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David G. Alexander

6-dan Aikikai

Where were you born?
Miami, Florida

Where do you live today?
Los Angeles, CA

What is your current occupation?
Retired Patent Agent

What is your education?
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Enginnering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 1971

When did you first start out with aikido and where was that?
New England Aikikai, Cambridge, MA, 1969

Who was your first aikido teacher?
Mitsunari Kanai

Who would you say is your main inspiration in aikido? What do you feel this person/persons especially passed on to you?
Morihiro Saito-sensei.  He passed on O-sensei's true Aikido technique and spirit.

What's is the name of your current dojo?
Westlake Village Aikido

What qualities do find important in an aikido teacher?
Excellence in technique and character

Can you pin point a few important moments in your history in aikido, perhaps moments you feel contributed you taking a new turn in aikido or of some other importance.

I first went to Iwama and met Saito-sensei in the spring of 1972.  I was training at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo at the time, and heard stories about this "outdoor dojo" in Iwama and a legendary sensei named Saito who was teaching the classes there. Saito-sensei was scheduled to teach Sunday morning classes at Hombu, and I went every Sunday in hopes of meeting him.  But he never came. So, it seemed that I had to go to him.  My wife and I went to Iwama and ended up in the six mat room at the entrance to the dojo.  Saito-sensei and a few other people were training.

After a while Saito-sensei came over to us and asked if I wanted to train.  I said yes.  He asked if I had a uniform.  I said no.  He said "Wait a minute". He went to his house and brought back an old uniform.  I put it on and bowed into the class.

My first training partner turned out to be the resident monster whose name was Shigemi Inagaki.  The first technique was shiho-nage.  The first time he threw me, it was so hard that I hit my head on the mat and was knocked out for several seconds.

When I woke up, I thought to myself, "This is what I've been looking for". We stayed for several days in Iwama, and slept in O-Sensei's old storeroom next to the dojo (which was subsequently demolished to build the current "red room").  It was a very interesting place, filled with books and old charts of Kotodama symbols that O-Sensei used in his lectures. We wanted to move to Iwama as soon as possible, but there was no housing for us.  I commuted to Iwama from Tokyo a number of times over the summer and participated in numerous gasshiku (seminars) with university students and other groups.  Particularly challenging was one with Isoyama-sensei and his students from the Air Self-Defense Force base at Iruma. Saito-sensei finally arranged to have a house built for us, and we moved to Iwama in the Fall.  We ended staying for about 10 years.

How would you like to see aikido develop in the future? What steps do you feel  is important  to take to get there?
It is extremely important to practice the basic techniques as we learned them from Saito-sensei in Iwama.  It is good to experiment, cross-train, etc., but if we forget the basics, we will will become lost.

Last famous words, anything you wish to add...
It was a great pleasure to make so many good friends in Iwama, especially including Ulf Evenas and Lars Andersson. We were thinking of making up humorous Aikido T-shirts, but never got around to it.  The T-shirts would read "Superstar in Aikido, Shudo, Seido" (Shudo is "The way of sake", Seido is "The way of love").  People who train Aikido should be well-rounded.



I study aikido under another deshi of Morihiro Saito sensi, Saburo Takayasu Sensi also 6th dan, in Sydney. Both Takayasu sensi and Alexander Sensi have been an inspiration on my Aikido persuit, and in case of Alexander Sensi a remote inspiration. Thanks to both of these great men for their efforts to disseminate Aikido the way they got it from Saito sensi, hence from O'Sensi.

2004-10-24 11:55:10 Ronnie

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