Re: Kisaburo Ohsawa Sensei
The Ohsawa Sensei I had the extreme privilege to know and interact with, was a simple, and quite an ordinary man. It was what he accomplished, and what he continuously stood for, that made him into an indispensable giant of Aiki.
My first meeting with Ohsawa Sensei, then Hombu Dojo-Cho at Aikikai Headquarters, was in 1973, when my then wife and I had a meeting with him regarding the shenanigans of one Koichi Tohei.
We had brought all kinds of first hand proofs of Tohei Sensei;s perfidy and ill advised attacks on Hombu Dojo, the Doshu and of the Founder himself. Throughout the entire presentation, Sensei sat unmoved and appearing to be uninterested, but patient nevertheless.
Frustrated, I turned to my wife and demanded that she translate what I wanted to say. "Tell him that I came to Japan and to Hombu Dojo to see if Aikikai leadership had any balls!" She did so, and we both awaited an explosion, or at least some sort of denial.
Ohsawa Sensei sat there as before, then suddenly burst into uncontrollable laughter saying, "yes, we have no balls at all!"
It was then I knew I had found a mentor I could trust, respect and to love for being all I expected from a true martial arts teacher.
History goes on to prove that Ohsawa Sensei did indeed influence the Doshu to eventually come to the United States on behalf of his loyal students there, and begin the turn around for the fate of Aikido in the United States, and for the entire Aikido world.
In 1974, after the departure of Tohei Sensei from Aikikai, I returned to Hombu dojo for a summer training visit. I was an "isoroo", a sort of live in student/apprentice whose main job was to clean the dojo before each morning's training at the Doshu's 6:30 am class. I was also extremely privileged to accompany both the Doshu and Ohsawa Sensei on training trips around Tokyo, Kii Tanabe, Iwama and other sites as well.
At one training venue with a group of high ranking Self Defense Force instructors, Ohsawa Sensei revealed to them that he had a pulled muscle in his shoulder for foolishly attempting to move this "big guy next to me". This was all for effect, but I did marvel at how he was so inventive as to how he would conduct his teaching of class.
Yes, Ohsawa Sensei may never get his true due as a key architect of the Aikido we are privileged to have today. In the mind and hearts of those who knew him, however, he was, and always will be, an undisputed cornerstone of the legacy of the Founder's Aikido.
francis y takahashi