12 thoughts on “Dee Sensei

  1. Some of those were taken when she spent five weeks at New York Aikikai, training 4-5 times a day, sleeping on the mat, as a 5th kyu, at age 35. After which time Yamada Sensei accepted her as his student.

    I should show you her yukyusha book sometime. Basically a seminar each month, for years, from Canada to Miami.

  2. One more point.

    All of us at the dojo are very fortunate. In addition to Dee, we have other instructors who studied under shihan, personally and over a period of years: Mike, under Lorraine DiAnne, John, under Clyde Takeguchi, and Christina, under Roy Suenaka.

    Because of my experience with Dee, and the opportunity she gave me by introducing me to Yamada Sensei in New York, (as well as the other incredible shihan in our Federation), I have strong opinions regarding personal transmission in Aikido.

    I’ve said it before, but budo is not a correspondence course. It’s faintly ridiculous that I even have to say this, but Aikido, like all budo, is transmitted personally, from instructor to student. It’s the essence of how we train. You can’t learn this stuff from books, the internet, or YouTube videos.

    Obviously, the preference is for a prolonged apprenticeship, as was (and is) the case with Dee. Otherwise, the answer is seminars. Lots of them, with the leading shihan and shidoin. And there really is no excuse not to attend seminars, with the ones we host every year, and the plethora of training opportunities in central and south Florida. It’s an embarrassment of riches, really.

    Over the years, I’ve heard that high level instruction is not really necessary. (Honestly). That training, say, in New York, is a waste, or that the internet somehow changed several hundred years of received wisdom regarding budo training.

    Complete bunk.

    (And for the record, the people who say this to me are always the ones who’ve never had real, long term experience with a shihan. It’s never the opposite.)

    For both instructors and students, it is imperative that you have an honest to goodness teacher. (Surprisingly, not always the case.) And if you want to learn Aikido beyond some rudimentary stage, you need to spend time with a high level instructor. Barring that, you need to learn Aikido under an instructor who has received personal attention from a shihan over a period of years (like Dee), AND attend seminars yourself. Anything less is delusional.

    My point? Attend seminars. Often. Pay attention in class, because what Dee is giving us is a gift, and a rare one at that.

  3. I agree.
    I think you are losing a real facet of what Budo is when you take the human element out of it.

    It is knowledge shared and exchanged between people who are eager to share that really amplify Aikido in my opinion. You can’t store up Aikido knowledge greedily, it then loses a fundamental concept of Aikido. Nor can you expect to learn it from a book, or computer screen. You can’t take that human element away from it and expect it to be full. No more than could you take the doors from a house and expect it to still be a home.

    I mean you can watch an instructor on the computer demonstrate nikkyo 1million times. But I still think it wouldn’t be the same as having nikkyo performed on you by an instructor that honestly wants to share that knowledge, and beyond that, actually wants you to understand Aikido the way they do.

    At winter camp on the last day there was an early morning class. Everyone was tired, including Yamada Sensei(he said as much.) He still stopped and helped me with the technique. He didn’t have to, he could of let the little 5th kyu girl fumble with it and went on to help more able and frankly promising students than me. But no, he took a good 5 minutes or so to repeatedly demonstrate and fix my form. He cared if people were learning Aikido, even feeble little 5th kyu girls.
    You don’t get that amount of devotion to teaching Aikido from a youtube video.

  4. You’re certainly not feeble, MM!

    You trained 4.5 hours straight at Brevard Aikikai, with a bunch of yudansha on the mat.

    You outlasted both me and Ryan.

    Don’t mess with MM! :-)

  5. Hopefully when life is a little bit less busy I can attend more seminars and see the people pictured above.

    But regardless, I’m greatful for Dee :)

  6. Personally, I am impressed with how much time all of the shihans (at least that I have been to seminars with) have taken to go around and teach individual students when the mat usually has about 50 to 100 people on it at a time. I would think that most people at that level would stick to the higher dan ranks or just watch silently, but they actually care quite a bit about all the students on the mat. Although Shibata Sensei still freaks me out because I have never been able to see him coming before he got there…

  7. Dee has some really nice video of Shibata Sensei from winter camp, fourteen or so years ago. I think you’d like it, dichotomy.

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