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There is a picture in my mind of a brick wall with sky showing through in at least two large places.There was a zig zag outline, where the bricks had been removed. That was where the new windows would go, I found out.
There I was in Boston, Cambridge actually, and it was probably September. I remember I had taken off from Stamford, because suddenly I didn't need to be there that Saturday. So I went to Boston. I think at that visit or another soon after, someone greeted me as a visitor and invited me to come back when the new dojo was complete. But why wait for that?
I had thought at the end of summer camp that I would take a "rain check" and besides, Father Joe from California had already brought me and one of my assistants (small YMCA dojo but since they were assisting me, that's what I called them) up to Kanai Sensei's dojo it must have been the previous winter because I remember the overcoats.
Kanai Sensei was Father Joe's teacher's friend. I thought he said teacher's teacher but then again I didn't know who Francis was, just another smiling Californian at the Sacramento meeting and seminar a year or two previously. You can read about Father Joe's adopting our dojo while on loan on and off for several weeks from the company he worked for to the neighboring town of Norwalk in my previous blog entry.
Thanks to Father Joe's visit several months before, it was the most natural thing to take a rain check in Cambridge on this bright late summer or early fall day, with the blue of the sky showing through the spaces in the reddish bricks.
I ended up staying over in Marblehead at my friend Ginny's mother's house many times while taking classes at the new dojo while it was being built. At first, classes were being held on the floor below, on portable mats with a canvas cover and our hair was almost white by the time class was over ----- from the sheet rock dust that floated down from the floor above. Talk about getting in on the ground floor of a new dojo location! It wasn't just a phrase.
I know I have promised to continue other topics I started, but I hope those of you who were waiting for those don't mind waiting a bit longer. Because I just had to mention how I ended up observing the New New England Aikikai being built. Stop by some time, they have continued Kanai Sensei's tradition of great practice. Marianne, one of my former students mentioned in a previous blog entry visited there several years ago.... and now she is going for nidan on Long Island, where she was from originally before starting Aikido here. Now you see how "thinking back" is so rewarding to many of us old timers.
There are so many memories leading to Boston, maybe some coincidences about exactly what day, like the day my oldest brother showed up at my parents' house with his friend and I didn't have to cook for my other brother, who in turn was taking care of the cat and the dog whilw my parents were away, and the rain check I had in mind was because I had missed most of the classes at summer camp because my back went out when I sneezed brushing my teeth. I think I had been typing too much getting ready to take a week off from work to go to camp..... That's how I ended up there on Porter Square, seeing windows before there were windows....
We always knew Kanai Sensei's dojo was in Cambridge and we should visit, those of us who had trained with Yamada Sensei. At the beginning of his book "The New Aikido Complete" he had a picture of Kanai Sensei on the dedication page and when he was autographing his book he reminded everyone at his birthday party to remember to visit Kanai Sensei too at his own dojo, not just attend the camps and seminars in New York with him.
Some of you will probably enjoy looking back on your own training, and what brought you to the dojo or dojos where you have trained. Some call things coincidences, others say that's just how life works, others see a pattern they call destiny. Whatever you call it, it can be fascinating to look back.
So Father Joe, who quietly worked with us and made suggestions that influenced our practice, had a major influence on my training, which I passed on to my students. I can still hear one of my assistants who had not been to Boston, in my mind's ear: (go ahead and) "go to Boston, steal techniques, and then come back to Connecticut so we can steal them from you."