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Old 01-31-2007, 06:00 PM   #4
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,073
Re: Hypocrisy in Aikido

Hello Ellis,

Your post brings back memories. I never knew Arikawa Sensei like Terry Dobson, Stan Pranin and you yourself did, but I knew him in a different way, I suppose, from different goalposts. I fought with him at IAF meetings and he was just as scary off the mat as he was on it.

On one occasion he wanted the IAF statutes to be changed to take account of the special position of certain Japanese shihans. I refused. We had a vigorous argument, in which Arikawa Sensei ignored the normal rules of meeting procedure and simply blasted away, ignoring the pleas of the hapless General Secretary to keep to the agenda. But he made the whole thing very personal, as if the whole thing was simply between Arikawa and Goldsbury. I am sure you can imagine the scene.

These were battles that I felt I just had to win, for the kind of reasons that George intimates in his post about Bruce Bookman. Aikido 'gaijin' are tested everywhere in Japan, not just at the Hombu Dojo, and I think the reason has to do with how most Japanese have been mentally programmed to deal with foreigners. If you are an 'outside person', then the goalposts are very rarely level: they always tilt, but, and this is important, not always in the same direction. However, aikido is willy-nilly no longer an art based solely and simply on Japanese values. Like judo, it has been opened to the world at large, and the Japanese alone are not capable of ensuring that it does not also go the way of judo. But this real 'internationalizing' of aikido, in a way that does not result in any serious splits, will take much longer than one or two generations.

As bookshop encounters. I once bumped into Arikawa Sensei in the Kinokuniya store in Times Square, Shinjuku. I was with Christian Tisser and some others and they quietly 'disappeared', leaving me with Arikawa Sensei. I had just bought some books on early Japanese history and we had a long discussion. I think he was a little surprised that I was studying such a subject, and even more surprised when I told him I taught a course to Japanese students in Hiroshima on the Kojiki and the Bible.

I think I mentioned somewhere at the time that when Arikawa Sensei died, Stan and I visited him at the hospital. There was no one else there and we paid our respective farewells. From the recorded time of death, I think he died just a few minutes after we left and I also believe that we were the last visitors to see him before the end.

Best, PAG

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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