I mourn the passing of Warner Sensei. He truly altered the course of my life. I met him in 1982 on Camp Butler. He told me to come and practice Iaido with him. I practiced Mugai Ryū under him. Later, he introduced me to other teachers. He was a tough uncompromising teacher who could also be the kindest, most charming person you could meet. I also took college courses with him at the University of Maryland on Okinawa. He was truly a special professor. His approach to teaching was dynamic.
When I would visit his house on Friday nights we would sit in his genkan. Mrs Warner would have two large glasses of either orange or grapefruit juice out and Dr. Warner would always start out asking me questions, then it was my turn to ask. If I did not prepare for our conversations he would end the visit and tell me come back the next week. I learned to be organized and thorough in my research from him.
When I got divorced he had me come over to his house and gave me detailed instructions on how to take care of my two little boys. Both Mr. and Mrs. Warner are the most earnest people Iíve met.
On their occasional visits to Tokyo during the 1990's he and the lovely Mrs. Warner (It always made me uncomfortable just calling her Mrs. as she is a Doctor also) would meet me at the Sanno Hotel, usually for brunch. I remember delighting him once by giving him a pre-war Kendo manual that I picked up, because inside were diagrams and instruction for grappling and foot sweeps.
He also let me use his name as an introduction to Yonehara Sensei, Soke of Sekiguchi Ryū. Dr. Warner was well remembered in Kumamoto.
Dr. Warner was also happy to recount his movie life with me on occasion. And I remember how sad he was at the passing of his friend, Mifune Toshiro.
Now I sit here in cold Indiana, remembering my teacher. I saw him last May and we talked like just like before, the three of us, Mrs Warner, Dr. Warner and I sitting at their dinning table. There is so much I would still like to ask him, so much yet to learn.