F.B. You mentioned about broken up marriages due to Aikido. Youve brought up
children, a very successful marriage, youve put a hell of a lot of work into Aikido,
away at weekends, summer schools and all the rest you do. A lot of time spent, how have
you made your marriage work? Your wife is obviously very special and supports you greatly.
Sensei Smiths does, it works. For a lot of people who have a partner thats not
involved in Aikido, its a great strain, what advice would you give, whats the
magic? How do you cope with that?
Thats a difficult one, I suppose it realise a great deal on your partner really.
Ive seen people crumble because they wanted so much to carry on. I remember one
particular lad from Aberdeen, Ill never forget it, that lad broke his heart. If he
didnt give up Aikido, his wife said she was going to leave him. I can see him now
teeing me about it, he was in tears, he had me in tears actually. I just didnt know
what to say, I did say to him you cannot allow your marriage to go, with a young family.
If this is the option youve got its your decision, but he never came back,
Ive often thought about him. Aikido to my wife is something I do, even if I flag a
bit shed say, "Well thats not very enthusiastic, is it?" (laughing)
Thats what shed say. So I think to myself, "Well, there you are."
F.B. Its a healthy hobby, a way of life for you
obviously, to put it in context. Have you ever used Aikido to defend yourself?
S.F. Thats a dodgy one. No, perhaps once, not many.
F.B. Was that in the early days?
S.F. Yes, when we were a bit more heavy handed. The good
thing about our beginning, we were pretty toughened up, you know. You can imagine the
partner kept you going. I thought, "I dont care. Ive got a little bit of
this and Im still going to do it." If we had to do 100 press ups, wed do
100 press ups. As far as Aikido in this particular place, we did use [it] to learn to
move, Tai Sabaki, Irimi¾ that was the thing we did understand in the early days. When
this occasion arose, it was very handy because I just moved out of the way. They rather
hurt themselves, they didnt hurt me. They fell on the concrete, they looked a bit
ragged and worn. There was only two of them and they where a little drunk.
F.B. D o you have any regrets in respect to Aikido. Do you
regret the situation you just described. Anything with your Aikido career that you regret?
S.F. Not really, I dont regret. When Mr. Williams
decided to leave The Hut, I was left in a cleft stick. I had quite a good job, if Id
left I could never have got it back, if I had gone. Even then The Hut was in a precarious
position . If I had jumped in and taken over full time, I may have suffered, my family may
have suffered, but it is a regret that I didnt have the positive enough thinking to
jump. We had a good situation there. There were two schools, one secondary modern and one
grammar [school] coming to The Hut once a week, and an instructor going to the school once
a week. The money received was just like any other teacher. Unfortunately, there was
nobody there that I could turn that over to, one of the sad things I had to go see the
head master and let it go. A shocker, really.
F.B. Thats a shame, really.
S.F. If I had had a trade, maybe I would have made the
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