PDA

View Full Version : Don Modesto Passes Away


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


akiy
05-28-2013, 09:49 PM
Hi folks,

I just heard today that AikiWeb member Don Modesto (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/member.php?u=774) passed away on Sunday from cancer.

He was a long-time aikido practitioner, most famously as Mitsugi Saotome's uke in the first Aikido Friendship Demonstration (http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/07/01/behind-the-scenes-the-1st-aikido-friendship-demonstration/) that Stanly Pranin organized in 1985 (video clip here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsZk7Eha1Us)). He also trained at Saotome's "Reimeijuki" in Japan as he wrote about in his "It Had to Be Felt" column on Kuwamori Shigeyuki (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21023). Most recently, he was training at the Jionjuku in Tampa, FL.

On a personal note, one memory I have is training with Don in Haruo Matsuoka sensei's class at the Aiki Expo in 2005; he gave me a nod of appreciation for my execution of sumiotoshi.

My condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones.

-- Jun

kumachan
05-28-2013, 10:57 PM
I am very saddened to read this news. May Mr. Modesto rest in peace.

Janet Rosen
05-29-2013, 12:48 AM
Alas, we were in frequent electronic communication over the years, and Don was high on my list of folks I really really wanted to meet....my deep and sincere condolences to all his friends, family, students and colleagues.

aikishihan
05-29-2013, 02:27 AM
Sincere condolences to the family, friends and fortunate students of Don Modesto Sensei. Many thanks for his contributions to Aikido, to the Aikido community at large, and to those who were privileged to train with him. May he rest in the Peace he so richly deserves.

erikmenzel
05-29-2013, 04:05 AM
Condolences to all his friends, family, students and colleagues.
I never met him but his friendly, positive and humorous communication here on Aikiweb put him high on the list of people I would have loved to meet.

SeiserL
05-29-2013, 05:55 AM
Compassion and condolences ...

NagaBaba
05-29-2013, 09:29 AM
Indeed very sad news.
My condolences to his family and friends.

Steven
05-29-2013, 11:00 AM
Sincere condolences to the entire Modesto family.

mathewjgano
05-29-2013, 11:12 AM
I'm so sorry to hear about his passing! I always enjoyed reading his thoughts here on AikiWeb. My condolences to his family and friends.

Ellis Amdur
05-30-2013, 02:23 AM
Don was a lovely man. Like most of us, he had many paradoxes. He was innately gentle and kind, but drawn to practice in one of the most ferocious aikido dojo in Japan (and definitely not an oxymoron in this case), the Reimeijuku of Kuwamori Shigeyuki. Very well-read, and very liberal in his publicly voiced politics, he always defended his views with fact and reasoning, never personal attacks. I worked with him on the mat only a few times - but we were kyodai-deshi (Brother students), as I, too, had trained at Reimeijuku at a different time, and I'd also trained with a lot of his teachers in a brief, but very rich time in Florida. He was a sterling training partner - his attacks were clean and honest, and his throws and locks precise. There was no doubt he was happy to be incarnated in flesh, but there was never - in my experience - an aikido of ego coming from him. In other words, I never had a sense that he built himself up at another's expense.
As I age, certain character traits become more and more admirable to me - and sometimes, therefore, a man or woman is, fortuitously perfectly named - Modesto. Modest. He played modestly, but with integrity, with both ideas and with the capabilities of his own body on the mat. Truly, a lovely man.
Ellis Amdur

Howard Popkin
05-30-2013, 02:31 PM
Don was a lovely man. Like most of us, he had many paradoxes. He was innately gentle and kind, but drawn to practice in one of the most ferocious aikido dojo in Japan (and definitely not an oxymoron in this case), the Reimeijuku of Kuwamori Shigeyuki. Very well-read, and very liberal in his publicly voiced politics, he always defended his views with fact and reasoning, never personal attacks. I worked with him on the mat only a few times - but we were kyodai-deshi (Brother students), as I, too, had trained at Reimeijuku at a different time, and I'd also trained with a lot of his teachers in a brief, but very rich time in Florida. He was a sterling training partner - his attacks were clean and honest, and his throws and locks precise. There was no doubt he was happy to be incarnated in flesh, but there was never - in my experience - an aikido of ego coming from him. In other words, I never had a sense that he built himself up at another's expense.
As I age, certain character traits become more and more admirable to me - and sometimes, therefore, a man or woman is, fortuitously perfectly named - Modesto. Modest. He played modestly, but with integrity, with both ideas and with the capabilities of his own body on the mat. Truly, a lovely man.
Ellis Amdur

and good friend....I will miss him

Keith Larman
05-30-2013, 02:53 PM
So sorry... Great guy. Great insights. No BS.

PapaBear
05-30-2013, 04:16 PM
I am very sad that Modesto Sensei has left us. It was fortunate for me that I saw him in the hospital after surgery, and had the opportunity to spend time with him between his first and last time to enjoy some normal time together. Don was a great student, teacher and friend whom I will greatly miss. He is a loss to our community.

Bstl Sarasota
06-09-2013, 06:56 AM
We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
Shakespeare, The Tempest.

Don lived a martial artist's dream, something I've dreamed of for decades but doubt at this point I will ever achieve. The Land of the Rising Sun which gave the world Zen, budo and aikido is now a place where there is a half-life in every breath. He went to Japan, lived there for 17 years, trained there and came home to try to assemble a stable life. I seem to recall conversations with him last fall on a trip to a seminar about the immediate prospects of tenure at the college where he taught or perhaps he had just received tenure. If that is true then the period of his stability was rather short. Reminds me of The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.

The news of Don's passing was a shock for me, a kick in the gut. I am still angry ultimately at myself. We were friends so some degree, measured by varying degrees of online conversations and exchanges on topics of mutual interest. A meeting of minds. I enjoyed every exchange, every moment, every word and shared time on the mat. The loss of that shared time going forward is what hurts. The mirror is clouded and will take some misogi to clear. Don's loss created a kuzushi point in my life and I may be condemned like Sisyphus to eternally through uke's into that black hole to try to fill it.

Our contact had dimished over recent months as the ebb and flow of life is. I didn't know he was ill, had surgery, and to await the outcome. I would have been at his side as almost anyone here would have.

From my experience Don was kind, always solicitous, quite articulate, intellectually rigorous and honest, both on and off the mat. He lived budo and was a man of letters as they say in the West.

I believe Paul Rabinow commented on Michel Foucault's unexpected passing as ‘cosmic grand larceny' and I feel a bit of the same with Don. He had so much experience and so much to share. He loved the art and I think people loved to learn from him. He always kept me honest on the mat which is as much a comment on my deficiencies as it is a reflection of Don.

Amaterasu has called him home. May he rest in peace.

It Had to Be Felt
Powerful aikidoka
Missing Modesto