It's been about two weeks since Tatoian Sensei went to the Phillipines to give a series of classes, and even though he is supposed to be back in Northern California this week, there remains a feeling of impending change around the dojo. This feeling is fueled by the growing certainty that eventually Tatoian Sensei will move permanently to Manila. What will happen to the dojo when he leaves, nobody knows.
In Tatoian Sensei's absence classes have continued, and today Eric, Craig, and I spent morning class cycling through the kumi jo. The mood was a little subdued, and practice was unusually quiet. I think we were all missing Sensei, and at the same time becoming aware of how different it will be when he is gone for good. It was nice, however to spend the morning working out with two old friends. We had all three been kyu-ranked students together back in the Rohnert Park dojo from which we were evicted five years ago.
All of us had gone in different directions then. Eric went off the study karate with Herb Cody, and Craig joined Richard Heckler Sensei's Two Rock dojo in Petaluma, while I gravitated to Goto Sensei's dojo in San Rafael, CA. Since Tatoian Sensei has been teaching again, however, we all seem to have drifted back to train somewhat regularly with our old teacher despite our affiliations elsewhere. Now that his move away seems all but certain there is a strange, hollow feeling around the dojo.
The good news surrounding Tatoian Sensei's relocation is that he will be closer to Iwama and the potential for greater collaboration with Hitohiro Saito Soke in Japan. This will certainly mean good things for Iwama Aikido in the Phillipines, and it will mean good things for us here in the US when Tatoian Sensei returns to visit.
Meanwhile, we will continue to train together and laugh about times gone by while moving directly into the center of an uncertain future.
technorati tag aikido