A Tribute to the legacy of Yoshigasaki Sensei - An Invitation

Dear Friends (M/F),

Now that we are beginning to accept the profound loss of our teacher, I feel that we may need to take another step in re-membering his legacy.

Another important aspect of what is happening now is a change of generations. The beautiful poetry and imagery in his memory was also filled with memories of those who have learned from our teacher for 30,40 years or even longer. Although many of them may still live for a long time, it is also likely that they will retreat in the coming years from active practicing and teaching (some already have) so that their long lived insight and overview will be lost. I feel, therefore, that we must seize this moment of memory and contemplation of what Sensei's work has meant to us.

In stating that 'we have learned from you' Yoshigasaki Sensei would probably ask 'what have you learned, precisely?'.

So my suggestion is simply that those who have been training with our teacher for several decades and have been witnessing the changes he has brought to aikido, try to communicate - in writing or with media - what s/he valued in relating to him personally, but especially what has struck her/him as major developments and improvements of earlier concepts or techniques. Sensei was always working hard to develop Ki Aikido further; it would be a tribute to his work to put this in a perspective in which we can appreciate the amazing steps he has taken along his path, so that we don't take his results for granted. What flashed through my mind were topics like the change from taigi to tsuzuki waza; the gradual development of the tsuzuki waza's as a whole; the development of a specific tsuzuki waza or even more specifically, the change from kote gaeshi to kote oroshi or from tenkan to tenshin.

What has been gained in such developments compared to earlier 'state of the art'?

This will not only help younger generations of students and teachers to develop a deeper understanding of the present state of Ki Aikido, it may also help yourself to understand more clearly a part of your own history. I have been working on such a piece for some days now, trying to clarify some developments that have struck me in the 32 years that had the privilege of being Yoshigasaki's student. For me, it has been inspiring and encouraging to try to articulate -not all I have learned; that would be quite impossible - but the development of, at least, one important theme in his teaching that stood out somehow as 'important' in my memory, although I didn't grasp it yet as clearly as I should. I could not yet answer his question, what I learned from him, precisely.

Although everybody would be welcome, the nature of this project would especially concern those who have been practicing with Sensei long enough to be able to get a sense of major developments in his teachings. Your contributions will be published on a website, possibly the site that has been maintained with such dedication by Michael and will, so I hope, not only be an important asset for our community moving forwards from this difficult moment, but also a shining tribute to the work of our teacher.

Send your contributions please to Info@janbaars.nl - please do!


Jan Baars

Ki-Aikido Haarlem, The Netherlands