During COVID lockdowns, a long dream had been started, that of attending university. Ian had been an inspiration, and so had Gaelan’s own journey through neuroscience. I decided to attend Washington State University for a BS in psychology with a minor in At-Risk-Youth, and then later added a double major with a BA in sociology as it pairs well for social psychology. During this effort, I had been invited to join one of the campus’ Psi Chi chapters and serve as vice president of the chapter. Today the chapter has had strong growth, and my peers are wonderful and some of the most helpful social supports.
Unfortunately during this time, Gaelan and I had separated after over a decade together. It was difficult, it was sad, and there had been a wide range of emotions. That said, Gaelan’s single statement that he felt he was holding me back was felt. I didn’t like this, but it made sense. Continued studies, selling the cabin, and working full time had been difficult, but there was perseverance.
Currently on sabbatical from a decade in secular life; meditating, gardening, calligraphy, study, poetry, and observing training from all aspects of budo and religious practice are the current topic of main concern.
Return to Aikido
A few years ago, Aikido called back, simultaneously from a powerful vision combined with having being asked by individuals to teach them and one in particular very sincerely over the course of many years. It did not feel appropriate to teach without first paying respects, so having booked a flight and permission to stay at the DC Dojo, it was time to return to the mat, having changed.
Tadaima; “you ordered a diamond…,” Saotome Sensei said profoundly; ten thousand bows would not be enough.
During this period, Gaelan and I met another significant part of our lives, a professor, Ian, whose grace and charm only served to continue to build what we have built together.
It started with a meditation, and a twenty six mile walk from Aikido Shobukan Dojo to Bodhi Path in Potomac Maryland to visit to Shamar Rinpoche.
“Rinpoche, I don’t think martial arts are the best way for me to benefit all sentient beings,” I asked one night after a twenty-six mile walk during a deep meditation on the crashing together of bu and do.
“Of course not,” Rinpoche replied, opening a dialogue.
Worked in secular life for a decade of which was leading technical efforts both engineering and analytics related in public, private, and not-for profit industries while simultaneously developing a home with domestic partners and a future property for a shrine, dojo, study, and retreat center. Prototyped, built, supported, and sold several software companies during the secular decade, and returned to Aikido much better for it.
It was here within a small little beach cottage in downtown Laguna Beach, Californa that Gaelan Lloyd walked into this life and continued where Sensei could not. He drove up to the beach cottage long ago for an animal, and it has been an adventure ever since. This is care and devotion to another of my masters, one with a strong heart of samurai. No doubt; confidence, beyond arrogance and with great gentleness and attention to detail.
Accounting for the decade post-military and pre-secular life.
Before the decade of secular life, lived as a deshi in Aikido Shobukan Dojo for nearly a decade in Washington, DC, the Headquarters Dojo of Aikido Schools of Ueshiba under the graces of the Saotome Sensei. lived, trained, and practiced aikido daily. practiced meditation, calligraphy, reading, writing, poetry, arts, and instructed between scheduled classes 1:1 and to small personal groups who requested instruction. Sensei’s regular visits allowed for significant time with sensei, driving, shopping, accompanying walks, museums, tending to VIP guests, and receiving lectures and instructions.
“You know [R]oy,” sensei pronounced the name with minimal aspiration on the ‘R’, and maximum emphasis on the ‘oy’, “people no understanding you… sensei knowing…,” followed by a pause that lasted a few steps, and without changing stride, he continued, “sensei knowing because people no understanding sensei. You understanding?”
There are no words for the appreciation for Sensei’s teaching. There are no gifts that can compensate for this gem, as all of its facets radiate from a dynamic line, limitless, yet perpendicular appearing as one point. It operates abstract time, abstract location. For all beings.
This is transmission.
While at Aikido Shobukan Dojo, increasing meditative practices and relationships with dojo members lead to meeting Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche and receiving instruction as root guru in Karma Kagyu school of Buddhism. committed to vows and empowerments, and teachings, which remain today, the name given by Shamar Rinpoche is Karma Semten Chophel.
Prior to living in the dojo, while training there, worked in private support of government, military, and intelligence communities in the DC metro area toward a career, that is, until an invitation to move in temporarily at the dojo was offered to care take, which was a narrow window to assist, which was taken at the expense of several career invitations as a “blue badger” in Central Intelligence Agency and a specialist career option at State Department, with invitation to training at Quantico.
Was in the United States Army in the field of electronics and communications for several years. Served in United States Army Alaska (USARAK), in support of United States Army Pacific Command (USARPAC) as a sole supporter of specialized equipment serving operational readiness. It was in the military that awareness of O’Sensei first appeared while crossing intense study in Buddhist Suttas during off hours, which lead to finding a small aikido school on base, lead by a soldier well skilled in martial arts, whom left, having qualified for Special Forces. It was this soldier that said, “you don’t need to go to Japan to learn Aikido, the best Aikido instructor is right here in the United States, Saotome Sensei.”
While on base, assisted with a children’s program for the remaining years in the service. as a light unit, we received training fit for units that would meet opposing forces, and trained regularly, this training was helpful for future living in the dojo, and this training is highly effective after decades of research and mistakes through many wars and police actions around the world. Turned down re-enlistment options which had significant support from Warrant Officers for Warrant Officer Candidate School, and instead committed to training at Aikido Shobukan Dojo to learn from Mitsugi Saotome Shihan.
Lineage & Influence
This is a consolidated list, non-exhaustive, of major influencers in this life.
Morihei Ueshiba, O-Sensei
Mitsugi Saotome Shihan
Japan & USA
Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche
Tampa Bay, FL
Tampa Bay, FL
Incline Village, NV
San Antonio, TX
Laguna Beach, CA
Janet W. Smith
Silver Spring, MD
New York, NY
Old Lyme, CT
Hideyuki Kaiwa Sensei
Prince Edward Island, Canada
#buddhism, #martial, #bujinkan
U.S. Army, AK
U.S. Army, AK
U.S. Army, AK
John & Ken
Palm Springs, CA
Linda & Regina Hodges