Henry Kono, was the only Canadian to have trained with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.
He is a second generation Canadian of Japanese descent and he and his family were sent to an internment camp during World War II. After the war, Henry settled in Toronto.
In 1964 he saved enough money to visit his parents‘ families in Japan. After the visits, he still had time left on his visitor’s visa and so decided to check out Hombu dojo in Tokyo where O-Sensei was teaching. Henry was so impressed, he stayed.
At age 34, with no prior athletic training, he spent the next four years studying Aikido at Hombu dojo.
Throughout the four years, Henry was determined to learn what O’sensei was doing despite O’sensei repeatedly saying he was not going to tell you what he was doing.
He knew O’sensei was different from all the other students. “When they threw you, you knew they threw you, but when O’sensei threw you, you felt like you threw yourself”. Henry described feeling like an “idiot” because “how can you throw yourself?
To be continued…