View Full Version : Virginia Mayhew Passes Away

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10-27-2006, 01:21 PM
My mother studied with O-Sensei in Japan. She passed away last
night and I needed to find the contact information for Michael Leung
in Hong Kong. Michael is the director of the Hong Kong Aikikai
which my mother started many years ago. I needed to let Michael know of her passing but have lost his contact information. I was hoping someone in the forum might know his contact info and could email me at spate015@ucr.edu.

AikiWeb System
10-27-2006, 01:22 PM
Posted 2006-10-27 12:21:42 by Jun Akiyama

I have received news from her daughter that Virginia Mayhew, one of the only non-Japanese female students of Morihei Ueshiba, passed away on October 26th, 2006.

Mayhew studied at Aikikai hombu dojo during the 1960's and helped found aikido in Hong Kong as well as at New York Aikikai. More information on her can be found here (http://gedanate.com/article-76-Virginia-Mayhew-Aikido.html) .

My condolences go out to her family, friends, and loved ones.

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Ron Tisdale
10-27-2006, 01:39 PM
Condolances. Quite a shock...she was a pioneer in many ways.

Best wishes,

10-27-2006, 01:44 PM
sad news....

Certainly she led an interesting life and it's too bad more has not been written about her.

10-27-2006, 02:03 PM
is this the same Virginia Mayhew ?

Well, my first eight years were in New York and that started with Virginia Mayhew who was one of the most interesting people I've ever met. Virginia is a very powerful woman. But I saw in her and in aikido some of the things that I want from life. I was doing Karate (Tae Kwon Do with Min Pai) at the time. After seeing aikido, I realized that Karate might teach me to fight better, defend myself in the street faster and get some satisfaction with my fists that I hadn't experienced as a kid, but aikido would feed much more of my life. And aikido offered more of what I wanted out of life. There was only one small aspect of what I could have achieved through prowess in fighting, whatever the method.

Aikido isn't fighting, though sometimes we get out there and make believe it is. But it's not. So, I started with Virginia and then Yamada Sensei came. He was a great inspiration to me in many ways. I saw in him a very powerful being. When he came from Japan he was very young and healthy and very strong. For eight years I trained in that (New York) dojo under him and did things for my mind and body that were basic and important -- hard, strong training, you know; we'd go for weeks on end with just shihonages. So I really learned good, basic aikido

10-27-2006, 02:05 PM

Who were you training with?

Bob Nadeau, Bob Frager, Virginia Mayhew, Terry Dobson, Ken Cottier and Norm Miles who is still living in Japan. There were a few from Germany, France and England.

10-27-2006, 02:10 PM

The foreign student that Lau best remembers from his visits to the Aikikai Hombu is Virginia Mayhew. Mayhew was one of the first American women to study aikido in Japan, and later she was the first woman to teach aikido in Hong Kong. Her married name was Bailey, and today she lives in San Francisco. Lau remembers Mayhew fondly because she invited him to her house, and then fed him toast, coffee, and eggs. That may not sound very special, but in those days, it was almost impossible to get toast, coffee, and eggs in Tokyo. She also told riotous stories heard in the Women’s Section, ribald tales about famous masters whose ki did not extend nearly as well on the futon as on the tatami.

10-27-2006, 02:12 PM

The guys who started Aikido of New York City were Eddie Hagihara (who was a 3rd dan in Judo), Virginia Mayhew [See ATM #19], Barry Bernstein, Fred Krase, and me. There was also Lou Kleinsmith. (Having studied Tai Chi, Lou would stand on one leg, and you couldn't move him.) Another original member was a fellow named Fujii - a 4th dan in Judo who worked for the Bank of Tokyo's New York branch. And there was Maggie Newman, who was a dancer (I'd love to find her again). Rick Rowell joined later, around '53. This was all before O-Sensei came to Hawaii.

10-27-2006, 02:15 PM
Early Days of Aikido in Hong Kong (http://testing.ubernet.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3559&sid=fe6ca8d9c95707120dc5410d4999a191)

I am interested in telling a few anecdotes about Virginia Mayhew, though it
will be calling on my memories almost 33 years back. I have not been in
contact with the Hong Kong Aikikai since, but understand there are still a
few old-timers around, say the Leung brothers who learned under her must be
still actively heading the Hong Kong Aikikai here.


10-27-2006, 04:47 PM
So sorry to hear about her passing. My condolences to her family and friends.

Yamada gave an interview http://www.aikidoeast.com/aikidoeast/2004/2/article_8.shtml where he mentions that Eddie Hagihara and Virginia were married. No one else ever mentioned this.

Jim Baker
Aikido of Norfolk

Mark Uttech
10-29-2006, 05:33 AM
Sad news. It is exactly the sadness of a season passing. My condolences to the family.

In gassho,

10-29-2006, 01:32 PM
A life rich with the aiki spirit and the generosity of teaching it to others is certainly a life not wasted. Peaceful rest...

George S. Ledyard
11-02-2006, 11:26 AM
Virginia Mayhew was one of the giants... People now have no idea what the early Aikido pioneers went through to be the first Westerners to train in Japan. They paved the way for all that have followed.

Mayhew Sensei lived her Aikido. Her loss is a loss to the entire Aikido community. I think it should give all of us pause. We need to reflect on how someone with such deep experience, who had contributed so much, could fade from our concsiousness to the point where, at their passing, the young folks go "Who?" Do you know, I couldn't find an entry for Mayhew Sensei in the Aiki Encyclopedia on the Aikido Journal site?

There are others out there, who like Mayhew Sensei, have dropped off the radar. Perhaps they drifted away from teaching. Perhaps they still labor in some obscure dojo somewhere, choosing to be free of organizations and affiliations, and politics. As a community it is in our self interest to draw these people out. Mayhew Sensei's experiences cannot be duplicated, they are lost to all of us who never made the chance to know her. We owe it to ourselves not to let this happen again.

We should honor these teachers. We should put them out front where they belong so that we can benefit from their experience before they are gone forever. We shouldn't be waiting for them to put themselves forward, because many will not. We should be begging them to come forward and share with us. We should be sitting at their gates, refusing to leave until they take us on as their willing students.

Why do people drift away? Often because not enough people let them know how much they were appreciated. The younger generation doesn't know who Virginia Mayhew Sensei was because we didn't tell them. The folks out there like myself, who have dojos and could have provided a forum, didn't. We should have.

As we reflect on this Aikido life which has now passed we should be thankful for all that Mayhew Sensei did that opened up the opportunities that we now take for granted. And we should reflect on what we need to do to not lose any more people like this without learning as much as we can from them and without letting them know how much we appreciate what they have done.

11-02-2006, 07:24 PM
Sorry to read this,Lau Sensei had mentioned her to me and I alway's wanted to meet her...

11-06-2006, 11:54 PM
Hong Kong Aikido Association website has an announcement of the passing of Virginia Mayhew Sensei.