On this occasion, for the first time, trial basis, I had some of the younger generation lead half of the 2-hour practice sessions. These younger people were my deshi. Although they have been pursuing me over the years, I do not know what or how they experience nor how they are trying to express these things. At the very least, I believe that they are not simply imitating me but, despite imitating, feeling something for themselves, finding direction in their own respective practice, and developing themselves.
When I was ten years into my own practice, I felt doubt in regards to the practice methods that I had done up until then. I ended up changing how I practiced 180 degrees. What I think was best about this change was to think on ‘the Path (Tao)’ and to realize I needed to seek aikido deeply. It has been over 40 years since this change in my practice and I still feel the same way.
The people who are my deshi now number over 10. Even now I still think on how to best go about the master-disciple relationship. I hope that they see me walking ahead on the path, each themselves practicing, nurturing their sense of value toward life, not fearing change, and humbly continuing to seek ‘the Path’. Myself included, we are all just at different points in the process of seeking ‘the Path’. I will continue to watch carefully the growth of the younger generation.