AJ forum link: ” The O in O sensei”

The following text is excerpted from a discussion in progress on the Aikido Journal Forums:

“I think it should be mentioned that the term used would differ depending on whether the person was being addressed directly.

For example, if I were addressing the Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba, I would always call him ‘Sensei.’ However, if I were referring to him in the third person I would use Doshu.

I would therefore think that most people would have called O-Sensei simply ‘Sensei’ when addressing him directly and ‘O-Sensei’ or ‘Kaiso’ when referring to him in the third position.”

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  1. One of the stories I heard M. Saito Sensei tell several times about O’Sensei was when he and others were trying to talk him into doing a public demo in the 50’s. Here is a rough paraphrasing…interestingly he would hold his hands together in a praying fashion and say, “…. Sensei, the war is over it’s safe to show techniques in public now….”. I was always told no one called him O’Sensei until after he died. At least not as often. Another descriptor I’ve heard used to talk about O’Sensei is ” Kaiso”. I’ve always interpreted that to be an affectionate version for leader or sensei though I’ve never heard an actual translation.

  2. “Kaiso” is usually translated as “Founder.” The Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba usually referred to his father as “Kaiso,” especially in a formal setting.

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