I just finished reading Piotr Masztalerz Sensei’s (6. dan, Wrocław Aikikai & Birankai) excellent book The Kingdom of Dust. I posted earlier about the first 300+ pages, and the finished translation — the book was released in Polish back in 2018 — just dropped. I simply devoured the last 100 pages last evening.

It’s a book first and foremost about the relation of a teacher and a student. Masztalerz Sensei was an uchi deshi (live-in student) of quite notorious Kazuo (T.K.) Chiba Sensei in San Diego. Chiba (1940-2015) was a direct student of the founder of Aikido, O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, and was famous for his fierce temper and very severe training. This book is partly a window to that very complex man and teacher.

The book expands from that almost post traumatic reflection to offer thoughts on Western way of life, finding something meaningful to do it middle of the endless stream of routines and choices in our everyday experience. As a trained historian (this obviously resonates with me) Masztalerz contextualizes his own inner struggles in a way that is both brutally honest and refreshingly critical.