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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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Status: Public
Entries: 43
Comments: 170
Views: 216,772

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 it was like O Sensei's , that would be a chutzpah on my part because I never met O Sensei. But maybe Terry's was like O Sensei's.

Terry could be fierce, and I'm not talking about throwing people. More like expectations, wake up calls, that were specific, like when there was a nuclear plant problem in the late seventies I think it was he got really agitated about getting us to get serious about how to evacuate the island of Manhattan in case of an accident at the plant.

Another time one of my friends from New Haven asked, and I suspected the question might have originally come from Terry, whose classes that dojo had attended around that time .... are you committed? She meant, to Aikido. I guess the answer was I was in awe of Aikido though I didn't know what to say at the time. Thinking back, the phrase that resonated the most in my heart was actually from Hikitsuchi Sensei whom some consider to be a Shinto Priest." Keiko sasete itadaite..... I am given the gift of being caused to practice Aikido." Myself, I consider it a blessing to have been exposed to Aikido and to have been able to practice.

It's very difficult to know how to write about Terry, hence the title. I'm sure he has all four spirits, I just picked the Ara Mitama to show that he challenged us to grow and develop by his very passion about Aikido which was not limited to the mat. ( A film of him taking ukemi showed him light as a feather, and he was not a small person. So many paradoxes.) He took Aikido off the mat and into offices showing how Aiki skills could be used in everyday situations.

I can't really complete this article myself, athough I might think of things to add later, maybe in another entry. But look him up, I'll try to list his books for you, and mention articles about him as I check them out, soon....

Thanks, Terry it's the least I can do as an Ongaeshi!
Views: 3646 | Comments: 12

RSS Feed 12 Responses to "The Ara Mitama of Terry Dobson"
#12 09-30-2011 10:47 AM
Diana Frese Says:
Thanks Ziv and Carina, L'Shana Tova Tikasova! That's the way my Dad taught me to say, in an Ashkenazi accent from NYC where he went to high school. We're not even Jewish, but that's New York. He taught me a few words in Yiddish, and I learned more at New York Aikikai, where there were different religions and nationalities all practicing together. Kind of like O Sensei's dream.....
#11 09-22-2011 12:59 PM
guest1234567 Says:
Hi Diana, hi zivk, I found that nice article about the book http://www.ai-ki-do.org/Articles/ItsALotLikeAikido.html and have a good year you two I saw that in Twitter by Paulo Coelho:"A new year is a blossom with petals curled tightly concealing the beauty within." Shana Tova
#10 09-22-2011 11:33 AM
zivk Says:
I didn't have enough space left to write in the previous comment: Next week it's the Jewish new year's (ראש השנה, read Rosh Ha-shana). So, have a שנה טובה (read shana tova). This traditional greeting means literally have a good year.
#9 09-22-2011 11:29 AM
zivk Says:
Shalom to you too Diana. Thanks for your response. It's a lot like dancing is a wonderful book. At least for me it's the best Aikido book I have ever read. I quote from it quite often. I hope I had time to translate it to Hebrew, so more people in Israel could read it. One of the questions regarding Terry Dobson that intrigued me most was how come he left so little impact. It seems that he founded only two dojos and not many people today say they were influenced by him.
#8 09-21-2011 04:44 PM
Diana Frese Says:
Shalom Ziv! I didn't see your comment before I wrote a new entry. The title of one of Terry's books, "It's a Lot Like Dancing" refers to how we learn things, especially things that have an artistic component. But he also emphasizes Aikido can be effective as a martial art, not just an art form.( The title might be misleading to some people. ) This book has memories of his time with O Sensei, and many other observations Terry was dictating to his friends before he passed away .
#7 09-21-2011 06:06 AM
zivk Says:
I've first heard of Terry Dobson after reading the train story. I was intrigued by his ability to tell a story and by his personal history as an uchi-deshi of O-sensei. For quite a while I felt like I'm chasing his ghost, there was so little information. Reading Obese white Gentleman was wonderful, but I still look to learn more about him. So, thanks for the contribution you've made on this post. I'm looking forward for you to complete it and shed some more light on this interesting person.
#6 09-15-2011 05:40 PM
Diana Frese Says:
Based on the ideas you all have so kindly expressed, I'll do another entry mentioning his books, and some of the innovative ways he had of teaching concepts... I owe a lot to Bond Street Dojo in NYC for hosting the seminars I was privileged to attend with a few students from the Y here plus friends from New Haven Aikikai in the late seventies. And another entry will be on: "mythical" paintings of the Four Mitama.
#5 09-15-2011 05:25 PM
Diana Frese Says:
Matt, I have to confess something, if the Three Musketeers had those fancy plumed hats, I stole the idea for one of my classes to teach people to lead the uke as if doing one of those fancy bows with the hat Now I will have to look for my copy to check the cover (any excuse to read it again...) for the picture on the paperback!
#4 09-15-2011 05:18 PM
Diana Frese Says:
Thank you all for your help and encouragement! Francis and Carina on the Aikido Academy link, plus I am studying some of Prof Goldsbury's writings on Shinto through the Search function of Aiki Web (Number ll of his column was suggested) and looks like Matt and I will each be reading Gleason Sensei's book this week.....
#3 09-15-2011 05:02 PM
mathewjgano Says:
Thank you, Diana! I really enjoyed reading that. I'll have to actually read Gleason Sensei's book now. I got it on my Kindle and started it, but The Three Musketeers somehow bumped it (I think it's because I didn't have to think as much).
#2 09-14-2011 07:30 AM
Hello Diana, I never knew Terry Dobson and my own idea of the man has come from reading his books and talking to people who did know him. He is perplexing in many ways, but no less than all the other deshi of Morihei and Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Best wishes, PAG
#1 09-14-2011 02:16 AM
guest1234567 Says:
Thank you Diana for this post and Francis completed it in AAUSA with a very interesting post about Mitama. Take care Carina

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