The great masters: Masando Sasaki (Part 3)

Find out the beggining of the story HERE.

“Falling in love with an amazing face” – Meeting the Founder
Sasaki: In my life until now, the age of 77, I have had many encounters, but if I could sum up meeting O-Sensei in one sentence I would say that I fell in love with his face, his face.

Q: At what age did you meet Ueshiba Kaiso?

A: It was Showa year 29 (1954), so I was 26 years old. At that time I saw an Aikido demonstration at the Ministry of Defence . At that time we called the Ministry of Defence (防衛庁) the National Security Force (保安隊). “What’s Aikido?” I thought as I watched, it seemed like a dance. However, I went up when one of the instructors demonstrating called me over, and he slammed me right down. When I think about it now, that was Kote-gaeshi. I thought “How was I thrown?” “I don’t understand…”. Then when I heard that there was no competition in Aikido I thought “No competition? That’s ridiculous!”. With some of those questions in mind I went to Hombu Dojo. O-Sensei was there. That was our first encounter. I remember feeling “What an amazing face”. I fell in love with that style of an ancient warrior and the appearance of a mountain hermit.

Q: So you began Aikido for three reasons – you were thrown, there were no competitions, and the Founder’s mountain hermit-like face?

A: Yes, yes. When living with O-Sensei you become aware of many spiritual things.

Q: Did you become an uchi-deshi right away?

A: I lived outside the dojo, but I carried O-Sensei’s bags, and travelled with him. That’s because I dealt with everything related to shrines.

Q: Sensei, you are a Shinto priest now, but were you also a priest at that time? (Sasaki Shihan also serves as the chief priest of Yamakage Shinto Kami-fukuoka Saigu / 山蔭神道上福岡斎宮宮司).

A: No, I wasn’t doing that then. It was a long time after that, that I became the chief priest.

Q: Then why was it that the Founder took you with him around the shrines?

A: That’s a mystery. I don’t understand why it was so, but when he went on shrine pilgrimages he would always take me with him.

Q: Did you have a liking for Budo previously?

A: I didn’t do anything that you would really call “Budo”. During the war I was taught Sumo, Juken (bayonet) and Kendo along with everybody else, but I never did any serious Budo. Just Aikido.

Q: Why do you think that you chose Aikido?

A: I mentioned this before, it was because I fell in love with O-Sensei’s face. The face of a mountain hermit. Even if I were a woman I would fall in love with that face (laughing). We produce a calendar with 道心行 (“path” “spirit” “action”) written on it – a person’s path is in their spirit, a person’s spirit is in their actions, a person’s actions are in their face. The face is the entranceway to the spirit.

Q: You mean that a person’s spirit shows on their face.

A: Of course. There are those who say that humanity is in the spirit, not the face, but since the face changes according to the spirit the skin is not just skin. Because just with a glance you know “Ahh, this face has this kind of a spirit”. In that sense I fell in love with O-Sensei’s face. Isn’t it the face of a mountain hermit?

Q: How old was the Founder at that time?

A: I think that he was around seventy years old.

Source: Facebook/Aikido

History of Karate

Karate (空手) (/kəˈrɑːti/; Japanese pronunciation: [kaɾate] (About this soundlisten); Okinawan pronunciation: [kaɽati]) is a martial

Read More..