Inside Nihon Goshin Aikido ~ #32
November 5, 2015
In This Issue:
Greetings Nihon Goshin Aikido Aficionado!
As I write this month’s edition of “Inside Nihon Goshin Aikido, I’m in constant acknowledgement that it was just over a week that I got a text from my Sensei, John Carter, that read simply: “Jim Giorgi passed away yesterday. I do not know any details.” It was a gut punch for me, because he had been so supportive of what I was/ am trying to do with ngaexperience.com ~ I lost one of my staunchest advocates, and a man I hope would allow me to say was a friend. Along those lines, writing this month’s newsletter has been especially tough.
As I experimented with openings for this somber edition of Inside Nihon Goshin Aikido, I found myself reflecting on the time when I first came up with the idea for ngaexperience.com.
Here’s how it all started. After achieving my sho-dan, and wanting to propel my understanding of the art and propel the art in general forward in some way ~ while also knowing that I would not be opening my own dojo, I began thinking about the possibility of creating a virtual dojo. In this “online dojo” people could train in the art mentally when the mats are unavailable, and correspond with one another by commenting on articles written, videos posted, etc.
The site became a launching pad for my attempt to synthesize what I was so ably taught by Sensei John Carter, but rather than regurgitate what I had learned, I required a venue to restate ~ in my own words ~ what I believed NGA to be based on an ever deeper understanding that digestion affords. Launching the website seemed like a very good fit for me personally (as I learn by writing, was an english major in college, etc.), and I dove head first into a hopeful sea of unknown possibilities.
It was not necessarily an easy entry into the deep blue sea however, and just days after I had posted the shell of the website (with only a few pictures, a couple of articles I had written earlier, and no ties to a search engine), that my own Sensei was fielding his first phone call on behalf of Mr. Bowe, and answering questions to the best of his ability about a website he didn’t even know existed!
Whoops! (By the way, have I mentioned recently that this website does not reflect the views of anyone in leadership?)
Still I knew there was a audience for what I envisioned NGAexperience.com could become, and I swam on deeper into an ocean whose boundaries I only vaguely understood at the time. It was through these early efforts with Ngaexperience.com, that Sensei Giorgi reached out to me.
His first correspondence was innocent enough. On March 3, 2014 at 11:23 pm (I’ve heard he could be somewhat of a night owl), I received the following contact from him:
COMMENT=Hi Jonathan, Thanks for starting this great website/meeting place for all NGAers.
Jim Giorgi, M.S.Ed., LMHC
"Transforming ordinary life into an extraordinary adventure."
Now, at this point, I had no idea “who” had just commented on the site, but I absolutely remember thinking, “Here is someone who understands what I’m trying to do here!” Still, the part of his comment that really stuck out to me was the quotation underneath the contact information: “Transforming ordinary life into an extraordinary adventure.”
I thought about the statement, agreeing with its ambition, and sent Jim Giorgi a reply thanking him for his positive feedback, and asking him, “Where do you train?” and “Who is your Sensei?” Which is kind of a funny line of questioning considering who I was speaking to ~ but I simply did not know who he was.
Anyway, that’s how our friendship started, and that first email exchange initiated a running conversation in which there are over 100 emails shared between us.
In one telling exchange, in which he expressed an interest in my Hokkaido 2020 Project, he commented:
“Yes, the ravages of time. The longer we delay (in going back to Hokkaido), the more opportunities we miss until they are all gone, as they already may be. Pity that none of us have the time and resources just to drop everything and go over there before all is lost to history.”
I look back at that comment now and see a double entendre.
In another email conversation, he detailed an outline of the subject matter for what he thought might be his next book on aikido (of course it was shared in confidence, and I will not divulge its contents). Still, over the last few days, I’ve wondered about that outline, and its new and unexpected future.
Of course the truth of the matter is that the future is always new and unexpected. By definition that which lies ahead is completely uncertain. It is on this occasion ~ at the shock of Jim Giorgi’s sudden passing ~ that we must be reminded to no longer delay in our efforts to embrace the limitless and extraordinary adventure in front of us.
In the coming weeks and months I hope to put together a virtual eulogy for Sensei Giorgi using insights from people who knew him. If you have a Sensei Giorgi story, video, etc., you’d like to share, please send me an email at email@example.com.
In the mean time, here is a link to an interview I did with Sensei Giorgi earlier this year. As long an interview as it is, we actually had to edit it due to limits on space. Lol
I believe that in this interview, I think you’ll see the same thing I do: a man the Nihon Goshin Aikido universe will miss for a long time. Still, while we remember, he will not be forgotten.
2. Website Updates:
With the exception of October which was nearly a total bust for website updates, we have been generally working hard to update content on the website:
For November, we have made significant improvements to the Yellow Belt Applications Section. Also this past month, we have added several more videos on Nihon Goshin Aikido Applications for Grappling Situations.
There is also an article that may be of interest on the Aikido Climate in Hokkaido Japan ~ on the same Air Force Base Mr. Bowe was stationed. The interview is from Shihan Isyoyama, and it details his experiences and difficulties leading an aikido clojo at Kuma Station during the same timeframe Mr. Bowe was training with Master Morita. A careful read of the aforementioned interview will add further insight to Mr. Bowe’s statement, “After surveying several dojos, I was impressed with how easily Master Morita’s students could throw me (a 6’4” airborne paratrooper). Please be sure to check these areas out.
3. Newsletter Subscribers:
More subscribers is the goal ~ so can you help us grow our Newsletter Subscription Base by passing the website along to your training buddies and asking them to subscribe?
Our hope is to be an inter-dojo clearing house for all things NGA, but we need more subscribers to do that. Best of all, it’s free, and who doesn’t like the word “free!” Click Here to Subscribe! (And make sure your forward to all your training buddies, and would be training buddies).
We would like to share your information on Seminars, Dojo Expansions, Relocations, Grand Openings, Promotions, and/or Other Information with our subscribers. Please forward all of your announcements to us so we can get the word out. Send us the information on your announcement, and we’ll post it here for you.
Stay tuned, and let's meet on the mat together soon!
2014 - 2019 ngaexperience.com
Unless otherwise stated, the author’s views, musings, and opinions do not necessarily reflect the attitude of leadership within any of the various Nihon Goshin Aikido associations, or unaffiliated Nihon Goshin Aikido dojos.
Sensei Giorgi on the Power of the Search For Understanding in Nihon Goshin Aikido:
I applaud every student’s questioning and analysis of our style of Aikido, even if it does seem like a "dog chasing a car" at times.
Although it may take him some time, if the dog ever does catch the car, eventually he WILL figure out something to do with it, even if it's just sniffing the tires. Or sleeping underneath. Or scratching his back on the bumper...etc.
Truth be told, it took me nearly 20 years (from 1983 until about 2000) before I figured out how classical technique can be seamlessly integrated with the irimi blend [(irimi => tenkan => tenkai) ~ which manifests itself in a 360 degree circle] and why that process is indeed exactly what Shodo Morita intended classical technique to be.
This insight, as well as other epiphanies I have had during the past 30 years of training, was the direct result of my "chasing the car" without knowing what I was going to do with it if and when I actually caught it.
And this process has been my most enlightening and joyful experience, an ever expanding and accelerating journey of wonderful discoveries.
Time ~ It waits for No Man.
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