Re: John Cornish retires after 52 years of aikido
Just found out about John Cornish's retirement, and since he was my first aikido teacher in 1974 at the Budokwai, I feel duty bound to acknowledge his importance in getting my MA studies started on a sound basis. I also started judo sessions under Syd Hoare for a while since John was a top judoist and made frequent allusions to judo in aikido class, even treating some judo arts as useful to learn for aikido students, including counters to some judo arts, but especially the Goshin jutsu kata (and still have John's BJA publication on that kata.) Even though I broadened my training base to the Aikikai of GB under Chiba and Kanetsuka, I still attended John Cornish's classes. John accompanied me to the 1976 Aikikai summer school with Seigo Yamaguchi, and he was a mine of fascinating details in evening conversations about both aikido and judo. At the opening introductions to the summer school Chiba invited John Cornish to join him out front with Yamaguchi and asked Aikikai members to gain the benefit of training with John, a flamboyant gesture to show everyone how concerned he was to bring various aikido organizations together. John's affability made it impossible not to like him, and even after I defected to Koichi Tohei's Ki Society under the tutelage of Ken Williams' Ki Federation of GB in the early 80s, I still visited John's classes at the Budokwai, even though he and his students were not practicing the "ki way" of doing things... it was very interesting for me to adapt and realize how much some essential technical points diverged between the so-called "Traditional" and "Ki" schools. Even though I am now firmly in the Ki camp, more recently Kirk Fowler at the Arizona Ki Society didn't mind my more classical shihonage that I still prefer to today's Ki Society style execution: the hugely experienced Sensei Fowler realized that someone as long in the tooth as me will always have his preferences about some things ;0) Nowadays I'm busy integrating my aikido experience with xingyiquan (if you're ever in Phoenix AZ look me up and I'll show you what I mean.) My last visit to John's class was in the late 90s before moving stateside and I have only the fondest memories of John Cornish and those many sessions throughout the years at the Budokwai... there are zillions of stories to reminisce about, but for now, just: God bless John Cornish and may he have a happy retirement.