“I loved in Terry Dobson
his enthusiasm for the noble impulse.
When he knew a radiant idea was near,
his eyes and heart opened wide
and he staunchly kept his place
until the wave arrived.
His tremendous discipline as he waited
gav e courage and life to others.
He kept his radiance
when the wave of death approached.
To me, he was a gift I hardly deserved
and a great soul
that made the world sweeter to me.
—Robert Bly,August 23, 1992
Terry Dobson (1937 - 1992)
Born in Cambridge, MA to a wealthy family and moving to New York City in 1940, his childhood was tumultuous. Raised by his alcoholic mother and stepfather, he never knew his real father. At Buckley School and Deerfield Academy, he found that football rewarded his unique combination of arrogance and violence. He trained for a summer with the New York Giants and attended NYU film school. In 1959, after being discharged from the Marines, he joined a Heifer-like program of rural development in the Japanese alps and in 1962 came to study with the founder of aikido at Hombu dojo in Tokyo. In 1972, he taught his own particularly American aikido around the US, created conflict resolution workshops and worked with Robert Bly's mytho-poetic men's movement.
In 1984, in declining health, he moved to his family summer home in North Hero Vermont where he lived with his partner, Riki Moss, until suffering a cardiac arrests after teaching a last class in San Francisco in August, 1992. He is survived by Riki and his children, Marion Dobson Deforest and Daniel Dobson.