Noro sensei’s last lesson

Visite Noro sensei Stage Niten-10 200521rst Intenational Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu workshop with Iwami soke. Saint-Brice, France, 2004.

Noro Masamichi sensei supports me as I invite my kenjutsu sensei from Japan, Iwami Toshio soke to his first European workshop as 11th successor to Miyamoto Musashi. It reminded him of his early days when he started to teach Aikido as Leader to Europe and Africa. In hard times, I remember the generosity of Noro sensei and I move on, with a smile.

When Aikido started in France, in the 1960’s, it was a new martial art in a country which did not even understand martial arts. Judo was still in its beginning. Noro Masamichi sensei was then Delegate for Europe and Africa, in today’s words the leader. He had been Otomo to Ueshiba Morihei sensei. Otomo means serving disciple, the one who cares closely for the master.

Noro sensei came to Judo classes and said to the teacher:

I have taught you 3 techniques, it is enough for you to start an Aikido class with your students.

The teacher was now an Aikido teacher who knew 3 Aikido techniques after a 2 hours lesson taught by Noro Masamichi sensei. His dojo was from then an Aikido dojo. By this way, Noro sensei answered the wish of his master, Ueshiba Morihei sensei, that France would become a land for Aikido. Through many trials and years of ceaseless efforts, Noro Masamichi sensei taught to thousands of students some of which would become one day high level students throughout Europe. He had the pioneer spirit and overcame many hardships, some due to the misunderstanding of those who had stayed at home in the motherland of Aikido. Such mis-happenings are normal for the sensei who sets to start a new dojo in a foreign land.

At the end of his life, Noro sensei was great enough to forgive the offences. This was his last teaching to me:

In the end, forgive and forgive as soon as possible as grudge burdens your heart.

I keep these memories and I share them with my students in our Ringenkai Aikido.

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