Answering the Mail
June 18th, 2005
Nippon Kan and Homma Kancho receive many letters, phone calls and emails every week. Most are questions about Aikido such as; When do beginners’ classes start?, Where can I buy a keiko gi (practice uniform)?, What is a kototama?, How do I learn ukemi?, or my personal favorite; How long does it take to get a black belt?…
Some of the requests and questions are simple, and some are very complicated questions to answer. Sometimes the questions posed are just as a way to engage in conversation. Sometimes questions are posed to make the inquirer look knowledgeable. In either case, engaging in these kinds of conversations can be challenging!
On occasion we receive letters from authors that write volumes about their own Aikido philosophies or speak of their personal experiences of enlightenment sitting under a waterfall, “Just like the Founder”…
With experience, our staff has learned to deal with the different kinds of requests courteously and efficiently; but very few come to the attention of Homma Kancho directly. Most are answered and filed away in appropriate category files, some of the classics are saved in Sensei’s funny letters files. Homma Kancho says someday he will use the letters as a basis for research for a study of the sociology of martial arts in the 20th and 21st centuries!
Every once in a while however, there is a letter or e-mail that displays a great deal earnest sincerity asking for information on AHAN or advice from Homma Kancho. These letters, Homma Kancho answers personally, and sometimes in great length.
One such letter this past June came from Michael Difronzo, a loyal student to the late Mitsunari Kanai Shihan 8th Dan of Boston, Massachusetts. Kanai Shihan was one of the first USAF Pioneer Instructors to come to the United States to teach Aikido. He lived in the Boston area until his death March 28th, 2004.
Michael’s letter request for advice touched Homma Kancho, inspiring him to write the response linked to in this article. Also referenced in this letter is Aikikai Shihan Kazuo Chiba Shihan of San Deigo, California.