(31/3/1928 – 13/5/2002).
From the last letter that Michael Field Sensei wrote to his Sensei which he hand delivered to him at his Iwama home in February 2002.
I became your deshi in Iwama twenty three years ago. I was an immature thirty two-year-old. You impressed me so much with your technical expertise, your ability to enjoy, your leadership of the dojo community and your loyalty to O Sensei!
In one of your Traditional Aikido volumes you said “the truth is right where you are standing”. You are yourself and thank you for that! I have learnt from you to be myself.
Sensei you taught me either directly or indirectly about: Loyalty - you are loyal to O Sensei, your wife and family. Perseverance and responsibility – 55 years of Aikido, you were always there for us. Anger - The power of anger to get deshi to pay attention. Celebration – balance training and work with celebration. Standards – set a high standard. Fools – do not tolerate fools. I could go on ... Without becoming your deshi I know my life would not be as valuable to others and me.
The night before my open-heart surgery, eighteen months ago, when my life as I know it was on the edge of the unknown, I was thinking. One of the paradoxes I thought about was O Sensei saying, “I am an invincible warrior”. For many years I thought this must be a miss translation then I realised what he meant. I too experienced being an invincible warrior for I approached the edge calmly, trusting what is, desiring life little more than death. The attraction of the known and the unknown were almost perfectly balanced. The heightened awareness that I experienced then I have experienced in your proximity at the dojo in Iwama. I am not afraid for you for you too are invincible and know it. So I come now not to say goodbye but hello again and thank you for everything you have done for me personally and for my students.
Thank you for being you and for taking me as your deshi all those years ago.
I remain forever your deshi,