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Old 08-29-2006, 07:04 PM   #21
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
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Re: Article: An Aikido Journey: Part 10 by Peter Goldsbury

Raul Rodrigo wrote:
Bringing the discussion to the present day: Would a current shihan at Hombu Dojo like Yasuno describe himself as having been a "deshi" of the late Seigo Yamaguchi? Or is the sensei-deshi relationship in Hombu more spread out, with a shihan having many teachers and influences? Of course, the shidoin today attend many teachers' classes, so its not a question of time spent in class but more of "allegiance", so to speak. I recently saw a young Hombu 4th dan, Makoto Ito, whose movement is really very Yasuno in character. Would someone like him say that he was a student of the "stable" in general, as Mr. Goldsbury put it, or of one shihan in particular?
Well, the Aikikai Hombu is a large organization and all the teachers there have their own dojos. For example, Tada Hiroshi Sensei used to teach at the Hombu Dojo and also ran his own dojos in Kichijoji and Jiyugaoka. It is probable that the regular students of those dojos rarely visit the Hombu. They are clearly deshi of Tada Sensei, as are the many members of the Aikikai of Italy.

In a less strict sense the regular members of Tada Sensei's classes at the Hombu would also regard themselves as Tada Sensei's deshi. I regard myself as a student of Tada Sensei because over the past 25 years I have attended his classes at the Hombu and also the seminars he has taught in Hiroshima. However, insofar as 'deshi' connotes an exclusive relationship, with one particular teacher at the expense of others, then, No, I am not a deshi of Tada Sensei. I used the term 'student' above, because I think 'deshi' does tend to have such an exclusive connotation in Japanese.

I think Mr Yasuno did regard himself as a deshi of Yamaguchi Sensei and did his best to train in the way that Yamaguchi Sensei taught. Of course, Mr Yasuno also trained with many other teachers and this is why the the term needs to be used more 'inclusively' in regard to the Aikikai Hombu. However, I think his main 'map' of aikido was the one given by Yamaguchi Sensei. The same is true of Endo Shihan.

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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