PART II – En Route to England, Volume 2: Training on Board the Al-Sabbiyah

The temperature rose rapidly with each passing day as the Al-Sabbiyah continued southward. Soon after we entered the South China Sea, the heat became so intense that the crew was compelled to turn on the air conditioning in the cabin. The view from the deck showed nothing but a vast, boundless ocean below a sky … Continue reading PART II – En Route to England, Volume 2: Training on Board the Al-Sabbiyah

PART II – En Route to England, Volume 1: Leaving Japan

I left the port of Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan, on March 28, 1966, on a six-week voyage across the sea to England. I was the sole passenger in the first-class cabin on board the Al-Sabbiyah (“Little Princess” in Arabic) – a 35,751-ton Kuwaiti oil tanker that was leased to a British company based in Newcastle, … Continue reading PART II – En Route to England, Volume 1: Leaving Japan

PART I – The Hombu Dojo Years

In early 1957, when I was a Judo student, I got myself involved in a personal duel with a kendo man. He beat me up severely, without my even being able to touch his body. The experience taught me an important lesson as a martial artist: As long as I relied on grabbing an opponent, … Continue reading PART I – The Hombu Dojo Years

On Form and Substance

When Robert Savoca Sensei, the chief instructor at Brooklyn Aikikai asked me to pen my thoughts about the term “form”, the first thing that came to my mind was the famous (and surely apocryphal) anecdote that opposed the late 19th/early 20th centuries composers Claude Debussy and Erik Satie. According to the legend, in answer to … Continue reading On Form and Substance