In tribute to a great man Master Choji Sato
This picture was given to me by Master Sato in one of his letters to me from Japan. He explained how much he liked this cut and the circumstances regarding the picture.
This picture is of our school’s first Iaido/Batto group that went to California and was taken in front of Master Fumio Demura’s old martial arts school. The picture was taken by Headmaster Crandall.
The Iaido/Batto students have lost a great Teacher and Friend in the unexpected passing of Master Choji Sato. This man’s skill with the sword, and an equal skill to teach it, has left an empty place in our hearts that is only softened by the wonderful memories and experiences we had with him. It is hard to accept that we will not be seeing him again or have his skilled hands polish our swords but we will make sure that his name and what he taught us will live on through our efforts and through those we teach.
The path of traditional martial arts is lined with exciting opportunities and amazing people. This path that we have been on allowed us to meet and spend time with Master Choji Sato. There is so much I could say about my friend, so many stories I could tell and how much I learned from him. We were at Disneyland when Master Sato explained to me that he and I were attached from the center of our body to each other by an invisible cord, meaning we were brothers. Our correspondence over the years has helped me feel close even though I did not get to see him often. I know that all of my students who met him were forever impacted by his smile, friendliness, and enthusiasm. I know Kyoshi Nathan Morris feels a special loss for Master Sato, who shared many hours with Kyoshi Morris regarding his technique and knowledge of Batto.
A true Martial Artist, a respected teacher, a caring person, and a lasting legacy….. There is so much to honor and remember. Our lives were changed by his presence as they are by his absence.
- Clifford C. Crandall Jr.
Master Sato with his wife and Grandmaster Crandall with his wife at Disneyland.