Ueshiba’s reputation became known to Nishio a couple years after he began training with Konishi. In 1951, a senior instructor at Konishi’s dojo, Toyosaku Sodeyama, mentioned to Nishio, now just 25 years old, that he had seen a martial artist who was like a “phantom!” Nishio says, “I was amazed that there was someone that even Sodeyama Sensei couldn’t strike. It was O-Sensei [Morihei Ueshiba]… Anyway, I went to see Aikido and immediately joined the dojo. I was told to go and take a look at Aikido, but I never went back to karate!”
Aikido training at hombu (headquarters) was not conducted by O Sensei, but by Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei. In talking about this time Nishio recalls, “No one was there and sometimes I would swing a sword and then go home. We were lucky to have five people. It was a time when all Japanese were hungry and only people who could be called martial arts fanatics would come!
The people who did come to train were those that had practiced arts like judo and karate, but thought that there had to be something more, something deeper than these arts. So everyone came after having tried something else. There was no one whose experience was limited to Aikido. That was not a cause for concern. Today, when people know only Aikido, many are filled with doubts.”
To be continued…