Harry Eto Sensei's Lesson

(Note: Harry Eto Sensei was a beloved aikido teacher who started learning aikido in his 40's(?) and continued on for over forty years! He passed away in June of 2001.)

Having been privileged to have a "Harry Eto Sensei" experience of a very general nature, I present it here. I apologize for my faulty memory in advance....

Back in ... ohh, mid-90s, I went to a VKS (or Maryland, can't remember which) summer camp. George Simcox Sensei was there (I was quite thankful for George's gracious presence!). But Harry Eto Sensei was there, too, and I was really glad to find another example of a teacher who simply seemed to exude boundless kindness and joy and excitement about life and Ki and learning!

At the time I had recently begun to have certain unpleasant problems of a Ki-related nature. Suffice it to say I was very concerned and resolved to ask Eto Sensei for advice.

I caught him at the end of a class in the dojo. It was a bit hard communicating with him. I was actually trying it in Japanese, and the room was noisy and busy. I'm not at all certain that he understood what I was trying to get across (it was rather a weird problem), but his answer, I think, can and perhaps should be applied to just about any problem.

He said something like, "How do you pray?" (Here he held his hands together to demonstrate.) He went on: "When you pray, extend Ki." And if my memory serves me correctly, he said something like (or I interpreted it as), "When you pray, extend Ki up to Heaven."

I guess one can in part also translate it as: "Pray with confidence," where (in my opinion) another term that can be used instead of "confidence" is "faith," and that's something many other teachers have been teaching over the years.

I think that about sums it up.

Ki Aikido demonstration of the effects of blessing vs. cursing
Aikido Principles Transposed Up Into the Realm of Spirit

Text copyright 2001, Eri Izawa (rei [at] mit.edu)