I saw a sign while in my car

For an Aikido seminar

That humbly promised to impart

A path of peace through martial arts.

The teacher was to be a man

Of strength and wisdom from Japan

(Which sounds much wiser and much older

Than just some guy flew in from Boulder).

But I?m not one for tales and lore,

And I had seen this guy before.?

And though not mean or rough or bruising,

Ikeda Sensei was confusing.


His meanings, I?ll admit, I missed?em,

But this Time Sensei had a system,

One that he cooked up in Boulder?

Something, something, elbow, shoulder,

Belly button, tail bone, toe,

Shoulder, elbow? I don’t know.

But anyway, it seemed to me

That finally I’d found the key!

For if Sensei’s system I unfurled

Then I’d be master of the world!

The magic place so many seek

Beyond the mat, beyond technique,

Could ?be all mine right here, right now?

Shoulder…tail bone …elbow…how?

And there’s the problem, where to start?

There’s just so many body parts.

But hey, i thought, we’d just begun.

I’d just go through them one by one.


So as I offered forth my?fist,

An Uke firmly grabbed my wrist,

And though I had a lot to prove,

That stubborn Uke wouldn?t move!

Um, Uke, Friend, I blithely quipped,

Perhaps you haven?t read the script,

For you may not know why or how,

But I?m thinking of your shoulder now.

For Sensei said, and this is true,

That this is all I need to do

To knock you, Uke, strong or not,

Down to the mat.? Yes,? just my thoughts!

It may be crazy, and I know you

Don?t believe me, so I?ll show you!

Shoulder? elbow? tailbone? chest,

I?m thinking of them all.? Impressed?

And the more I think? the more I find?

Your body parts can?t read my mind.?


Just then?Sensei came along

To point out just where I?d gone wrong.

He said, as I knelt on the mat,

?Now, don?t do this, instead do that.?

So I said, ?Sensei, to my shame,

To me those two things look the same.

And I?m starting to think this whole shtick

Is just some ancient Jedi trick

Where Sensei stares and with a frown,

Says, Uke you will now go down!”

?No, no,? said Sensei, ?That?s not it.

No mind control do I emit.

I have no mystery to hide,

As you must learn to move inside.?

?Inside?? I said, still quite the dunce.

?Well, I?ll try any fool thing once.?

So I again put forth my fist,

While Uke firmly grabbed my wrist,

Then inward I forced my attention

And blurted out to ease the tension,

?My inside?s moving! Stop the class!

Oh, never mind, it?s only gas.?

Then Sensei said, with some dismay,

?No more will I teach you today.

What more there is you may derive

For only $19.95,

As much more teaching you can get

Right over there in my box set,

Where all this wisdom is preserved?

(Ikeda Sensei, rights reserved).

Resident Poet?

Mark Shaughnessy