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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
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
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
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
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
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
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...
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
I remember a hot dog commercial that said, "Don't you just love summer?"
For those who have followed my blog at least sometimes, the question might be, "Will she EVER get back into training?"
My hubbie loves to lift weights, an iron bar with old tires, suitably hidden behind an old Faith Tree , a kind of Arbor Vitae evergreen, out of view of neighbors, joggers, drivers by......
I'm wary of such exertions for myself, though, having gotten plantar fascitis from doing the seated leg stretches after a year of....not.
As I mentioned on an earlier post.
But there are always the stairs in the house, the propped tires, the bumper of an old car. As they said in Old New York, slowly by slowly, easy by easy. Or something like that.
Francis wrote that yes, futari geiko is great. But here at home futari geiko means luring hubbie dear into practicing Aikido with me. Do I practice karate kata with him and then ask for equal time for Aikido? But I can barely manage front stance let alone move along the lines without falling over.... (no I'm not being super modest about my present abilities....)
Helping him at work? That too might help. I sometimes do that anyway. But the funnies thing is cutting grass by hand seated on the ground. It does work, and there's no temptation to overdo the stretches. Besides, hubbie dear likes the grass long this year for his karate kata so I only have to do the edges between the practice part and the berry bushes.
Many years ago I saw "Never on Sunday" starring Melina Mercouri, and suddenly while contemplating maybe writing a blog entry on the classical Japanese themes of mountains and seashore (I think it's called Sansui, san meaning mountain, as in Fuji San, Mount Fuji, and sui, the Chinese derived pronunciation of the word for water, of which the native Japanese is mizu, perhaps more familiar to those of us who know just a little of the Japanese language...)
.... suddenly this phrase came to mind as part of a long train of thought which was partly inspired by Francis Takahashi's column on Hitori Geiko, training by oneself. He mentioned taking walks is also keiko, so in my latest blog entry I mentioned a friend who has a back injury and no longer attends a dojo but takes long walks by the shore, and then Carina sent a beautiful photo of a beach in Gran Canaria. I suppose I could say that the ideas and communication roll along, like the waves ... a wonder of nature on the one hand, and a wonder of human nature on the other....
But back to the movie. Melina Mercouri's character was revising the Greek tragedies because she preferred a happy ending. "And They All Went to the Seashore"
Many of us prefer stories with a happy ending! And if our work is demanding, the water, the sun, the sand, the salt air and maybe some trees for shade .... are very restorative, curative ....
Where to go on vacation used to be a popular topic and often symbolized husband and wife having