In 2012 Fasen Sensei and Canin Sensei were instructed by Saotome Shihan to embroider their Gi with Ueshiba Juku. This honor brings them into the company of a select group, and the implications are theirs to struggle with.
Not only does this designation make a public declaration, but it carries the recognition and endorsement of Saotome Shihan. It is not taken lightly and is carried with great care.
All serious Aikidoka could technically be considered Ueshiba Juku, or “descend in a direct line from the founder”. The head waters can develop many braches down steam however, and the flow confused. It is after all only a few generations removed from O’Sensei’s direct influence. If todays Aikidoka have been fortunate enough to have studied the art and teachings of the founder from a student that flowed from his lineage of direct students… the decendancy chain has more integrity and is a bit easier to identify. As generations pass however, the line will become (and already is) less distinct. There are so few of the founders actual direct students (Uchi Deshi) still alive for us to encounter. We are everlastingly grateful to be with Saotome Shihan.
There is speculation that the initial term (Ueshiba Juku) was a Japanese translation of “Aikido Schools of Ueshiba”. It is very plausible, because (Of) Ueshiba can easily be interpreted as (from). For Saotome Sensei however, regardless of the initial source, it came to take on more personal implications. Saotome Shihan gave Ueshiba personal interpretation as one of the few remaining persoanal students of the founder (Uchi Deshi), branding it with his Kanji and designating a select group of his students as embodying the spirit of the mission he received from the founder, and declaring his individual trust and personal confidence.
Dennis Hooker Shihan (founder of Shindai Dojo and our teacher) was in the initial group of a handful of Saotome Sensei’s first and most ardent students to receive the onus to carry this symbol. We are overwhelmed and honored that Sensei has seen fit to choose two of Dennis Hooker’s students to wear this symbol as well. A legacy continues.