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Sadao Yoshioka's 'Ki' on Nature

At the recent Okinawan Festival, a kind person gave me some old Karate magazines, including three Martial Arts Hawaii magazines from the 1970s. Volume 1, No. 3 has my good friend and senior Sensei Pat Nakata on the cover (with thick black hair!). Inside are articles about several respected instructors I am very fortunate to know or have met, such as Andrew Lum and Tommy Morita. Nakata Sensei was in an article comparing Karate and Kung Fu.

But I must admit that I shed a tear when I saw the article about Sensei Sadao Yoshoka entitled Aikido's 'Ki' On Nature. Since the article was from 1975, Yoshioka Sensei looked so young and healthy. Actually, he was already in his early 50's. I began training under him the next year, when I started college. I was taken by my brother-in-law, Joseph Tanega, who is shown sitting next to Yoshioka Sensei meditating under Manoa Falls (with three other students). Joseph now resides in England. My first class was at the Waialae dojo.

The caption to the waterfall photo describes the waters as "chilling." I also went a few times. We arrived at the waterfall at dawn. The water was more like an icepick in your head! But afterwards, it actually felt warm.

I was only 18 when I met Yoshioka Sensei. Now I am 49, just a few years younger than him when he was interviewed for the article. What a Sensei he was! Naturally, his technique was beautiful, far more beautiful than I could ever appreciate. But what made him so special, in my opinion, was the way he wove lessons about daily life into each and every Aikido class. I cannot think of a time that he did not give a lecture, even when he was undergoing very painful chemotherapy. As I've mentioned before, whenever Yoshioka Sensei gave a lecture, each of the students would think that he was speaking about them! I knew they were wrong because he was speaking about me!

I was a poor Aikido student, but respect the art today because of the positive impression I received from Yoshioka Sensei. Today I am also friends with Sensei Gary Omori, who at one time also trained under Yoshioka Sensei. Sometimes I get to watch his fine students and reminisce about my brief study of Aikido.

The article that appeared about Yoshioka Sensei in Martial Arts Hawaii is available online at the website of one of his students. Pease see Aikido's 'Ki' On Nature.


Charles C. Goodin