Great post as usual. I have a question, if you dont' mind.
Why was Saotome Sensei asked to move to USA? English language skills? Disponibility to travel? Who told the original group Saotome Sensei was the teacher they were looking for?
Thanks in advance.
There was a group of folks in Florida and their Chief Instructor had met Sensei in Japan. He went home and proposed they bring Sensei to the States. That's the basic story, there are details I don't know as I didn't start until two years later when he moved to DC.
I don't know what it was that made this little group in FL have the chutzpah to invite someone of Sensei's caliber to be their Chief Instructor. It certainly was something Sensei very much wished to do. Saotome Sensei is very much the artistic, creative, individualist... he is definitely not an organization man. He could never have been happy staying in Japan... the US was the perfect place for him. As an uchi deshi I think he followed what was expected. But once O-Sensei died, I think he felt free to pursue his own path.
Osawa Sensei and Kisshomaru, the Nidai Doshu, tried on a couple of occasions to talk him into returning the Hombu but I think that would have been disastrous for him personally and of course we are all glad he didn't. I never heard him entertain the idea of returning for a second. He fully committed to be here and to us as his students. That's something I never doubted.