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Old 02-02-2011, 06:41 PM   #34
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
Location: Stamford Connecticut
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 386
Re: Legacy and the Founder

I come back to this thread whenever I can (weather is a bit weird around here now, and I guess this is an example of the rigors and the beauty of nature) and will continue to study it for the history and the inspiration. I mentioned hardships faced by those who came over later, and hoped that others would mention them, and they have. We also have descriptions from George Ledyard and Peter Shapiro of their own interests and training.

Peter Shapiro knew that "gaijin deshi" were interested in learning about O Sensei and Shinto, etc. Hikitsuchi Sensei was a Shinto priest as many on Aiki Web know, and many "gaijin deshi" went to Shingu to study with him. At Hombu, Saotome Sensei very generously offered to teach those who were interested, along with the classes on sword and bokken. Please keep in mind that he did not know English, Peter Shapiro, the senpai of the group, knew Japanese. I think of the people who knew the most Japanese, the French were the most fluent. Many of them studied with Yamaguchi Sensei. Gleason Sensei, teaching in Massachusetts was a direct student of Yamaguchi Sensei.

Not meaning to make too long of a post, but just to mention a few people and topics, as I think I remember Saotome Sensei wrote in one of his books, or an article in the small magazine the Florida group printed in the early years in Sarasota. Bill MacIntyre while in Japan for a few weeks asked Saotome Sensei to send one of his nidans. Noone expected Saotome Sensei to go to America, he had said he intended to stay in Japan. However, he often spoke of the environment -- he wanted to meet Ralph Nader! -- and I think at some point he had an intuition that he had a message about Aikido and Nature that would be understood by people over here. His first book was called Aikido and the Harmony of Nature.

I guess I should close this post with a quote from Japanese, it's one of O Sensei's doka so I will defer to those who have translated it better than I could. I don't really speak Japanese, I just remember a few phrases. Here it is

Kono Amatsuchi no Misugata wa
I ka nerikeri

This is my hope for the Aikido community as well. Anyone who read my bio as Francis has will understand.

Oh well, here's my attempt: So beautiful, the August Shape of Heaven and Earth is One Family

(Translations of ancient texts often translate the syllable Mi as
"august" , the adjective. Shape can also be translated as form, if I remember correctly. )
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