No one knows this but I was close to tears back in November last year when Horii Shihan announced that we have passed our grading. ZZ got his 1st Dan, Tri- 2nd Dan, MJ-his 3rd Dan, and me my 4th Dan.
I’m not sure why I wanted to cry, perhaps it is because Harry sensei just died back in April? If it hadn’t been for his demise, I would be getting the 4th Dan from him, like how I got my 1st to 3rd Dan.
Perhaps it is because if it had been Harry sensei grading us, getting my 4th Dan would be an platonic reality, and now with Horii shihan grading, I’m not so sure if my standards meets his expectations. Maybe it was an overwhelming wave of relief to hear Horii shihan announced that all of us got our grades and pass his scrutiny.
Harry sensei’s legacy
When he died, we were in kind of a limbo, as an Aikidoka, I was already thinking of hanging up my hakama, my days on the mat ends now that Harry sensei is gone, but as fate would have it, I continued his work on the mat, stepping into this role.
While I can somewhat sit in his place, doing my atomic bit to continue the class, I cannot fill the void left behind by him in the bigger larger Aikido universe. Harry sensei is very connected and his loss is certainly felt. He has made many, many friends through his Aikido practice.
Horii shihan is one of Harry sensei’s friends who came and answer our limbo. He came to our humble dojo, trained with us, and graded us. With his guidance, we are able to see a bit clearer into the future as a dojo.
It’s so true to say that we exists because we are standing on the shoulders of giant, for our case, we move from the giant shoulders of Harry sensei to another. This is the true spirit and soul of of Aikido. That peace, love and harmony really works, to build friendship, bond and support; this is perhaps the reason why I continue to train and carry on the good work Harry sensei has left behind.