Little House In Ise

Mieken Aikidokai 20th Anniversary Practice
October 22, 2008, 10:42
Filed under: Expat, Family, Japan | Tags: , , , , , , ,

The occupants of the little house returned to Ise this past weekend. We all had similar goals for the trip. The kids met old friends at the central park near the old little house. Megumi met her teacher buddies, PTA buddies, other buddies and played with our rental Prius (we have developed a serious case of Prious Envy). In my case, I came for a special training session held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Mieken Aikidokai.

Osawa Shihan came from Honbu to teach. The class itself was well outside the normal experience of most of the attendees as most of them had only trained under Ueda Shihan during their Aikido career. Many were surprised at how different individual teachers can be! I had trained under Osawa Sensei two or three times previously so I knew that his Aikido had gone in a slightly different direction to that of Ueda sensei’s so the main surprise for me was how much detail he put into teaching.

From the start he addressed the group and said that from his perspective the origin of Aikido “styles” was primarily due to the personal beliefs and assumptions of individual teachers about how martial conflicts are initiated. Assumptions about how attacks of various kinds work governs how techniques unfold. So, a grab using the same hands approached from a slightly different angle would then require a slightly different response. From that subtle beginning arise the bulk of differences between one teacher and another and thus their respective “styles”. Osawa Sensei then went on to point out that what he was saying did not mean that he believes his Aikido alone to be correct and everyone else’s was wrong. It just meant that he felt certain attacks should be done in certain ways and that other people believed differently.

So, he instructed on what felt was the correct method for standing in hanmi (半身 : “half body”). He gave step-by-step almost clinical descriptions of how he felt shomenuchi (正面打ち: strike to the face — a “chop”) should be performed and why. In this case, his belief was that the hand position should end such that if the strike missed its target the attacker could still naturally grab their intended victim without significant change in posture or angle of the wrist. Sensei went into similar detail on techniques as well breaking them down into quanta of movement that could easily be compared and repeated both alone or with a partner.

The class was fun but the best part was seeing many of my old teachers and dojo buddies. It has only been nine months but there have been changes. New black belts here and there, new faces, new strength in formerly beginning level students. It was good. That evening I snuck away from the family for a short time and enjoyed some excellent sashimi, a few beers and the company of a raucous group of Aikidoka.

It was very nice to go back to the little house in Ise even if only for two days.


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