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Old 01-07-2011, 11:13 AM   #10
R.A. Robertson
Dojo: Still Point Aikido Center
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 346
Re: Aikido Solution to a Cultural Collision

They should contemplate Osensei. I have learned from people who knew him that he spoke to everybody as an equal, although Japanese tradition and language usually call for old masters to speak from above. It's in their choice of words, in the grammar, and so on. Osensei did not.
R. Kobayashi Sensei, founder of Seidokan, went to Japan to pay his respects to O Sensei. They were seated on the floor with each other, and O Sensei started to bow very slowly as he said, "So very grateful to you for helping to spread aikido."

Kobayashi quickly bowed in response, doing all he could to keep his head lower than O Sensei's, according to rank, custom, and respect. But O Sensei's head kept getting lower and lower as he talked, and by the time he finished speaking, his forehead was touching the floor.

Kobayashi was mortified, and said he wished he had a trenching tool that he could use to find a lower position. But he took from it a profound lesson in mutual respect and equality.

Sensei Kobayashi was always an extremely humble man to begin with, but I think he was deeply moved by the example of O Sensei.
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