By Koichi Tohei
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Extra info for Aikido: The co-ordination of mind and body for self-defence
Uncle Jim, Dad, Uncle Chuck and Uncle Kit were all good players. Eileen even played a bit too at the age of about 15. Her biggest asset was her speed. Dad was an inside-forward, as I was to become. He used to hang in the air for the crosses that came from Uncle Jim and as a result his nickname was 'Jumper'. Eileen didn't see him play much because he was nearly 50 when she was born. Nottingham Forest and another club came looking at Dad but he was too old by the time they spotted him and it was too late for him to take up football as a professional career.
Although there was a bus between the villages every half hour or so, life wasn't like it is now with people visiting each other all the time and of course no one had cars. I can't remember seeing him a lot while I was a small boy, although we would bump into him from time to time. To be honest, there were lots of times in those early years when Mum wasn't there either. She used to work as a cleaner at the National Coal Board offices at Castle Eden, a few miles away. She needed to work to support us and would come home at nine o'clock, after it had gone dark.
Eileen and Bart were willing and able to look after me while he was working down the pit. Our house was on a street among half a dozen parallel streets that ran down a hill away from Hesleden Village Church towards a stream. It was a short walk to Hesleden School. We called the wooded area down by the stream 'the dean' and the nearby hill was known locally as 'Charlie's Bank'. I spent many happy hours sliding down that hill on a piece of old cardboard and rolling eggs down at Easter. The house we lived in wasn't the biggest: a two up-two down mid-terrace with an outside toilet and coal shed.