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Old 12-05-2011, 07:59 PM   #31
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 812
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

I guess you are recalling something I wrote in a previous thread, Raul.

So I arrived in Japan in January of 1976. I had an introduction to Kuwamori Dojo from Saotome Mitsugi. I had a letter to Honbu from Terry Dobson and I didn't know that this was not very important or noticed. So, one morning, Kuwamori Yasunori gts up and says, "let's go to Honbu dojo." But Yasunori was always late and he never got up early.

So we walk into Doshu (nidai) class 20 minutes late. Doshu sees him, calls us over, and says, "You never get up this early. What are you doing here for - late?" Kuwamori says, "Well, this young guy is living at my dojo now. He's a student of Saotome sensei." (This, by the way, was the height of the rift between Saotome and Dobson with the Aikikai)

Now to me, this was a problem. Saotome and I, at that time, had become, in a strange way, kind of friends, but he was not my teacher. And I knew whatever was first said about you was who you were, forever, in Japan. So, I interrupted and in very broken Japanese, said, "Excuse - please. Not Mr. Saotome student, No, you big mistake. Terry Dobson student."

Doshu looks up at me - and he had to look up a long way, given our heights, considers me for a minute and calls over Shibata Ichiro. He says, Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah Terry Dobson, blah, blah Terry Dobson. And the next thing I knew, I was grabbed and smashed and crushed and mangled, and every technique I tried, he stopped, and I thought I might die.

So, Kuwamori had a good time working out with someone and at the end of the class, walks up to me, laughing, and says, "Ellis-kun. I gotta go home and sleep. Why don't you stay the day. I'll see you this evening at class."

So, I'm just hanging around in the half hour between classes - no one knows me, no one's talking to me, and just before the next class starts, Shibata walks over with Seki, saying, "Blah, blah, blah Saotome, blah Dobson, Saotome, Blah, blah, blah, blah." And then class started and Seki grabbed and smashed and crushed and mangled me, but because he was a different kind of guy, he guided me, sort of through the proper form of a technique when it was my turn to throw.

Next day I'm back. Doshu's class. I walk in and Doshu looks at me, and there's Miyamoto, grinning like a demented jack-o-lantern, and he looks at Doshu and Doshu nods, and class starts and he grabs me and I didn't get to do nage. He did all the throwing - continuously for one hour, half the time I was taking ukemi on the wooden floor off the mat, and sometimes on the walls, and everyone just gave us a lot of room, and Doshu watched benignly.

Second class - some sixth dan I never saw again. He was watching Miyamoto manhandling me, and he grabbed me for Osawa sensei's class, and he threw me - I counted - 264 shihonage in one hour (and that was not a technique that Osawa called for - and truly, that time I thought I'd die - I was prepared to throw myself out the window in case I began to throw up on the mat). And then Friday, and I only went to Doshu's class, and some other sixth dan, I don't know who, he just did yonkyo on me for the entire hour (that wasn't the technique for that class either, and his forearms were bigger than my biceps, I could barely get my hands around his wrists - he let me try on him, one out of twenty - but I couldn't make an impression, and by the end of the hour, it felt like two very sensitive areas of a man's body had split up and migrated, one settling in each wrist, and I couldn't even use chop-sticks to eat, cause my fingers wouldn't work (and all the while, I was taking evening classes at Kuwamori Dojo).

After that first week, it was just normal rugged practice. The answer, I guess, is that there was a collective enforcement - they were just making sure, before I did anything.

Doshu started regularly calling me out to take ukemi for him in waza demonstrations, about two months later.

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 12-05-2011 at 08:03 PM.

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