This episode is not directly related to Aikido at all but I thought I would recount it here in light of all the numerous discussions about Aikido against another martial art or against boxing or how effective Aikido is in this situation or that. In my younger days, we used to discuss in this in the same way so I can't criticize it too much. I think that as the years pass and you gain more experience in Aikido and your skills develop to higher levels, this type of discussion gradually disappears.
This story is about my late grandfather and it is a story he told me many years ago as a child. I have always felt that he had some odd and very strange karma to O'Sensei, if I dare to say such a disrespectful thing. I say this because he shared the same rather unusual name as O'Sensei - his birth name was Morihei, with the same kanji characters. In addtion to this coincidence, he passed away at the same age as O'Sensei and exactly on the very same day, April 26th. This has always struck me as an odd coincidence.
Going on, when my grandfather was very young, he wanted to study swordsmanship very badly. However many times he asked the teacher, the teacher bluntly refused to teach him. My grandfather was very persistent and continued to beg him for instruction many times over. Finally, the teacher confessed: "In all my years in sword, it has only saved my life twice. This is hardly worth a lifetime of study! Better not study sword, give it up!"
My grandfather started anyways, but a few years later, he immigrated to the United States. This was in 1919.
Years later, my father met this teacher in the village when he was very young and used to live in Japan. He told me that he was very old by that time and often would wear two swords out on the streets. This was illegal for a long time by then so all the neighbors thought he was very senile. The local policeman would always have to escort him back to his house very politely and gently. My father and the other kids used to think this was so strange so they all used to climb the wall of this old teacher's house and call him bad names and make fun of him. My father said that one day when they were calling him names, he turned and looked at them and then took two of the shoji doors and brought them very close together with only a tiny space apart. The old teacher drew his sword and cut in between the small space of the doors and instantly returned the blade to the saya. My father remembers that the cut was so spine-tingling and frightening and they never bothered him again and whenever they saw him walking around the streets, still wearing his two swords, they always politely bowed to him . . . .
How many times will we encounter and fight another martial artist or boxer in a real fight? We can also worry about bombs, snipers and poisonous gas in our lives. . . . Sometimes, we just have to go on with our lives and not worry about such things. Anyways, I thought this story from my distant past might interest you. Still remember this story to this day. . . Thanks!