To the divine warrior, Joe Vaughan
I have taken the liberty of placing a photo of Joe Vaughan on the altar in our main training hall, the Bujinden. Now I sit here beneath it, staring at his image. As the flames of the candles sway in the wind, it seems to me that Joe is here with me, smiling and talking. Without thinking, I started speaking to Joe’s picture …
We met many times at the training camps I held in the UK. Each time I sensed that neither of us had grown any older — inside at least. Joe would always smile kindly as he spoke to the youngsters and me, or taught us the important things without even saying a word.
Joe … the wrist-lock you put on me that one time … I was flabbergasted. I felt it vibrate powerfully through my heart, just as when I used to suffer wrist-locks from my teacher, Takamatsu Sensei. I told you then, Joe, didn’t I? As my senior, you should really be the Grandmaster … and we both laughed. That moment is still here, right now.
Life: no matter how long it lasts, it is but an instant. I see life as a journey. When I heard the sad news about Joe, my reaction was, “So, Joe’s now left on his journey. I too have spent a long time travelling the globe on my own sort of knight errantry … but the journey is never truly over, so I am certain that at some future destination I will meet up with Joe once again.” One of the happiest things in my life has been the fact that through this wandering existence I have been privileged to meet people whom I can truly respect, such as Joe Vaughan.
They say that the hearts of martial men can be transmitted directly, without any need for words. As I continue on my journey, I vow to keep Joe’s heart alive in my own, and treasure it for the rest of my life.
Let me close by offering a humble prayer that Joe Vaughan’s soul may rest in peace.
29 September 2000
(translated by Ben Jones)
June 20, 2022