dramatis personae : Crampton-sensei

This unfinished, unrevised post was originally started for my AikiWeb blog…



The other day, I was sitting on the edge of the mat in my civies watching kihon dosa practice. Chris Crampton-sensei was doing tai no henko ichi right in front me, so he would step in and extend his arms right over the top of me and I thought this is sort of like the perspective the rebel soldiers had on Hoth as the AT-ATs were bearing down on them: one relentless s-step with locked out hips after another, swish-shook, back, swish-shook, back.

Crampton-sensei is head instructor for Mugenjuku’s kenshusei program. And a good fit he is for the job. Despite (or perhaps because of) the unassuming demeanor, I have come to think of him like a sort of Frankenstein’s monster of aikido, stitched together to bring to life a model of yoshinkan aikido: feet of hobbit, knees of Gumby, thighs of bodybuilder, wrists of yokozuna, and brain of rocket scientist. (This is as opposed to someone like myself with thighs of yokozuna, wrists of rocket scientist, and brain of hobbit.)

Crampton has been off for most of February, most of the time I’ve been training thus far, with a new-born at home, but two images stick in the mind thus far: One day, he was demonstrating with Carter-sensei as uke and gave Carter a throw that made an enormous thwack and left Carter flat on his back with a beat red face and springing back onto his feet like normal. Crampton looked down at him and received a big smile and