2/27/2002 9:25am [from Jun Akiyama]
I have just received word that Gilbert James sensei, 6th dan Yoshinkan, of the Midwest Yoshinkai Aikido Association in Chicago, Illinois, has passed away. The e-mail that I received reads, "At approximately 1:30 p.m. today, Tuesday, February 26, Sensei Gilbert James passed away. Sensei James, who had been battling cancer, had dedicated the past 40 years of his life to Yoshinkan Aikido and sharing his knowledge with countless students. He has touched many of our lives beyond the art and will be missed. Sensei James requested that he be cremated and details of his memorial will be forthcoming. On behalf of the Midwest Yoshinkai Aikido Association and the James family, I want to thank the many of you who have shared kind words and wishes to Sensei James during his struggle. Please continue to think of him when you are training. By doing so, you will make him smile as he makes corrections to our techniques from a better place. -- Kevin Bradley". I wish to send my condolences to James sensei's family, friends, students, and loved ones.
Sensei Gilbert James
I sought out Sensei James several years ago. Both he and my head instructor started out in the same Yoshinkan class on Chicago's Southside. My sensei moved around, eventually ending up in the Ki Society, whereas Sensei James stayed in Yoshinkan.
I had certain reservations before visiting his dojo. I assumed the pre-WWII style of Yoshinkan would lend itself to more ju-jitsu type techniques. But what I found were aiki techniques being practiced. The one thing that impressed me most, was the sheer beauty of movement in Yoshinkan.
Sensei James was a perfect gentleman. After a short discussion, I discovered that the first Yoshinkan instructor left Chicago. For years, the Yoshinkan group would train among themselves, using books and films as training aids. In order to test for rank, Sensei James and others, would film their test and send it to Japan for evaluation. I can't imagine what kind of dedication it would take to practice in those conditions.
Sensei Gilbert James was one of the first people to practice Aikido in the Chicago area. His dedication to training is an example to us all.
I would like to offer my condolences to Sensei James' family, friends, loved ones and students.
I just received information on James sensei's memorial service:
Cage Memorial Chapel
7651 S. Jeffrey
Chicago, IL 60649
Thanks to Sherman Byas for this information.
donations on behalf of Gilbert James
Just recieved this info.
Donations may be made on behalf of Gilbert James Sensei to the United Negro College Fund.
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