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Old 01-24-2006, 12:07 AM   #1
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,319
Small World

A short story which may be of some interest if only to show how small a world this is.

While I was staying in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada about 4 years ago I had a chance to meet another member of the Shodokan Honbu in Osaka. I was just about to return to Japan after a couple of years but he was on his way out for an extended period. We failed in a search for a dojo and ended up practicing in an art gallery BUT shortly after he left I got a call from a dojo owner and ended up paying a visit.

This turned out to be a very interesting meeting. A couple of members of this forum know Wayne Erdman. This judoka was Pan-Am Gold medalist and multiple Canadian Champion. He was also an Olympian and coach of the Canadian Olympic team.

So flash forward to last Christmas. One of my ex-Aikido students (Norm) was willing to drive three hours each way to meet up and do a bit of training so I contact Wayne and ask a favor. In the meantime Norm had a fan of his writing for a Nisei magazine and contacted this gentleman.

It turns out that Norm's fan is Wayne's Judo teacher. Although John Hatashita is 85 year old he looks like a very fit 60 year old. When he was training at both the Kodokan and Waseda Daigaku he used to translate for Tomiki (my teacher's teach) when American forces personal came to train and of course it was from him that he learned his Aikido in addition to some of his Judo.

As an aside my uncle, who I hadn't seen in 10 years, was visiting at the same time. He grew up with Wayne Erdman - they used to wrestle together.

OK. So Norm and me, Wayne and John, and my uncle are sitting around with sake in Styrofoam cups talking about resistive training methods, why taking the low position is poor Judo, Tomiki, other famous Judo men and such (my uncle remembers me mainly as a skinny kid and spent most of the time eyes wide open and mouth shut). Apparently Hatashita sensie's brother was a quite famous Canadian Judoka, known to Kano Jigaro. His son, who we also met, is also a Judo Olympian (I think it was mentioned he obtained a bronze - not sure).

Now it gets interesting. Norm is a big solid individual. I've always had a real hard time moving him. He outweighs me by quite a bit and we are not talking flabby. I'm doing a bit of light Shodokan randori with Norm and Wayne sits down to watch. Its a matter of pride I know but now I have to toss Norm and Norm wont give an inch. I finally manage to get Norm with an ushiro-ate. It was not pretty but Wayne with a smile on his face jumps up and starts laying on the hands. It was related to previous discussion but here was an Olympic Judoka demonstrating pure Mifune style Judo - soft, rhythmic, very Aiki. The very sort of Judo I try to do - in fact the very sort of Aikido I try to do.

I could do with more afternoons like that.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-24-2006, 01:14 AM   #2
Chuck Clark
Chuck Clark's Avatar
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,134
Re: Small World

Hi Peter,

Hope things are going well for you. Frank Hatashita was my teacher for almost two years in Toronto. I can relate to your experience as you describe... I've had a few times like that myself over the years. In fact, my life has been filled with similar times that I recall fondly. Ernie Cates Sensei was in my dojo for a few days not long ago and we had lots of similar memories. At 72 and two artificial knees, he is still great to tussle with. I also, could do with lots more times like that. Such memories are the real "trophies" that don't need to be dusted...

Take care,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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Old 01-24-2006, 06:36 AM   #3
crbateman's Avatar
Location: Orlando, FL
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,502
Re: Small World

Moments like that are pure. It's the reason we train.
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