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Old 02-21-2011, 07:47 PM   #47
Dale Matthews
Dojo: Aikido-Louisville Aikikai
Location: Kentucky
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 2
Re: Legacy and the Founder

I've not posted here before but better late than never I suppose. I was at the airport when Saotome Sensei arrived in Tampa back in May, 1975.

Several instructors from around the country who trained with Yamada Sensei visited Hombu dojo. Bill McIntyre was among them. As I recall the story they had the opportunity to train with the Hombu shihan and liked Saotome Sensei's classes the most, but more importantly Sensei would go to the coffee shop after class with students and speak with them about Aikido.

They asked Sensei if he would please send a student to teach in Florida and Sensei replied none of his students would leave him. Three days later he said he would come. Rather like a little mission church asking for a priest and getting a Cardinal.

It took some time to arrange for Sensei's green card but finally, with the intervention of the local congressman, arrangements were finalized.

At first we practiced in McIntyre's dojo. Sensei had been promised a house and a monthly stipend. Eventually those agreements were unable to be kept. One night at the dojo Sensei said he could no longer teach in that dojo.

Those of us who determined to go with Sensei removed our name tags from the wall.

John Messores at the time worked as the grounds keeper and caretaker for a local parochial church and school. He arranged for us to be able to use their gymnasium for classes. Training never stopped!

I'll have to continue later I must leave for an appointment.

Thanks for bringing up the great memories George. Oh, by the way, I am still studying and teaching. LOL!

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