In Tom's words:
When I was discharged on returning from Viet Nam, there were few services available to combat veterans, and going to the VA for medical treatment was seen as throwing oneself into an institutional maw, to be chewed up, swallowed and ignored. To be labeled with "combat fatigue" was seen as a shameful thing. But under my facade, apparently, I was a particular bastard - violent anger, sleeplessness, fits of deep melancholy and despair [occasionally sobbing uncontrollably for no apparent reason] - all the symptoms which might today be seen as Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress.
In 1967, I happened on Aikido, which saved me. I have been studying and practicing fairly consistently for 47 years and it has always been a major part of my life. Whether I was able to practice at a dojo or not, I found the guiding principles having a major impact on everything I did, every organization in which I was involved. The kinesthetic learning that comes with practicing Aikido has enabled me to relax and channel all of that negative, self-defeating energy into something empowering, something I can use positively.
Keganin No Senshi Aikido is based on the Aikido class Tom taught 2 to 3 times a week in 2009 at a veterans facility in the ward for vets with Post Traumatic Stress and was developed to enable vets to become more vital, constructive, integrated members of the community (see Book Information for details).
Our goal is to recruit, train and provide backup support to Aikido practitioners across the country, in collaboration with staff at veteran support and counseling programs, to adapt and conduct KNSA classes for veterans as a positive complement to the regular programs of counseling and therapy offered by these centers.
Tom described himself as an Irishman with a gray beard, not much gray hair, lovely hazel eyes, an interesting sense of humor, and a long-standing commitment to making our world a better place. He died in December 2015. Frances Welson, his personal and professional partner; Jeffrey Dowdy, Fukishidoin, sandan; and a dedicated Board of Directors are continuing the work of KNSA
Drawings by Thomas D. Osborn
Tom Osborn, co-founder and sensei, served in the US Army for 8 years, six months in heavy equipment training, a year and a half in the 101st Airborne and six plus years in Special Forces. He spent 24 months on Special Forces A teams in Viet Nam. While on Okinawa, he earned a black belt in Karate and he often served as an unarmed combat instructor. He also had a black belt in Aikido.
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We conduct seminars nationally for Aikido practitioners, veterans, and people working with veterans that will enable them to see the benefits of incorporating our modified,
no-falls form of Aikido as part of a treatment program for vets with Post Traumatic Stress.
We are available for consulting, training and on-going support in establishing Aikido components in conjunction with counseling/ treatment programs for veterans.
Please contact us if you would like more information.