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O-Sensei Anecdotes

by George Ohsawa

Aiki News #27 (November 1977)

The following article was prepared with the kind assistance of Brian Workman of the USA.

The following two anecdotes are from a French-language book written by George Ohsawa, who introduced the philosophy and practice of the Zen macrobiotic system (In/Yo as applied to nutrition, health, and happiness) to the West and which has many followers in Europe and America as well as in Japan. Ohsawa (Japanese name, Sakurazawa Nyoichi) was a personal friend of O-Sensei and one chapter in his book is dedicated to the Founder of Aikido.

First Anecdote

When Mochizuki Minoru, a high-ranking Judo disciple sent by Jigoro Kano to study Aikido with O-Sensei around 1930, established his dojo at Shizuoka in 1930, the famous tea region, the Master (O-Sensei) was invited to the opening accompanied by some ten of his high-ranking disciples. After the ceremony, several young disciples (all 5th and 6th dans) accompanied the Master to show him a beautiful panoramic view of the area. They were climbing up to the Nippon-daira plateau along a path (8 km to the top) through the tea fields.

The Master, in formal attire and wearing geta (Japanese wood clogs), climbed so rapidly that all the disciples fell behind, far to the rear. They crossed the tea fields one after the other, since they couldn’t follow the Master along the path.

Soon the proprietors and workers rushed upon the disciples, shouting loudly while brandishing sticks and bamboo to chase them out of the fields. The young 5th and 6th dans for fun prepared themselves to fight. The young workers armed with their sticks and bamboo were approaching from above.

However, at the last moment, the two groups of young antagonists were surprised by an apparition! The Master, who was climbing 500 meters ahead, had returned immediately and placing himself between the two groups about to battle one another, knelt down with his hands flat. He addressed the farmers with his head bowed low. “Pardon gentlemen, I humbly beg your pardon. These are my children who got lost half way because I was climbing too fast.” He excused himself very ceremoniously.

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