Salvatore had heard a lot about the deeds of the Master and this new martial art he created Aikido, but he had never had the opportunity to see any of his “embukai” (demonstration to the public). Intrigued by the stories that were made of this master and the notoriety that had been created around him, he decided to go to his dojo to meet him and, possibly, be admitted to an Aikido course. The house of Maestro Ueshiba and the dojo attached to it was outside Tokyo and to get there from the Italian embassy, where prof.
Mergé worked, it took over an hour to travel by train. One day, before going to work, he went to the master’s house, qualifying himself as a lover of Japanese tradition and saying that he would like to meet O Sensei. He was made to wait in the hall of the house, but was told to return because the teacher was busy. He tried again other times but the answer was always the same.
Finally, after a few unsuccessful attempts, he was let into the house to receive the answer to his request to meet Master Ueshiba. He was seated in a room where there was an elderly gentleman who was reading a book and who did not raise his head in the least when he entered. After some time he waited, the person reading stood up and, without saying a word, left the room. After a few minutes, Master Ueshiba’s wife came and told him that the master was apologizing and asked if he could come back another day.
This situation took place still other times, with great sacrifice of prof. Mergé, who had to make the journey to the home of Master Ueshiba and then go to work at the Italian embassy in Tokyo. When the day came when he was able to speak with the master he recognized him as the person who had never spoken to him as he waited in the room of O Sensei’s house. He was accepted as a student, and the event was quite extraordinary, as Master Ueshiba during the war period did not want any new students for Aikido courses, let alone a foreigner!
To be continued…