March 20th: The direct successor for Seiseki Abe Sensei, Ryoichi Kinoshita sensei (6th Dan) came to our dojo as part of his first West Coast USA tour that took him through the San Francisco Bay Area. Speaking through a translator who had spent the past 10 years training with him, he discussed a lot of aspects regarding ki.
Now being a non-user of the term I found that despite his explanation, his practice of the art was nonetheless en-par with an 8th degree black belt.
The majority of the night he demonstrated how often ki was associated with simply movements – such as the one that he showed during class where the uke was simply holding the nage in the standard katatedori form. For over two hours he simply used this movement to demonstrate how the flow of ki allows a person to move someone and to drop someone on their ass from katatedori.
We later moved on to where one person would stand in the middle and 4 or 5 other students would hold on to them, trying to hold them down.
We went for a good 20 minutes of this. The results were quite hilarious! We took Kinoshita Sensei and his translator out to dinner afterward. Throughout dinner Kinoshita Sensei spoken with my Sensei about the times of Abe Sensei; the time when he visited our dojo in the 90s (before my time) as Abe Sensei’s right hand man.
To end this experience I’d like to share with you something that I believe (anyway) is extremely special. The shomen at my dojo stands a piece of calligraphy that was written by Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei himself. Kinoshita Sensei was the one who was entrusted with the safety of the scroll on the second time that Abe Sensei visited the dojo in ’92.
As it turns out, Abe Sensei had a large collection of O’Sensei’s calligraphy work stored at his house. Unfortunately, there was a fire recently and along with a large portion of the house, all of the pieces of calligraphy perished in the fire. It may very well be that – according to Kinoshita Sensei – my dojo has one of the last pieces of calligraphy ever written by the founder of Aikido himself.