Based on the life of unconventional aikido master Terry Dobson, this novel by his partner Riki Moss is the story of two souls meeting at a mutually calamitous turning point in their lives. Fatherless and pushed by his tyrannical mother to the edge of violence, Dobson turns to aikido to save his life. Twenty-five years later, he returns to the wreckage of his ancestral summer home on Lake Champlain feeling too tainted to train, too blocked to write, and too dispirited to deal with his declining health. He seriously considers disappearing into the icy waters, but instead drives through an ice storm and hits a cow in a cornfield where an artist is chasing her dog . . .
Told through two interwoven timelines—one following his life through Park Avenue and the Bowery, Vermont, Japan, and California; the other tracking his relationship with the artist—this profoundly entertaining novel features a memorable assortment of seekers and gurus (real and fictional), spiritual dogs, performance artists, psychic plumbers, New Age healers, suicidal parents, old lovers; Ronald Reagan, Robert Bly, Leonard Cohen, Ram Dass; and the land itself, as compelling as any character.
Riki Moss is an accomplished artist who studied at the University of Chicago and the San Francisco Art Institute; never a formal student of aikido, she nevertheless learned the heart of the discipline through her seven-year relationship with the legendary Terry Dobson.
Dobson (1937-1992) was a pioneering American aikido teacher and writer and one of the few Western practitioners who studied directly under the founder of aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). This memoir draws upon Dobson's extensive body of tape recordings and unpublished writings. He is the author of Aikido in Everyday Life and It's a Lot Like Dancing.