“Saito Sensei started getting calls from all over Japan telling him that the article looked good because he used a foreign woman as his uke!”
This video contains highlights of the outstanding demonstration of Pat Hendricks, 7th dan, at Aiki Expo 2005 in Los Angeles. Pat Sensei is one of the senior students of Morihiro Saito Sensei and spent more than 20 years learning from this great master. She is currently the head instructor of Division 1 of the California Aikido Association.
Pat Hendricks Sensei reflects upon her training experience in Iwama with Saito Sensei:
“I think it would add up to around six years. In 1988 I was experienced enough for a lot of opportunities to come to me. It is a kind of funny story. On one occasion Saito Sensei was being interviewed by the famous Japanese magazine, Wushu. He did a few things with me but mainly used the male uchideshi.
Then everybody dressed for lunch, except me as I was serving tea, as I normally did, still wearing my keikogi. Saito Sensei said to this man, who I guess was the editor, “Well, I guess I can demonstrate with her even though she is a girl,” and he started demonstrating, and just didn’t stop.
It was in the middle of summer and really, really hot. He just went on and on for about forty minutes. I thought to myself, “I will never see any one of these pictures, they will never be in the magazine, because I am a woman. Well, apparently, those were the only pictures they chose! When Saito Sensei received the magazine, he quietly placed it on the shomen (altar) and didn’t show it to anybody, and I felt he was disappointed. But then he started getting calls from all over Japan telling him that the article looked good because he used a foreign woman as his uke. This completely changed Saito Sensei’s thinking. After that, he was so much easier about using a woman as uke and expecting that kind of response from others.”