This past weekend, Dee, Kevin and I visited Sand Drift Aikido in Cocoa. Dart taught class, and we were joined by Gorman on the mat, and Grady Lane off the mat. Afterwards, over Mexican food and a few cold cervezas, our conversation turned to Dr. H.T. Walker, better known as “Doc” Walker Sensei to his many students, including Grady.
Related: Last month, at Brevard Aikikai’s Christmas seminar, I had the pleasure of meeting George Wilson, “Doc” Walker’s first Aikido instructor, and the man responsible for introducing Aikido to Brevard County. I understand that Grady and Dart are planning to interview Wilson Sensei, not only to learn about the history of Aikido in our area, but also to record this important chapter in our shared lineage.
Our newer students may not realize this, but Dee Sensei was not the first instructor at our school. Six years ago I spent some time putting together what I consider to be the definitive history of the dojo. (If this is something that interests you, I encourage you to read the comments to that post, and also my later addendum, which describes in more detail the methodology I used.)
So why am I telling you this?
It occurred to me last weekend, talking to Dart and Grady, that the impact we have on others, and the threads we create between us, can extend in completely unforeseen directions, even at the moment of their making. It is no less so in Aikido than in other areas of life.
Our dojo was founded by Curtis Rosiek, a student of “Doc” Walker Sensei, himself a student of George Wilson Sensei. (In fact, at the time, our school was called Sand Drift Aikikai.) And although Dart and Grady remember Curtis well, our only record of him locally is a thin blue mat, now in storage, with his name clearly marked on the back. It is, in fact, the oldest dojo possession.
So the thread connecting us to Sand Drift, and to Brevard Aikikai, and ultimately to George Wilson, is not just one of shared training and fellowship. It is lineage, and is part of our history.*
Thank you, Sand Drift, for your hospitality and good cheer this weekend. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
*More threads: Our second instructor Chris Rozett, was originally a student of George Kennedy Sensei, and Dee, of course, spent her early days at New York Aikikai. But those are stories for another time.