View Single Post
Old 07-22-2011, 01:18 PM   #85
Cady Goldfield
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,024
Re: The Word "Aikido"

I talk on the phone with Ginny pretty often, and she said recently that Steve Carabino was from Swampscott, her original dojo. Bernie Mulligan, now sixth dan, I believe was very kind to me when Ginny was still training and she brought me along to class. I remember he invited me into the office for an aperitif liqueur after class before Ginny and I went home to her mother's house.

Small world, Diana! I grew up just two miles up the road from Bernie Mulligan's Swampscott dojo, Shodokan on Humphrey Street. It was next door to the old Surf Theater (now a condo development, alas), and when I was a kid waiting in line for the Saturday matinee at the Surf, I would hear the sounds of bodies being thrown on the tatami up in Mr. Mulligan's top-floor training hall, and occasionally caught glimpses of white-suited men walking by the window.

Back then, Mr. Mulligan was teaching judo, mostly. I was fascinated with martial arts, having read a book about judo, and asked my mother if I could take lessons at Shodokan. But we learned that while there was a children's class, it was boys-only. The town of Swampscott (back in the arcane mid-1960s) forbade co-ed contact sports for children and teens. Since I was the only girl interested in judo then, it wasn't feasible to start a separate girl's class. Sigh.

When Mitsunari Kanai came to the U.S. to start his Boston-area Aikikai dojo, Mulligan let him use his mats (IIRC) for aikido classes until Kanai found a place of his own. That's when he started offering aikido in Swampscott -- late 60s, I think, like '68 or '69. Shodokan moved to Salem (on Canal St. for a while, then a big dojo on Franklin St.) and a couple of years ago they moved to Beverly. AFAIK, Mr. Mulligan is still at the helm! I trained briefly at his Franklin St. dojo in the early '90s, and like you remember him as being very kind.

Whenever I catch a whiff of a big ol' see-gar, hough with no-smoking laws making that a rare thing nowadays, I think of Bernie Mulligan.

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 07-22-2011 at 01:32 PM.
  Reply With Quote