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Diana Frese's Blog Blog Tools Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 12-30-2010 04:23 PM
Diana Frese
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Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 43
Comments: 170
Views: 210,571

In General Games Terry Taught Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #23 New 10-23-2011 07:18 AM
Well, that should let the people who wanted more about Terry Dobson know that here is at least a little something, maybe, about his teaching? Well, it is. Terry taught real Aikido, real techniqes, but he used some unusual methods to get concepts across. It's good to read "It's a lot like dancing" and "Giving in to Get Your Way" and the articles written about him that were mentioned in people's comments to my other blog entry several weeks ago called "The Ara Mitama of Terry Dobson"

It occurred to me I could have just said instead of Ara Mitama, that Terry was awesome, or "larger than life" but I don't often use those words anyway, and besides that might overshadow Terry's understated side. I didn't know Terry very well, but I was moved to realize that some of you really, really want to know more about him. This is extremely gratifying, because I was fortunate to have met him and taken a few of his classes, and am honored to be asked to share.

His teaching was not exactly unprecedented but he took it maybe a bit farther in some ways than Koichi Tohei Sensei, although Tohei did teach many people outside of Aikido and the Ki no Kenkyukai , often called Ki Society in English, has always strongly emphasized "Aikido in Daily Life" as the book was originally titled, and I think later renamed, "Ki in Daily Life." Terry may have renamed his own book Aikido in Daily Life, but I'm not sure.

I'm pretty sure Terry at least wanted to rename his book, and it may have been b ...More Read More
Views: 3359 | Comments: 12

In General September 1979 in Boston Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #22 New 10-18-2011 07:54 AM
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 su ...More Read More
Views: 2404 | Comments: 2

In General The Effect of "Father Joe" Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #21 New 10-12-2011 07:45 AM
Another story of the long ago little YMCA dojo here, just a few miles away.....

"Father Joe" was here, and while he didn't officiate at our marriage I think he was instrumental in its eventual occurence though he probably was unaware.... kind of interesting, come to think of it, since he was a clergyperson and part of their usual duties for most of them is performing marriage ceremonies.

Whoa! This is getting way too mysterious and not a real reflection of what Father Joe was like!

An ikkyu from California showed up at our little YMCA dojo, it probably was indeed listed in the nationwide Federation List at the time, and introduced himself. He had been sent on loan to the Norwalk affiliate of the company he worked for. He had definite preferences about the type of Aikido he wished to work on and I have to say he had a definite influence on the development of the dojo, and curiously enough, on my own personal destiny.

( The old love songs of the fifties or so had often been about "destiny" but here in the seventies who would have known
that a couple of years later I would have met my husband, at the same Y.... but later for that)

One day he mentioned an interest in "street fighting" and at the time I thought it a bit odd for an Episcopal priest. I had been raised in the Episcopal church, although once I went to college I was involved in student activities among people of various denominations and world religions, but didn't attend church services t ...More Read More
Views: 3286 | Comments: 7

In General Senpai's, ukemi, jiyu waza and knee walking Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #20 New 10-04-2011 11:40 AM
This is the entry I was thinking about posting before I ended up writing about autumn

A few senpai who helped out with important parts of Aikido ....

Bob, who stuck out his wrist after class to be grabbed and to throw in a forward roll "One more" Then you get up and he sticks out his wrist again and says "one more" and then you get up and he sticks out his wrist and says "one more"

This is how we learned ukemi at NY Aikikai in the old days, until you could barely stand up, and then Bob said again "one more" and you grabbed his wrist again.

This is how we learned to fly through the air something I could never have imagined when I was a kid.

And there was T.K. Lee and us little ducklings, knee walking around the mat following him. That was his specialty for teaching us every possible opportunity he had. One time he asked us if we wanted to know how he did the knee walking so effortlessly. He pulled up his hakama to his knees and said, "roller skates!" Of course we couldn't see them, but of course they were there all the same...

Ken Nisson was teaching jiyu waza and it was a small class. We were lucky in those days, sometimes there were very few of us and special pointers were given, like what to do if there is one attacker in front of you and you know someone else is starting to attack from the rear. He met the first, turned that uke and threw towards what had been the rear, at the second attacker. And said something I so often remember to tell peopl ...More Read More
Views: 3320 | Comments: 4

In General Two Views of Autumn Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #19 New 09-30-2011 03:24 PM
I was thinking of writing some thoughts on free style, jiyu waza from teachers and senpais, but probably next time, because today the weather is typically early autumn and I am reminded of the different ways people think of autumn.

I once gave a little presentation for the ladies of the Long Ridge Book and Garden club. Some of you may remember I mentioned it in the blog entry Alma Mater where I mentioned the song Matsushima, where many elderly ladies got up and did the rowing exercise I showed them with the chant that accompanies the melody. Oops, maybe, I too am getting elderly so I shouldn't call them that. But I was impressed by their eagerness to participate in the spirit of the folk song.

One of them, at the tea that followed those once a month Monday gatherings in the local firehouse auditorium, mentioned that she had visited Japan and was impressed by the yellow leaves all around in a scene they had visited. Yes, there are other impressive colors besides the famous reds and oranges.

I was touched that they took to the topic so well.

In the beginning of the presentation, I mentioned that I had read that in Japan, spring flowers are considered very beautiful, of course, but autumn also is considered equal, and some say it surpasses spring in beauty. In fact, in the Tale of Genji, I seem to remember the court ladies and gentlemen had contests as to who could produce the most beautiful garden. One team picked spring, the other picked autumn. The garden ...More Read More
Views: 2923 | Comments: 8

In General Challenged at a Restaurant Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #18 New 09-21-2011 03:30 PM
I know I've promised to continue some topics, but, hey, they require quite a bit of thought.... so in the meantime, reading around in the free membership section of Aikido Journal (thanks, Stan, for those of us who have to squirrel away some moolah to afford 29 dollars or so a year, we can begin reading a bunch of great stuff)

Anyway, I was glancing through an article about women instructors and suddenly another of my famous memories some of you seem to like a lot (thanks for the validations so far...) returned to my conscious mind.

This wasn't in the YMCA where we trained, fortunately, and it wasn't a physical confrontation, fortunately, at least I don't think it would have even approached that, but a confrontation none the less...

Yep I was really proud of our little group, we had some really good students and fortunately the stuff I was able to pass on to them seemed to hold their interest .... Anyway, to relax and unwind after trying to exit in time for the Y staff to go home .... (we were fortunate to be able to have two hours at the end of the day and had to close class at ten and be out by ten thirty, if you wanted a shower you really had to hurry, and we had to fold up the mats and put them to one side ....)

Well enough background. As the title suggests, we used to go to the Brass Rail, an Italian restaurant just up the hill to the west of the Y. I had my dad's car, and the students thought I didn't drink at all but that was because I had to drive m ...More Read More
Views: 2263 | Comments: 6

In General The Ara Mitama of Terry Dobson Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #17 New 09-13-2011 03:14 PM
Sometimes I just can't restrain myself. Here it is, two entries in the same week, but the title just won't give me much peace though it has been a busy day around here with the various to-do's to be attended to.....

Francis Takahashi kindly offered to answer questions about the "old days" (probably my words, not his) and when I mentioned Terry, he suggested three or four people who knew him better than he....including Ellis Amdur and Peter Goldsbury. Thanks, Francis, I will indeed ask them if they would be so kind as to share their memory of Terry.

After such a title for an entry, I promise to look up the four Mitama in Bill Gleason's book, in Peter Goldsbury's column, and the article written by a USAikido Federation member who is a psychologist and wrote it for USAF News (they have back issues on archive)

Now that the reader can look up the topic in source material I'm going to wing it, I just can't stop myself on this one.

Terry was one of the founders of Bond Street Dojo along with Ken Nisson and maybe others. Paul Kang and Chris Jordan took over after the original founders left. We were grateful for their hospitality. But I feel that more than expressing gratitude for that I should add a few impressions that maybe other authors, including Terry himself, haven't set down.

Terry talked about paradoxes, unfortunately I can't remember the examples, but I do remember the concept.

Terry had a kind, mysterious and beautiful smile. I'm not going to say ...More Read More
Views: 3595 | Comments: 12

In General Harry-san, Yorku, that is.... Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #16 New 09-09-2011 09:37 PM
I don't know if any of us knew Harry-san's original name, he was registered at New York Aikikai as Harry Yorku. As he was an older gentleman, we called him Harry-san. He could be fierce at times, on the mat, especially with yonkyo or his specialty which seemed to be sankyo and nikyo at the same time. I never knew how he did that. But he was a complete gentleman. He would take a group of us out to dinner just because he felt like it and refuse to let anyone pay their own way. He said he made enough money in the craft of upholstery and could afford to treat groups of us to dinner. (It turned out later it wasn't just people, but that's later in this story )

By the way, a legend about him which I'm sure is true, I heard it from very sincere dojo friends who would not lie, but I wasn't there that day. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had been practicing Aikido on the West Coast and when he visited New York he visited New York Aikikai. At the time he was known as Lou (I'm not sure of the spelling) Alcindor. Imagine Kareem as tall as he is, practicing with Harry-san, who was not tall .... especially shiho nage if indeed that's the technique I heard about.

Harry-san had been a star in his own right, in the theatre. He knew Pearl Buck, he acted in plays she wrote. He also remembered June Havoc, and other stars of many years ago. When we met him he told us that university presidents used to send limos for him to do upholstery work for their furniture and he enjoyed his trade ...More Read More
Views: 4925 | Comments: 4

In General The Arrow Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #15 New 08-18-2011 11:59 AM
Now that the title may have gotten the attention of a few curious people in addition to people who normally find their way to my blog... the arrow is from a vaguely remembered line from Kahlil Gibran.

Never had kids myself, but am an aunt.... my husband's sisters' kids. The quote refers to a parent being like an archer, if I remember correctly, but of course one of the greatest poets in modern history said it better. You can look him up...

But last night I had news that a former student from years ago is going for nidan. She sure has done this on her own with only occasional hints from me via the telephone. Haven't traveled in years but somehow hubby and I have got to see this. Her teachers are smart, they say a test is like an exhibition. Seems to me way back in the mists of time I used to tell my students to treat the kyu tests at our Y like little exhibitions to show what you know rather than being afraid of making mistakes.

As they say on Long Island, "Enjoy!" We certainly will. Congratulations on your perseverance and enjoyment of Aikido, Marianne...
Views: 2238 | Comments: 2

In General Someday, when you least expect it Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #14 New 08-11-2011 08:00 AM
Yes, this is a quote from Candid Camera. I guess that puts me at a certain age. But those of you who have read my other posts know I am a recycled Aikidoka.

Yesterday I was doing projects in the house and yard, have been for the past week. It is invigorating and tiring to get all that exercise. Standing for long periods of time is hard for these old bones and muscles, so I usually walk a lot in order to keep moving, including up and down stairs .... not thinking too much... and stuff is actually getting done. (Not a coffee drinker, but chocolate helps!)

A wish come true, an offer from hubbie for Aikido technique of my choice, we had been talking about practicing all year, but actually very few times.

Okay, ikkyo thru sankyo. Two each(right and left) and then switch. That makes only six per person, plus yonkyo by mutual agreement. That makes eight per person. Hey I can build on that because he said he enjoyed it.

How to find your own uke... at home .... until you can get to a dojo. Sometimes it takes patience and perseverance but it is well worth the wait. And in the case of these particular techniques, great for ki in the wrists and hands. I always said about learning kansetsu, First it hurts when you do them, then it hurts when you don't. That's why some of us always did those solo wrist twists most mornings, just to wake up. Years later, I'm getting into that habit again.

By the way, I had to say omote only yesterday. Too tired from all that w ...More Read More
Views: 2110 | Comments: 2

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