Wednesday, February 24, 2010

dojo ebay

As many of you know, I am in the process of moving. So I'm putting a lot of my stuff in storage. GEtting the storage area in line to take my stuff has been a project. There are some things in there that may be of interest. I was originally intending to have a yard sale in the dojo. But that would necessitate bringing a lot of stuff into the dojo. So I thought instead I'd let people know what is available and they can contact me with an offer at jack

1. I have the vhs sets for "The Avengers" in 1963 and 1964. These star not Diana Rigg but Honor Blackman, whose Cathy Gale preceded Emma Peel. The character of John Steed is much darker, not the suave image we are used to from the Diana Rigg series. Ms Blackman did her own stunts and learned judo for the role. She is, of course, most famous as Pussy Galore in the Bond film"Goldfinger", for which she left the British tv series.

2. From 1975 I have the complete vhs set of Kolchak the Night Stalker, starring Darren McGavin. This was a tv series, but I also have the 2 made for tv movies that preceded the series: "The Night Stalker" and "The Night Strangler". An interesting blend of horror and comedy. McGavin is excellent. There was an attempt to revive the series a couple of years ago, but the original is much better.

3. A Japan Life International sleep system. It allows you to sleep in a magnetic field, which can give you the eqivalent of accupressure or body work as you rest. This is a child's unit, but many claimed the adult ones were way too hard. It is cushy and comfortable. The 108 magnets are said to last for over 100 years.

4. A mochi maker. With special rice(brown can work too) you can cook up rice cakes. They can vary from garlic seasoned to sweeter more desert versions.

5. A box full of t-shirts with O sensei's calligraphy for "Katsu Hayahi" or "Do the aikido that can be seen by the human eye". Or "that speed which transcends time and space". Mainly chilrens sizes.

6. Audio cassettes of "The Floating Bridge of Heaven", amatsu norito, kami goto, free form kototama. I gave one to Hikitsuchi sensei with a lot of trepidation. But he liked it. It is available at our website through Cafe press, but the audio cassette contains some artwork by Lou Bermingham sensei done especially for the audiocassette.

7. Dvds of a youtube video I did,"Secret Agent Gal", starring Dame Diana Rigg in an Emma Peel like role. I did a vocal for it that I know sort of regret doing. I whispered into a mike trying to get a new sound. The vocal is very inconsistent, but I edited Dame Diana's two mini-films "Minikillers" and "Das Diadem" into, I think, a good little short. I showed it to Nadeau sensei, and response was,"That's one tough woman".

8. A whole bunch of fairly current comic books featuring the "Blackest Night" arc and the current "World AGainst Superman" that is in the current Superman titles.

So if you see anything you might like, let me know. I'll donate 50% of everything taken in to the dojo. AS more items surface, I will let you know.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

more Japantown dojo musings

I am in the process of organizing for a move. So I am trying to get my storage space set so that it can take a lot of my current at large stuff. So I've been looking through old stuff. There is some interesting "stuff" so I'm thinking about doing a dojo garage sale some weekend and some old items can be made available. I have a complete vhs set of Kolchak the Night Stalker, the classic '70's Darren McGavin show.
I have a boxed set of Honor Blackman Avengers VHs also. I have many Kato sensei videos that were shot in the '90's. Even if you're not that into the aikido, it is a blast to see who was training in those days. There is quite a turnover in a dojo in 10 to 15 years. I have several "Leave it to Chance" books written by James Robinson, the writer of my favorite all-time comic book series, Starman. It is a cross between Kolchak and Buffy , with a memorable female protagonist. And with Robinson's excellent writing. He left comics to do movie scripts. He did "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" and is currently back in comics doing the Superman titles. I hope he revives the Jack Knight Starman. Please.....

I came across these photos while I was looking through stuff. From the group photo you can see the turnover from 20 plus years in the dojo. From my count there are only 3 active people from that group, and only one active in the dojo presently. Can you pick this person out?

Of course the most memorable part of the '80's Jtown dojo experience was the opportunity to be with my daughter Jennifer. She lived in the dojo well into 1987 along with her mom. After Sarah and I separated and later divorced, Jenny was often there after school and her mom would pick her up. And she continued to spend weekends and several weeknights there. But the time i will remember was the time she was pretty small and would be with me between classes. And would come with me to San Jose State when I was teaching there during the days. So if I had had a regular job, I would not have been so involved in her day to day as I was. There is a lot of time
between classes for an aikido instructor, and she and I got to spend a lot of time together.

I found an old vhs of her 6th birthday party which was held at the dojo. Robert Eyre, Peter Ralls, Tom Tabakin, and Lenny Pollak(who was at the recent 40th anniversary celebration in November) were all present. Lenny with his daughter Dawn and Tom with his daughter Jessica. I was going to try to put some of this online, but I won't without my daughter's permission. I had bought a used video camera from someone for $150. It was very large and needed to be hooked up to a vcr. This was used to shoot her party. I found a clip of myself doing the t'ai chi sabre form. This I am putting online:

Monday, February 08, 2010

Another milestone

Another milestone just recently passed. On February 1st of 1980, I became the chief instructor of Aikido of San Jose. The dojo in its original location was on 6th St of San Jose's Japantown. My daughter Jennifer was born in that building which is also referred to as Okida Hall. And it housed the dojo from July of 1976 into 2001. It was opened by Robert Nadeau sensei, whose business partner at the time was Ed Dreesen. At that time I was married, and Sarah and I purchased the business from Nadeau sensei and ED Dreesen. Actually, we took out a loan from Sarah's dad and were able to pay him back, in I believe, about 3 years.

So as of February 1st of this year, I have run the San Jose dojo for 30 years. Quite a milestone in its own right. So of my 40 years in Aikido a good 30 or more have focused on the San Jose dojo. Sarah, Jenny, and I lived upstairs in those early years. What later became the kitchen was originally the Women's bathroom. Of course the changing area was on the stage. Women to the right and Men to the left. I think the monthly rent when I took it over was less than $400 a month. That part of it changed as years passed.

I remember the area just across the street was a large warehouse, which housed art galleries and a lot of creative small businesses. This is similar to our current location. Across the hall on the other side of the building are a lot of neat businesses and art oriented ventures.

I still go back to Japantown. I have many memories of our time there. Many of the old businesses have moved on. Dobashi Market is now Nijiya Market. The old warehouse complex is now Blockbuster Video and apartments. The old dojo building last I looked was unoccupied and for sale.

Of the photos above. The first is a cute picture of Jenny taken in front of the old dojo building. And the next is of Sarah and Jenny and the elder member of the Dobashi family. When the dojo first opened and for a long while there was a house where the parking lot is now. And in the back there was an extensive garden. Mr Dobashi used to garden there during the day. Often Jenny would be out there with him. The house eventually went. I remember I went to Moscow for 10 days in 1989. When I got back the house was no longer there. For a major amount of time I actually lived in the upstairs space of the building. Yes, many memories.