Hombu Dojo was at that time a completely different place as it is nowadays. House of family Ueshiba belonged to the dojo, and Morihei himself quite often, although irregularly, appeared on the mat. O’Sensei presented unequalled authority for all the uchi-deshi. With his demeanor he impersonated all the qualities a young Japanese used to strive for at the time.
The trainings were demanding and at life the dojo almost ascetic in nature. This was related with the difficult economic situation in the country after II World War. Hombu Dojo did not especially stand out from the general life level in Japan. The building was not heated, so in winter the temperature dropped below zero degrees, in summer the heat used to strike. Deshi did not have their own quarters or too many personal items, their life was subject to the rhythm of dojo’s life, and any private moments were very rare.
Each of the uchi-deshi had to perform certain tasks and take active part in private lessons. Yoshimitsu Yamada remembers the schedule from that time even today. The first training, conducted by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, started at 6:30, another one, at 8:00, was run by Koichi Tohei or Kisaburo Osawa, whom once in a week were replaced by Kenji Tomiki. Hiroshi Tada or Seigo Yamaguchi conducted classes at 15:00, and trainings at 16:00 and 18:30 were run by various teachers. Koichi Tohei was an idol to many trainees – that impressed with his character and technical skills. Many uchi-deshi regreted that more and more he involve himself in running a school in Hawaii and that he visited Tokyo rarely. With time, the group of students grew – Yasuo Kabayashi, Kazuo Chiba, Mitsunari Kanai and Seichi Sugano joined, and along with Yoshimitsu became a tight group of friends.
To be continued…