In the last couple of years I have been writing on and off with the view of publishing my experience in Aikido from early days to life as an Uchi Deshi with Chiba Sensei. During lock down this accelerated significantly as I have now passed the half way line. First draft, so a long way to go but getting there.

 

Here is an excerpt from Upside down inside Out (The book title at the moment) as I try to describe how the formal teacher training program began.

 
Kenshusei
 
Training here but more so enrolling on a teacher training or Kenshusei1Kenshusei translates roughly to “Polishing ones self with the aim of mastery.” program carried kudos. This was San Diego Aikikai and the leader was TK Chiba Sensei, Uchi Deshi to Morihei Ueshiba the founder of Aikido. Yes this man got his stuff from the horses mouth, from the man who created his own art. We were that close in proximity, at least in principle, to the direct source of this most eccentric of Japanese martial traditions. Chiba Sensei offered a compelling package that, at a distance was exciting and different. It was “spiritual” with a bases in Aikido, weapons, Iaido, Zen, Diet and a teacher training program that tied it all together. This was our own Kung Fu series (I know thats Chinese and cheesy). Mini Shaolin monks or martial art monk influence. It was so different from the norms of main stream society.
 
The reality of it was another matter all together. If you were running away from life to an idealised experience you were in for some serious shock therapy. A rude wake up call. I remember some of the older crew talking about some who would rely on Aikido, leaning on it like a crutch. Well, the head man will kick that crutch away and then what? Harmony, love, “Zen”? These were too abstract, with no bases in reality. How could they be? Although I must admit to being unfair and quite harsh here as there is nothing wrong with ideas. From science and art, literature to philosophy, religion to industry and commerce. It is all punctuated with once crazy even mad ideas. Many of which are now accepted as normal if they are even noticed at all. So why not an eastern rooted system that challenges us in its own way?