Goodbye to an old and dear friend.
I first met Ken in 1973 at the Vernon Sangster centre in Liverpool England. He was living in Japan at the time and would visit our club when he travelled back to England. He would take classes on these occasions, so after the class I would quiz Ken about Japan, as I was keen to train at Hombu. Ken was very helpful and supportive, and even put me up in his flat until I found accommodation. He was also instrumental in arranging my visa approvals and in many other ways made my stay in Japan an unforgettable experience.
I arrived in Tokyo on 1st March 1975. I clearly remember arriving at Ikebukuro station where Ken had planned to meet me. It was very cold and snowing lightly. I think the snow gave everything a serene and magical look. Ken took me along to Hombu and introduced me. Later on many occasions, we would train at Hombu, and then have a beer afterwards. It’s only when I look back at these times do I realize how smooth Ken made my early days in Japan.
We kept in touch over the years and my last contact with him was at the Hong Kong 35th Anniversary, which was a great success. Ken’s particular gift was to bring people together in the true spirit of Aikido, just so very sad that he had to leave us so early. I’m sure I’m not the only person who will miss this bright and kind spirit.