Sunday, May 22, 2016

Morning classes

Our Friday morning 6:30am class has been on hiatus due to the fact that Mark Tucker sensei(Taken 1990 Mark is first row, at the very end to the right) has been recovering from back surgery. Mark sensei is one of the dojo's most senior students and he has sent me an email announcement for me to post in this blog:

San Jose Aikido Community and friends. I would like to announce the restarting of Friday morning classes on May ?th. Everyone of all levels is welcome and invited to these energizing sessions. Better and longer-lasting  than a shot of Starbucks. The quick jolt is from 6:30 to 7:30 allowing for early exits to get to work.
For those of you that are not familiar with me. I have been training for 36 years at the San Jose Dojo. For about 30 of those years I have led a morning class. Aikido has been a long, fun, and wonderful journey which I will share with others for the rest of my life. Through our practice we will continue to work toward what is ahead and not be complacent about where we have been. We will evolve with an ever-changing world, work beyond our limits, and work on having a satisfying training experience that stays with us in our quest for peace and harmony for all. I look forward to train with and help all that choose to participate. Please contact ne with any questions at

Thank you,

Mark Tucker
Tucker Construction, Inc
1725-D Little Orchard St
San Jose Ca 95125

I am happy to see that this class is going to continue. Back in the eighties when I first took over the dojo I started this class. During my training period at the Shingu dojo in Japan the 6:30 to 7:30 am class ran Monday through Friday. It was always a challenge to make that early class, which I tried to do whenever possible. The evening class 7:30 to 9pm was much easier for me. But in the eighties my daughter came of school age and she needed to get to school early. So I started the early class to make sure I was up and ready to take her to school. At one time we had the class 3 weekdays a week, although I believe the Friday was the first and then it expanded to at its peak 3 days. For a period I would teach the class, drop my daughter off at school, Head over to San Jose State to teach Aikido there . Finish a little before noon. Head back to the dojo to teach noon. Then usually go to the fountain at the then 4th Street Pharmacy for a quick lunch. Usually tuna salad sandwich and coffee. Then pick my daughter up from school and either drive her to an activity or back to the dojo, where we lived. As you can see I was busy being a parent. I think by that time I was having other people teach children's classes, although I may have still taught some. And then I taught most evenings. So my schedule was quite full parenting and teaching, something my daughter is now experiencing being a working parent. Over a period of time the noon classes grew and the early mornings shrank. But Mark sensei has kept the Fridays going and I wish him luck and support in continuing them.

One story about my training in the early classes in Japan. During a hot period Hikitsuchi sensei would teach, so it could be great training. But the foreigners were expected to make pretty much every class. As a good friend once remarked, "Aikido maiasa", which translates as "Aikido every morning" but which could sound a lot like and sometimes feel like 'Aikido my a**". I remember vividly one morning(I had probably been out late drinking with Hikitsuchi sensei) I decided to sleep in, figuring he would probably also sleep in. The class ended at 7:30 am. To my surprise at about 7:35 there was a pounding on my dorm room door. I opened it and there was Hikitsuchi sensei. He was somewhat agitated that I had slept in because he had schedule a radio interview on All Prefecture radio at 8. So the true meaning of "Katsu Hayahi", that speed that transcends time and space, came into being. A very quick change into clothes. A drive across the Shingu river on the bridge that connected Wakayama and Mie Prefectures, which was usually, crowded and slow at that time. We made to to his house, rushed in to hear the phone call from the radio station. We both had to pretend we were calm and there waiting for the call. My Japanese was good at that time so I began the interview. I guess I was an oddity. An American of Japanese descent training in Japan in a traditional Japanese martial art. So the questions were pretty easy. Which Japanese foods did I like. Did I have a Japanese girl friend. How did I feel about the Japanese people. That sort of thing. But it began to get a little tiresome after awhile. So when they finally asked me why I was doing aikido, I started quoting Hikitsuchi sensei and his interpretation of Osensei's teachings. Well sensei immediately took the phone and began a lecture on Aikido, which the people at the radio station obviously found not interesting. So they quickly ended the interview. Which of course more than suited me.I think I was interviewed by the Shingu newspaper in a similar vein and I think I still have a copy of that. That was an example of my days in Shingu.
You had to constantly be ready for anything. Especially the unexpected. Which didn't prepare you but made the unexpected and the dealing with it hopefully a learning experience. The Japanese word is 'Shugyo' or special training. When Osensei meant 'training never ends' he didn't mean 'keiko'. He meant 'shugyo'....


Post a Comment

<< Home