The great masters: Virginia Bailey (Part 5)

Part 3.

When Ohara moved back to Japan in 1963, Virginia took over the role of the director of New York Aikikai, a position she would hold for over two years, until Yamada Yoshimitsu’s arrival in February 1964.

Though the dojo became increasingly successful, Virginia often took side jobs to pay the rent. She also went through a great deal of effort to generate interest around aikido. Her and fellow students demonstrated aikido on TV on several occasions, including on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1962. On this particular occasion, she planned to show how aikido could be of value to women so she demonstrated how a woman could apply an aikido technique to control an overly eager male.

She also managed to get aikido talked about in several newspaper articles, and she was instrumental in organizing aikido’s participation at the New York World’s Fair from May 11 to 17, 1964. In order to fully prepare for this later event and coordinate the dispatch to New York of the then 4th dan Yamada Yoshimitsu, she made another short stay in Tokyo in February 1964, which was reported in the April 1964 issue of the English version of the Aikido Newspaper.

Virginia and Yamada Yoshimitsu came back in New York in February 1964. Hagihara, who had been in Japan since June 1963 returned to New York at the end of April 1964 and he opened his own dojo, the Long Island Aikikai, that same year, with the help of Virginia, who was instrumental in finding a place and securing the blessing from Tohei Kochi.

Source: Aikido Journal

To be continued…

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