Dojo: Genbukan, Macclesfield
Location: Macclesfield, NW England
Join Date: Mar 2004
A couple of short Chiba Sensei stories...
Chiba Sensei and the Hakama
As told by Ken Cottier Shihan
I was at a formal dinner with Chiba Sensei, and given his somewhat fearsome reputation, nobody was too willing to sit next to him, but of course somebody had to, and in this case it was me. Let us say the atmosphere was quite tense. Looking for something I could talk to him about, I turned to him and said:
And he growled "Huh?"
"Erm, I folded your hakama earlier…"
"Erm… Well, Sensei, I noticed there was something different about it"
"…but I couldn't work out what it was"
"I beg your pardon, Sensei?"
"I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you mean, Sensei"
"I said 'ool!' why don't you understand me when I speak English?"
It was then that [sorry, I forget the name --ed.] turned to me and said: "I think Sensei is saying "wool"
And it turned out that because of the way Japanese phonetics are worked, Chiba Sensei found it quite difficult to say "wool", and what came out was this "ool", as he had a woollen hakama… not woollen as in knitted, that would be silly, but just woven like a normal hakama… anyway, if the atmosphere was tense before this, it was nothing compared to what it was like after it.
Chiba Sensei and the Egg
As told by Ken Cottier Shihan
We were in a regular practice session, and it came about the Chiba Sensei got a nasty gash in his head. "It's ok", he said.
"It looks quite bad Sensei, it might need to be stitched"
"Not necessary. Get me an egg!"
"An egg, Sensei?"
"Yes, an egg! Do you have an egg?"
I felt like looking inside my jacket and saying 'Of course, Sensei, would you like hardboiled, poached, fried?' But I wasn't too sure that this would be well received so it was agreed that someone would go and get an egg for him. We did have to clarify with him, "Erm… just to check, it is a raw egg that you want, Sensei?"
"Of course I want a raw egg!"
Not wishing to argue with this, it was delegated to [sorry, I forget the name --ed.] to go down to the shop to purchase an egg. Of course, as this was an urgent matter, he was still in his keikogi, and the shop assistant was even more surprised that he just wanted to buy one egg, as in those days it was possible to buy eggs individually. She smiled politely to him, and he held up the one egg like this *gestures* and, after convincing her that he really did just want to buy one egg, and that it wasn't a joke, he came hurrying back to the dojo with this egg for Sensei. Upon his command a saucer was produced, by that I don't mean that it was actually manufactured by us, but rather that it was fetched from another room. What followed was an operation that required four of us, all directed by Chiba Sensei, who was of course by now sat in a chair, leaning back with a damp cloth to his head. As it turns out, the membrane from just inside the eggshell can be used to put over a wound, and this, if left to dry, sets hard like a kind of organic cement, and acts like stitches, except that it doesn't leave so much of an ugly scar; Chiba Sensei being concerned as he was about his looks.
I've heard more humorous Chiba Sensei stories in similar pub story-telling occasions / dinners etc with KC Shihan, but I don't remember them well enough to repeat so accurately here, so I won't try…