Message from Yamada Sensei

I am sorry I am not able to be at Donovan’s funeral this weekend. I hope you understand but with the current situation, it’s not possible for me to make the trip. Instead, I would like to share a short message to express my condolences to Donovan’s family and students and friends.

It came as such a shock to me to hear the sad news about Donovan on February 22nd. I know it was felt the same way for everyone around the world. I have always said that Donovan was like a son to me, from the time he came to live as a young ushi deshi at NYA and even on our recent phone call for my birthday, just 6 days before he passed away.

Like me, Donovan devoted his entire life to teaching aikido. There are not many people who have done this from an early age, sacrificing so much personally in order to be a full time aikido instructor. Even though Donovan was my student, we both understood this kind of life. I think we made a good team. I am always early and he was always late. So if you put us together, our class would start right on time.

I have so many memories of Donovan. Like everyone else, he made a big impression on me. I will miss Donovan very much. And I’m so sorry for his family, and for his son Nathaniel. I know Donovan loved him very much, and was so proud of him.

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