Little House In Ise

本部道場 — Honbu Dojo
October 28, 2007, 15:30
Filed under: Aikido, Expat, Japan | Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Ueda sensei took me out to lunch today. We had Unagi (eel) and talked Aikido. Sensei is the most personable shihan that I have ever met but I was still a little nervous when he invited me. It turns out that he just wanted to hang out and talk Aikido and reminisce about his own teacher Sadateru Arikawa shihan. Since I may be moving to Tokyo in the near future, sensei gave me a lot of advice about Aikido at Honbu and schools in the area. This including what turned out to be his thoughts about “right and wrong” technique (as in my last post).

According to sensei, there are many interpretations of a single technique. At Honbu you may see three sensei present six variations of the same technique and in each case the form shown by the sensei on the mat is the “right” way. Anything that you do differently is habit. Any habit that causes you to perform a technique differently to that of the demonstrating sensei makes your technique “wrong”. However, as Aikidoka become more practiced, their habits may begin to be considered aji (flavor), at which point they are no longer wrong. However, until a school full of students is calling you sensei, calling your own bad habits “flavor” isn’t going to get you very far. 🙂

Ueda Shihan’s advice on training at Honbu:
1) There are politics at Honbu so NEVER ask a sensei to clarify a technique demonstrated by another sensei.
2) For Aikidoka living in Tokyo, it is cheaper to join a Tokyo shibu dojo and pay visitors fees at Honbu than pay monthly, yearly and entrance fees in both schools unless you train at Honbu a lot.
3) If you are going to drop in at Honbu and want to train with a specific sensei, check their schedule. Big name sensei do quite a bit of touring and may not be teaching when you arrive.
4) If possible, get an introduction from your own sensei. This doesn’t necessarily get you anything but it may benefit your home dojo and sensei. On a certain level, you are representing them when you are training at headquarters.


1 Comment so far
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Eric, I enjoyed this piece very much. It
is clear that you know a lot about Aikido,
how to access it and various protocols. K
keep up the good work!

Comment by Bette Chavez-Holcomb

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