The irises are blooming in our backyard. They are a welcome sight after months of winter and a less than inspiring spring as Covid-19 rages on. The flowers, however, touch me with their present beauty, but also because they bring back fond memories. When I was fortunate to train at the Shiseikan dojo located in Meiji Shrine Park, I experienced the two sides of Tanaka Shigeho Shihan. On the mat he could be fierce and demanding, always insisting that I try to do better.

At first, I was quite intimidated. But one day after class he invited me to walk with him. He wanted me to see the lovely spring flowers growing in the park. On another occasion, at his home in Kawasaki, he proudly showed me the irises in his garden. He was a true follower of BUNBU-RYODO, “the culture-martial dual Way”. He displayed both a strong back and a kind heart.

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