View Full Version : "Aikido master's prowess lives up to literature"

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09-21-2009, 01:03 PM
Posted 2009-09-21 12:02:35 by Jun Akiyama
News URL: http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Aikido+master+prowess+lives+literature/2011793/story.html

This article called "Aikido master's prowess lives up to literature" (http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Aikido+master+prowess+lives+literature/2011793/story.html) highlights Robert Mustard sensei who was a featured character in Robert Twigger's book "Angry White Pyjamas."

From the article: "One day while working in the Burnaby dojo -- well after the book was published -- Mustard looked up; who should be standing there but a slightly nervous Twigger.

"I think he was really scared because he had called me crazy and unbalanced," Mustard said. [...] The two wound up eating pizza, drinking a bottle of whiskey and talking about Japan "and all the crap" until the wee hours of the morning."

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09-21-2009, 01:42 PM

I always wanted to know what would happen.

(I never believed Twigger was straight on those guys. He was selling books, not doing budo.)

09-21-2009, 02:00 PM
thanks for the article, interesting.

the book was kind of fun even though you knew it was very much from the writer's perspective of reality.

09-21-2009, 02:41 PM
the book was kind of fun even though you knew it was very much from the writer's perspective of reality.But most of them are, wouldn't you say?

09-22-2009, 10:19 AM
When I read "Angry White Pyjamas", I liked the way Twigger described his experience in the yoshinkan dojo; I liked that he wasn't afraid to write about the hate and doubt as well as love. And he was honest in presenting his changing perspective on people, this is what resonated with me most.

But I always wondered how Mustard reacted to the publication of the book! I suspected, if he really was like Twigger described him, that he wouldn't mind so much :D

Although he seems to have mellowed out over the years. Getting older and becoming a parent can do this to you...


Toby Threadgill
09-24-2009, 12:17 PM

I had the pleasure of teaching a seminar at Robert Mustards dojo last year that coincided with us both doing demonstrations at the Wadokai Karate World Cup in Vancouver, BC. I had heard all these crazy stories about Robert over the years and was curious what the man was really like. Ellis Amdur told me I HAD to meet him!


I had a blast with the guy. A new great friend. Robert has a very funny and robust personality. Within minutes I was laughing heartily with the guy over sake in a local Japanese restaurant. He is also a very talented and adept aikidoka. As advertised, no one will ever accuse him being an aiki bunny. His technique is direct, very powerful and uncompromising in its execution. Frankly I'm surprised I don't see him teaching more seminars as there is real depth to his technical and teaching abilities.

One thing that might make people wince around Robert is that he will not pull punches. If you ask him a question, you will get the truth handed right back to you without any sugar coating or concern for political correctness, and perhaps that what I liked most about him. We were both immediately comfortable with one another because we recognized our mutual aversion to double talk. I have always said, "Don't ask a question unless you want an answer. Robert lives by dictum.

And, I did not have trouble reconciling the real man with the picture painted in Angry White Pajamas. Like most budoka of his caliber, Robert is a complex man whose mission in teaching is likewise complex. Such complexity can create a rather schizophrenic impression to someone like Mr Twigger, who was previously uninitiated to serious budo training. Watching the interaction in Roberts dojo, it was obvious he cared deeply for his students, and they cared deeply for him, but his dojo is certainly not prone to group hugs and flowery talk. His dojo is first and foremost a training hall run by a martial artist, for serious martial artists. Individuals looking for new age empowerment or philosophical pontification need not apply.

Watching the spectators of Roberts demo at the Wadokai World cup was amusing. All these world class karate competitors eyes literally bugged out while Robert hammered his uke into the mat, and I mean HAMMERED! One observer, A damn tough karateka from Scotland, leaned over to me and said "How does that guy get back up from that?" I responded "Well, he's tough and very well trained" That pretty much summs up Robert Mustard and his dojo. Tough and well trained. I love it!

You know... I think I'll call him up to say hello. We keep talking about teaching a seminar together. A koryu barbarian and the beast of the Tokyo Police aikido dojo. Do you think anyone will come?


Toby Threadgill

Ron Tisdale
09-24-2009, 01:51 PM
Sign me up! And for the hospital stay afterward... ;)

I really enjoyed the few times training with and getting thrown by him. I found him extremely well humoured, very nice, and fun to be around. I too would like to see him do more seminars.

Ron (and he has a really good memory, and knows that pay back is a ... :D)

George S. Ledyard
09-24-2009, 08:28 PM
I caught Mustard Sensei at a demo at our local Community College last year. We had met at the Aiki Expos but this time we had a chance to chat a bit. Super nice guy, very open and approachable. And most Aikido folks would trade their first-borns to be that good. I thought he was better than some seniors i saw at the Expos. Anyway, he should be out there. Folks should be clamoring to train with someone of that caliber.

But folks don't invite you if they don't know who you are... There are many highly skilled folks who train and teach in relative obscurity while some mediocrity markets himself to the hilt, like "this doesn't work on you because you curled your toes and touched the tip of your tongue to your pallet"; oh, never mind... don't get me started.

Anyway, Mustard Sensei seems to be one of those fellows who isn't terribly inclined to put himself forward so I would recommend folks make the effort to reach out to him. He's definitely the real deal.