Sunday, June 15, 2008

Aikido Poem

This poem was written by Gaku Homma Sensei, a Japanese Aikido instructor living in the United States. His first teacher, referred to by the title of the poem, was none other than Morihei Ueshiba, the O Sensei himself.

With thanks for having known you living in the Way.

O-Sensei, you once asked me,
"Why haven't you practiced today?"
"I had to cut the grass, Sensei," I replied.
You smiled and said,
"You can cut the grass any day,
but this old man won't be around forever
to teach you."

One beautiful afternoon you told me,
"Go mail this package, and then we'll practice."
You taught me suwari-waza
in your everyday kimono.

I watched you on the train
as we travelled to Headquarters in Tokyo.
You bought a box lunch and some fruit
for a little girl who sat across from you.

Later, at home in Iwama,
in the quiet dojo
after all the students had left,
you sat facing the direction of Headquarters
and expressed disappointment
in the high-ranking students there.

Some men call you divine, a superior being,
but I don't think that is right.
You were a great martial artist,
but at the same time,
an ordinary, kind old man
when not in the dojo.

That's why I try to follow,
only because it is the way of Aiki,
to which not a god, but a man
opened the door.

Soon, your memorial day will come
and I write this poem in gratitude.

Gaku Homma - Aikido NIPPON KAN

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