On this day 47 years ago, Morihei Ueshiba passed away.
Since O Sensei's passing, Aikido has become a global phenomenon and is now practiced in over 130 countries by millions of people.
Aikido training has changed my life. Without O Sensei's teachings where would I be? Hard to say, but I do know that I wouldn't be the person that I am today.
It's hard to believe that 26 years has gone by since I started Aikido and that 47 years have gone by since O Sensei passed away.
Obviously I never met O Sensei so it could be quite easy to downplay, overlook or forget his passing. But, to remember O Sensei is to pay my respects to the person who has started this martial art that has given me so much.
I hope that as the years pass by that people won't forget O Sensei and his contributions. Furuya Sensei once said, "It is just one day each year that you have to think about O Sensei, you at least owe him that much." Sensei's chiding is something that I try to take to heart each year.
The Japanese word for practice or training is keiko which means to "reflect on the past" so in a way we remember O Sensei every time we train. But, is that good enough? Kojima Sensei once talked about how Japanese people don't celebrate birthdays and that every January 1st every person gets one year older. It is only in their death that people get a "special" day. Sensei is right about taking the time to remember those that we are close to or those we owe a special debt to.
The mark of a good student is one that does the right thing at the right time. It is easy to be a good student when the teacher is present. The final exam comes when the teacher is no longer around and our true nature comes out.
To take time out to remember O Sensei on this day is what a good student would do. A bad student forgets even if it is by accident. True character is what one does when no one is looking and when it seemingly doesn't matter any more. A good student will do the right thing at the right time regardless of circumstance or who is watching.
Please be a good student and take a moment to remember O Sensei and all that he has done for us on his special day.
One of my favorite O Sensei quotes is:
"In true budo there is no enemy or opponent. True budo is to become one with the universe, not to train to become powerful or to throw down some opponent. Rather we train in hopes of being of some use, however small our role may be, in the task of bringing peace to mankind around the world."