Several years ago I visited Japan for the third Kokikai Aikido International Convention. Because of the language barrier I wasn’t able to talk to very many of Maruyama Sensei’s Japanese students in depth. However, I did spend some time talking to Shuji Ozeki, founder of Kokikai Australia, who speaks English fluently. Ozeki Sensei has practiced Kokikai Aikido for over 25 years. He now lives in Seki, Japan and runs the Ozeki School of Japanese Cuisine.  We immediately slipped into a discussion about the core of Sensei’s teaching, and whether it was different for Japanese or American students. Ozeki Sensei was effusive about the way that Sensei’s teaching has greatly benefited his own life and benefits others by encouraging all human beings to respect one another.

with Shuji Ozeki at Kokikai Aikido
International Convention
Ozeki Sensei explained to me the Japanese phrase, “Ichi go, ichi e.” I had purchased this calligraphy at a temple in Kyoto. I have heard it interpreted in various ways. Maybe I intuited Ozeki Sensei’s interest in Zen Buddhism when I asked him to explain it, but I also wanted to hear a Kokikai perspective. He said that literally, it means, "one try, one chance," or, "one try, one moment." But its deeper meaning is that you have to experience each moment, because each moment is unique and precious. He likened it to our practice, which we do “kotsu, kotsu, kotsu” or step by step by step, not focusing on the goal but on this moment.

This is not easy for me. When I plant flower bulbs, I want to see them grow right away! I want to rocket to the moon! I try to keep in mind my conversation with Ozeki Sensei: "kotsu-kotsu."


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