It was my honor and privilege to have trained with Okabayashi Shogen in Kyoto and Osaka during a period of three years. The men and women training in his art of Hakuho-Ryu Aiki Jujutsu are of the highest moral and technical caliber. Sensei has granted me the rank of Shōdan and it is my responsibility to keep my skills up to the standard that Sensei’s training demands. I regret that I have not trained with Sensei in several years and it has been too long. I hope to return to his Dojo as soon as opportunity permits. Sensei’s generosity is unbelievable, considering that he is instructing gaijin in an ancient art whose lineage is impeccable. His confidence and trust in us is extraordinary and it is the obligation of his students to study and train diligently and to instruct others in his art.Sensei’s mastery has allowed him to see past the techniques of jujutsu and find the principles beneath them which unite all human movement. His control of aiki and the power he controls is quite uncanny. I have seen him throw a very heavy man across the room with very little effort on his part. He continually admonished me to ‘erase the muscle’ and use technique rather than brute attempts at force. As always, his lessons in waza can be applied to life and on a larger scale, to society as a whole and to diplomacy between nations.I am deeply grateful to Sensei for having had the confidence and trust to have taught me the fundamentals of the ikkajo. Learning from Sensei is both honor and a responsibility that I feel privileged to have begun. The members of Sensei’s dojo are like family and I deeply look forward to the next opportunity to train together.On a personal note, Sensei is also a musician and it has been a great happiness for me to play music together with him, both blues piano (which Sensei picked up quickly) and taiko. Sensei often equates musical rhythm and timing with waza.
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