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Francis read my six teacher list on "profiles" months ago and said it was eclectic. And so from time to time I try to pass on some memories of their teaching and way of teaching. It occurs to me one of my "assistants" (most of the students who helped me teach others got called "assistant" at one time or another) came up with a phrase, which, if you will forgive the fake pidgin imitations some of us did in those years before "politically correct"..... made me feel validated in recommending any seminars we could get to. I had asked him if learning from different teachers was confusing. He gave a contented smile and said, "All go same stomach."
Very wise. And please bear in mind, any of us who were imitating certain accents were doing it with affection, not mockery. Cultural exchange can be beautiful, and not without humor. Personally, I feel that English, with spellings from so many languages that it comprises, can be very confusing anyway.
Well, that's a long intro. I was going to call this entry Odds and Ends, but that sounds a bit like "everything but the kitchen sink" So instead I gave a little insight into the wisdom of assistants. If you ask your assistants for feedback, hey, we learn something from them every time!
Scroll back a few decades in time to the late seventies. This same assistant after being told about Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba visiting New York Aikikai came along to watch. I might have taken the class, I'm sure it was very crowd
I think it was Peak Freans, a British cookie manufacturer (do they call cookies "biscuits" over there? I get these things mixed up).... who had a commercial in the US that they were a "very serious cookie"
This was many years ago, but some commercials come to mind at the oddest moments.
Right now, because although Aikido can be fun, and it can be taught using games, the games usually have a serious side, a serious purpose. Bond Street Dojo, which Terry Dobson and Ken Nisson founded, was a very serious dojo (and still is), but the games part is what I "stole" and used back in my own classes for both new students and those who had been there a while, some of whom had studied other martial arts. Not exactly "stole", they were meant to be learned, used, passed on to others.
In my first entry on "Games Terry Taught" I tried to describe turning in place while being pushed by ukes from four directions. There was another game that dealt with "when does the attack begin?"
The game was called "Stop" if it had a name at all. This game was fascinating. I think it began with tsuki or shomen uchi. It worked when I brought it back to our little YMCA dojo, too. It eliminated the forearm to forearm clashing, at least it seemed to to me. If you want to mention ki, it was as if two firehose powerful streams of water met at a slight angle and the water went whoosh! up in the air.
Because your own arm was going up from the low center line upwards in an arc while uke's arm
(Note to Carina and Francis, I'm still working on that tribute to Father Joe for the Aikido Academy website, thanks for your encouragement. But the eighties brought so many changes in my life and as I hinted before, Father Joe's influence may have been part of those changes, so that is why so many pages started and not finished.... hope you can wait...)
This is a huge topic. O Sensei. O Moto Kyo. Who was O Sensei, and what was his message? What were his training methods?
And another question, Whose O Sensei? Not really trying to ask rhetorical questions here, but it seems that so many of us have our own personal feelings about what O Sensei means to us.
Evidently he, and Aikido made some impression or we wouldn't have started training, or even for those who haven't trained yet, wouldn't be reading about it here.
I have known two Aikido artists personally, years ago, Harvey Konigsberg from New York Aikikai, whom I met again at Aikido of Fairfield County, Ray Farinato's dojo, several years ago, and John Hrabushi, whom I first met many years ago at New Haven Aikikai, when it was in East Haven.
So it was kind of interesting, checking out the Omoto website and finding out the great importance they accord to Art. Many who have read about Aikido know about the Founder's writings hoping for world peace, and harmony with the natural environment, but if you haven't checked out the Omoto website, I recommend it. I haven't in a while, but I intend to.