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The 2nd Chance

Kawaraban No. 34


by Richard Moe

(professor at the Komazawa-University, member for 8 months)

33 years ago I came to Japan for the first time. I was foreign a student in Kyoto and learnt Karate during my years of study. This was my first encounter with the arts of Budo. But I was not able to continue my Karate training, because unfortunately I had to return to America after six months.

One year later I came back to Japan again for study. But I was completely busy with my study. I had no time at all and therefore I could not learn any art of Budo although I was willing to do so.

While looking for my own ‘way’ during the following 10 years I experienced various things and survived in Japan somehow. I liked Budo and intended to begin some day, but I did not get round to do it. The main reason was that mostly I did not stay for a longer period of time at the same place. During my time as a bachelor I was gadding around very often. Only after marriage I settled down finally and decided to train some art of Budo again.

That was exactly 20 years ago. But because I already was 31 years old, I thought it to be useless starting again with Karate.

Some day the Tendokan caught my eyes when I was on my way back from Sangenjaya to my apartment in the district Mishuku. As I did not know what Aikido is I paid a visit to the Dojo. Encouraged by the friendly explanations of Shimizu Sensei I then joined the Tendokan. Today’s Dojo does not differ so much from the then-Dojo. The changing room was at today’s toilets location, and today’s changing rooms were the verandas. At the beginning of a class at first all warmed up jointly. Then as today all practiced the very technique demonstrated by Shimizu Sensei, and after practice the Tatami were cleaned.

I liked Aikido very much, but unfortunately I was not able to continue. That is to say, a half-year later my daughter was borne, and I could not visit the Dojo anymore. That was not due to my family, but I myself rather was not able to arrange my time accordingly, and by that unfortunately I lost my way, which I intended to follow.

Although my bodily condition increasingly got worse with the years, I did nothing to improve my health, besides I stopped smoking. And it goes without saying that I am too fat.

Time and time again I was thinking: “Ah! You should do some sports!” but in fact I did not move at all. Some day I joined an Aikido Dojo near by, but soon I quit again as the training did not suit me very well.

And about four years ago I went to the Tendokan with my son, who just became 12 years old, to sign him up. I should have joined as well, but I refrained from doing so. As my son was accepted by the high school attached to the Marine Corps the year before last and now stays in America, I myself joined the Tendokan again last summer.

If I am looking back now, 20 years ago I did something, which I am regretting now. Often I am thinking how my life would look like, if I had practiced Aikido continuously until today. But as time will not return, it is useless to think about it. Now I am trying with all my energy to practice Aikido continuously in order not to have to regret it once again. Finally this way suits me well.

(We received the manuscript written in Japanese – the editors)

© translated by Peter Nawrot 10/2006