"Kei ten Ai jin" was the personal motto of the famous Saigo Takamori. Takamori has been called the last true samurai and was instrumental in bringing about the Meiji Restoration. Much has been written about Takamori so I'll save this space for the more important stuff...ART and FRIENDSHIP!
This calligraphy depicts the characters for "Kei Ten Ai Jin" and was brushed by one of my friends, Esteban Martinez. Esteban has become, in my humble opinion, one of the best calligraphers around brushing some of the most beautiful calligraphy I've seen, and I've seen a bunch! Not only is Esteban an amazing calligrapher, he's also a great Aikidoka, teacher, father, husband, and all around great guy! I highly recommend checking out some of Esteban's calligraphy work at his Gohitsu Shodo Studio when you have a chance. He makes some really nice videos of his calligraphy work and is very giving when it comes to showing others how to do calligraphy as well.
I met Esteban through my good friends, Bob and Jen Caron, who own and run Zenshinkan Dojo in Worcester, Massachusetts. Bob and Jen also own and operate a wonderful acupuncture and wellness business called Body Therapeutics. I received this amazing piece of calligraphy as a gift from Bob, Jen, and Zenshinkan Dojo after leading a weekend seminar at their dojo.
What makes this piece of beautiful artwork special to me is the circle of friendship that it represents. While I really love and appreciate nice artwork, and have a special affinity for nicely done calligraphy (I've collected several really nice pieces over the years), I am especially moved by the connection this artwork has to some amazing people that have become some of my best friends over the years. What makes this circle of friendship even more cherished is that they've all come through the practice of Aikido. The variety of people we meet at seminars, our travels, on the mat, and through others in Aikido is astounding and to find people who share the common language of love and friendship that Aikido encourages and embodies is a true testament to the art and to our teachers.
A most sincere thank you to my dear friends, Bob and Jen Caron, to Esteban Martinez for brushing such a beautiful piece of calligraphy, and to Zenshinknan Dojo for the wonderful friendship we share. As the calligraphy states...Revere heaven (but) LOVE PEOPLE!!!