An Obese White Gentleman in No Apparent Distress
I recently read Aikido in America which is really just an OK book about the people who brought Aikdio to America. Really just Americans who brought Aikido to American because there was no mention of Japanese who left Japan to bring Aikido to America.
Anyway, the first person profiled is Terry Dobson, and he turns up later in this book's story. He was probably the first serious American student of O'Sensei, and studied the founder closely for the last 8 years of O'Sensei's life. He may have been kind of a Jerk, but from what I can tell he comes across as a fascinating charismatic jerk. Basically somebody you wish you knew and had hung around with (he died in 1992). And his partner wrote a novel/biography about him.
I think I have may have been sold on him because I feel connected to the title of the book above (I am still waiting for delivery). But I have ordered 2 other books by or about him from amazon and I hope they are as good as I imagine.
Here is an excerpt from one of them...
O' Sensei used to make these shapes as he was demonstrating circle. Square. Triangle. I never understood what the meant by them. I was burning to know the meaning of these symbols. It was an unspoken rule that you didn't ask him questions. I thought about it for four, five even six years.
One day, everybody in the dojo got into spring cleaning. We were really going at it, tearing the place apart. It was a gorgeous day, and I found myself alone with O'Sensei on the veranda. We had just finished a job and it was obviously time for a break, so we sat down together.
I thought, what the hell, one question in six years ain't so bad. I asked him, “Sensei, I notice when you teach your frequently mention circle, square and triangle. I've thought about it for a while and I don't understand the meaning of these symbols. I wonder if you could help me solve this problem. Please explain.” He looked at me for a long time. He looked down, he looked up, and he looked around. And I'm waiting, right?
He said, “Terrusan, you know you should go find out for yourself” Then he got up and walked away. And I thought, “That's a piss-off, you know? All you have to do is say a couple of words, you don't have to be so Zen over the place”
For some reason I can't explain, that story makes me love O' Sensei AND Terry Dobson.