This is the third and final part of my interview with Barrish Sensei. His insights into Aikido, and into Shinto in America are worth copying and then pasting in any personal Aikido journal.
Q: Just out of curiosity, what do you like best, and least, about your duties?
"...when I first visited Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Japan many years ago I really felt that sacred place and activities there were the highest example of human beings going forward in harmony with great/ divine nature.....my motivation to build and operate this Jinja was to try to make that sublime vibrational field available here in North America.....there are moments when I feel I have accomplished that goal to a degree......I enjoy working in the sacred shrine atmosphere.....
"..as for the least enjoyable moments...they would likely be attached to the ongoing work to continue to operate financially---we are the Dokuritsu saisan/ financially independent branch shrine, so we must work hard to continue to operate....there are months when the Jinja operates at a loss...but we are very ganbaru/ continue to do our utmost day by day."
Q: With your study of Aikido, what is the most important aspect of the Art you wish to transmit to your students?
"....maybe a valid approach is both from inside and outside (uchiki and sotoki)...we seek to organize our internal thinking/ dialogue/ awareness/ to be in tune with the flow of life giving forces....to a certain extent externalized forms are useful and necessary to change a pre-existing paradigm...we consciously change/adjust the outer behavior/ activity...then the adjusted model we apply sinks deeply into our sub-conscious ..percolates and re-emerges as our new model...so to effectively make meaningful movement we have to balance thinking and doing...that is why it is useful to physically train in holographic Aiki Waza and also to come the shrine as it is an enriched environment, a magical realm of poetry and spirals where we can make intuitive leaps..."
Q: I understand you and your group of dojos are joining the new Western Aikido Association. How did this connection come about? And how long have you known Frager Sensei, the Founder of the Association?
"Arigatou gozaimasu...yes I am very grateful to be accepted to both Aikikai and Western Aikido Association.as the young Aiki Jutsu instructor in the late 60's in the early 70's I was lucky enough to participate in training led by Koichi Tohei Sensei before his departure from the Aikikai----then in the early 70's I choose to remain with and ultimately to inherit in 1977 my teacher's family art.
"However my fascination and deep admiration for O'Sensei's physical and spiritual genius never diminished-- the desire to understand O'Sensei's process led to my immersion in esoteric Shinto -- it was my good fortune to meet Frager Sensei in the mid 80's...I have been the long time fan of his sincerity and deep perception. Thanks to the kindness of Frager Sensei and open heartedness of the Aikikai I and the Kannagara members can finally give up the existence as orphans and be organizationally connected to Ueshiba-ke Aikido."
Q: What do you think Shinto can offer America? And what do you think Aikido can offer America?
"It is my opinion that both Shinto and Aikido are great treasures ---the genius of humankind --------- both exist as answers for the common questions and desires of humankind (futomani)......I believe the difficulty for us coming from Western Cultural background is the arrogance that results from the disconnect from Nature---there are two main types of arrogance-- yang arrogance that manifests as extreme selfishness and disrespect for others and Nature and yin arrogance that manifests as inability to act----together these types of arrogance have brought us collectively to this critical juncture for humanity ..."
Q: If you could enter a time machine and find yourself having tea with O Sensei, what question or questions would you ask him?
"...in such a case I believe I would express my gratitude for his hard work and genius...................."
Thank you for your support of my writing here. For those of you who haven't yet subscribed, please do. Click the "Subscribe" icon above. The examiner.com will send you an email to confirm your address. That's it.