These days since the passing of Arikawa Sensei, I have been thinking a lot about him, remembering the past and my experiences with him. As is often the case, we don't "truly" miss someone until they are no longer with us. When I was very young, all of these great Aikido teachers seemed like they will be around forever. But now, after many years, I have lost all my teachers, one by one in the last ten years or so. I suppose this is the inevitable passing of time and the changing of the seasons. I only mention this to the younger generation of Aikido students here and would like to recommend to you to get as much as possible from your sensei because they do eventually disappear and you will always say to yourself, "I could have learned so much more from him!" I know this from very personal experience.
To mention this now about Arikawa Sensei may sound too horrible and disrespectful but I mention this anyways as one of my very fondest memories of him. While I was young and training at Hombu, I was, outside of class, always afraid to spend much time with Arikawa Sensei! He was always grabbing our arms and showing us this technique and that technique and trying something and it really hurt so much! One time he grabbed me to show me how much more flexible my arm and shoulder should be to withstand a good shihonage or kotegaeshi (namely his!). All I will say here is "wow" and leave the rest to your imagination. Sometimes, when we saw him approaching us or entering the room, we would try to run away! Years later, as I reflect back, I miss these times, as "painfully" as I remember them. Arikawa Sensei seemed to be 100% Aikido, 24 hours a day. On the mat, off the mat, every minute of the day, it was nothing but Aikido for him. . . . . When I think about this nowadays, I really feel ashamed of myself. The other day, I was on a mini-vacation, just to take a break from my 7-day a week dojo work and teaching schedule - after all these years, I know I will never reach Arikawa Sensei's purity. . . . .