A couple of days ago I was in storage and came up with a couple of photos I knew existed but had lost track of. The aikido picture of me was taken when I was about a 2nd kyu at UC Davis. My uke is Judy, the wife of Professor Charles Tart, who was the faculty advisor for the aikido club. There are a couple of other photos of me during that period. As far as I know those are the only aikido photos of me during my first 3 or 4 years in the art. AT the time the photos were taken I was studying with Alan Grow, the founder of the Oakland Aikido Institute, which at the time was located on College Avenue.
The other photo is of a very old friend, Marty. I think he was initially my sister's dog, a Lassa Maltese mixed with something else. After my sister left for Pharmacy school my mom took care of him. Marty was a lot like my cat Tiger. We had an almost telepathic connection. The night before I left home for UC Davis and grad school he came into my room and it was obvious he knew that I was leaving home.
Marty had certain connections to aikido. When I got back from Japan in 1975 I would practice amatsu norito and kototama chants and Marty would come into the room and make kototama like sounds and chant along with me. It was unbelievably cute. And he left a definite impression on Hikitsuchi sensei, who stayed at my parents' house in Santa Cruz May of 1974. Marty tended to like to eat food from the dining table over his own dog food. And he would definitely get food because he was so cute. But one trick my mom and sister used to use was to tell him that if he didn't eat his food, that I would..... He would then come, snarl at me, and go eat his food. Hikituschi sensei observed this humorously. When I went back to Japan he would regale people in Shingu with stories of Marty. "Tabenai to Jyakku(Japanese pronunciation of my name) ga taberu yo!" Which of course translates as"If you don't eat it, Jack will." And then he would give a snarl in imitation of Marty. Marty lived for some years after my mom passed away in 1975 and my dad re-married. It was a real trip seeing the photo and re-living my memories of him.
Now Vladi the wolf is a totally different trip. I am including video footage of him taken at the 2010 Menlo Summer Retreat. Vladi is outwardly much more aloof but a real trickster. I consider him a dear friend. The end of the video contains me in the background going through a pitching motion. You never know when you're on camera these days. And the music is by Dennis and myself. I recorded it with my new ipad and I like the sound.