By Kazuhiro Ohashi
Ohashi always gets many requests for his time. Whether it’s to teach or for treatments, tutorials, speeches, or simply to ask him about his life and philosophy — Ohashi is always receiving requests. Two requests that I’d like to write about here came a couple of years ago and recently have produced positive results.
One of the many requests Ohashi receives is to write Forewords for books. Ohashi is well aware of the effort that goes into being published. Starting at a young age, his first book Do-it-Yourself Shiatsu was published in 1975, preceded by at least two years of writing. Soon after that came Healthy Pregnancy and Touch for Love (with editing and translating Zen Shiatsu in between). He admires those who go through the process of writing their own book.
Usually, requests for writing Prefaces, Forewords and Afterwords are from his former students or those that have worked with him professionally. One such request came from our long-time friend Tara Thompson Lewis. Tara, who has been a fellow student, is an amazing therapist. She specializes in vocal massage, a very specific technique that requires not only her professional touch, but also the absolute trust of her clients.
Tara’s personal story intertwines closely with the Ohashi family’s. In fact, her parents were students of Ohashi’s back in the early 1980s, when Ohashi and Bonnie were first starting out in New York City. As the story goes… well maybe, I should let you discover the story yourself. If you want to know the connection between our two families, pick up a copy of Tara’s book and read Ohashi’s Foreword.
Two years ago, Tara, emailed Ohashi asking for him to write the Foreword to her book. This book, is a continuation and expansion of the research and work that her late mother had started years ago. Tara meticulously organized her mother’s notes, typed up the manuscript and found a publisher. She was completing her mother’s work.
Of course Ohashi was happy to oblige her request. He had known Tara’s mother; she had been in his classes.
Around the same time, we also received a request for a personal meeting from a gentleman named Norio Tomita. Tomita, originally from Japan, now lives in Montreal, Canada. He has a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Keio University. Tomita has developed 3D imaging technology and has collaborated with several doctors. Now, Tomita is developing his own technique based on Seitai, Japanese hand techniques and massage therapy. He called us at home in Kinderhook and asked to come and spend the day with Ohashi. He would be coming from New York and would return the same day. Ohashi had never met Tomita before, but he was happy to invite him to our house.
Tomita visited and spent the afternoon with Ohashi. He was able to ask Ohashi for his personal advice — professional and life experience. It was a productive and friendly meeting; Tomita showed great respect and appreciation. He understood that Ohashi was giving him valuable advice from his own experience. At the time, Tomita was in the process of writing his own book.
This past December 2017, at Ohashi’s annual Practical course at the Integral Yoga Institute, we were delighted to see both Tara and Tomita again. Tara, who lives in NYC, came to assist in Ohashi’s course. And Tomita-san traveled from Montreal to take Ohashi’s four-day Ohashi Method practical course.
And since their initial requests, both have published their books! We, the Ohashi family, would like to congratulate these dedicated, smart and bright individuals on their success.
Tara’s book, “The Thompson Method of Bodywork” expands on her mother’s writings to explore topics such as structural alignment, core strength and emotional release. Tomita’s book, “Tomita Method : Japanese Osteopaphy” is a clearly illustrated manual. It draws from his medical understanding of the human body and applies his knowledge of myofascial connections to mitigate pain and tension.
Ohashi admires both of these published authors. They have a deep understanding of the subject matter, which is only enhanced by the act of writing about it. Perhaps most importantly, he’d like to call special attention to the titles. Both put their names in the title of their own methods. They ‘branded’ and attached their names to the method or modality that they are writing about.
This is what Ohashi has been advocating for 45 years. The registered brand names “Ohashiatsu” and “OHASHI Method” are not some marketing gimmick; it’s a way to take full responsibility for what we are advocating, what Ohashi has been teaching, what we believe in. There are overlaps between modalities and methods, but within the overlaps there is space to develop your own ideas, your own methods from multiple sources. Study everything and make your own conclusions. Most importantly, use your name while explaining and using your method. Without this direct responsibility, without putting your own stamp on what you practice, you will not achieve full success in the the long run. Trends are exactly that, trends. Eventually they will fall out of favor for something else. Trends use generic names. That means anyone, a good or a bad practitioner, can use that name. Anyone can define it and manipulate it. But only you can use your own chosen trade name. Only you can control the core and philosophy that forms your own method. It is solely yours and yours to protect and define.
Ohashi was very happy to see both Tara and Tomita understand this. They understand the long term benefits of attaching their own name to their methods, to make it stand out as their own. What’s in a name? Everything.