what his technique and temperament were like. Some stories too. But beyond that, I have nothing to add, except read the essay "Knights of the Moldy Rope" by Ellis Amdur.

--Chuck

markwalsh
10-21-2006, 03:16 PM
There is a dojo in North Cal that has audio tapes of interviews with him - tried to get hile there buit to no avail. Firget the name sorry - anyone help - little place run by two ladies - he used to teach there.

Joe Bowen
10-23-2006, 09:17 AM
FWIW, here is the Mother Jones article about Terry Dobson:

http://www.motherjones.com/commentary/columns/1993/03/vienne.html

And letters rebutting the article:

http://www.motherjones.com/commentary/letters/1993/05/backtalk.html

I'm sorry to say that I never met him.Jim Sorrentino

Very interesting articles Jim, thanks. I think the 1st article is a bit "over the top" but it does paint an interesting and very human picture of Terry Dobson.

Sonja2012
10-24-2006, 03:44 AM
Thanks to you all for all the information. Ill pass it on to the publisher.

Warm regards,
Sonja

markwalsh
10-26-2006, 11:40 AM
http://www.bujindesign.com/dvd_dobson.html