Stretching on the day of the seminar, I heard
Dometrich-Hanshi's voice as he walked down the hall
towards the training room. We stood to show respect
to Hanshi and his wife, Okusan, as they walked through
the door. I noticed that it was an older gentleman
than I remembered entering, who moved more slowly
and spoke more gently. Time chases and catches us all,
I thought sadly. Still, I was impressed by Hanshi's
budo spirit, teaching us despite his infirmities.
Here I stand with James Acampora, Dometrich-Hanshi
and his wife, Okusan. The clinic was a great time
to reconnect with old friends and to begin to heal
As class began, we were asked to be seated. Hanshi
began to address many issues that had been discussed
on the Chitonet, the Chito-Ryu e-mail discussion group,
concerning Tekki kata, also know as Naihanchi or Naifanchi.
Hanshi’s answers were short and to the point.
One of the questions was why didn't O’Sensei
have any versions of Naihanchi within the Chito-ryu
system. His reply was, "Because they’re
His blunt answer reminded me of my teacher of old.
Then we began to train. We performed various Chito-ryu
kata and went over the kaisetsu, or explanations, for
different moves. At one point, Hanshi asked me to demonstrate
a counter move to an exercise that we where performing.
After this, Hanshi stopped the class and told participants
that if he would put all their technique together,
they would not have the technique that I possess. He
said how I had "natural ability" and gave
me compliments in this vein.
I was surprised by his words. At first I got my back
up at the suggestion that I relied on "natural
ability." It took years of dedicated
training to achieve the goals I set for myself. But
then I relaxed and took the compliment in the spirit
it was given. I appreciated Hanshi's generosity in
acknowledging me in this way. I listened closely to
his words and found understanding in them.