From an interview made by Peter Bernath and David Halprin.
Q: Sensei, we’ve heard you are writing a book. Is that true?
A: No, that’s a lie! Today we were doing tenkan. You’ve been practicing tenkan for so many years and you still can’t do it.
If a book shows you something like this you can never learn it. If you studied with Kanai Sensei for so many years and you can’t do it how will you learn it from a book? Anyway, Kanai Sensei never said “David do it this way!”
Q: No he never did say that.
A: Kanai Sensei never said “David, come here, do it this way”. Or “you’re missing this part.” You could never do it but you’re always thinking, “I’m a good Aikidoist”. Yamada Sensei does the same to Peter. He says “it’s very good, but…”.
Q: The big but…. Let’s talk about Peter.
A: Yamada Sensei does something to Peter and he says “Peter very good, but…”.
Q: It’s a big but.
A: I don’t like writing books but it’s necessary. Because you have to record what O-Sensei said. Many people say, “O-Sensei said this, but Chiba Sensei said this, Yamada Sensei said this, and Kurita Sensei said this.” Everyone says something different, so, which is the right thing. So I have to be able to state, “this is the way”.
Is yokomenuchi this way or tenkan this way? Is this Aikido? Everyone is doing yokomen this way, the wrong way, or like that. Everyone is doing shomenuchi like this, but it’s wrong. Is it this way with a bokken or that way?
Q: Well, which way is it? (laughter)
A: You have to wait for the book. (laughter) There may be two Penny’s, two people named Penny. One is correct and one is not, which one is right? Shomenuchi one way, shomenuchi another way. You may call this shomenuchi or you can call that shomenuchi, but that doesn’t answer the question: which one is correct? The correct name is actually katate uchi, not shomenuchi.
To be continued…