Little House In Ise


The 47th All Japan Aikido Demonstration

The cobbled walk, moat and fortified gates of the Nippon Budokan give the place an appropriately martial feel. The view of the moat in front of what used to be a gate into the old Edo castle is slightly obscured by cherry trees. It is too late in the year for blossoms but the large trees add a bit of much needed shade. Today, the Budokan was the site of the 47th All Japan Aikido Demonstration organized by the Aikikai.

I volunteered to work instead of demonstrating and was assigned to “patrol” the 2nd and third floor. My Team (Mayumi and Tim Buerger) patrolled the 2nd and third floors. This meant that we had a lot of opportunities to chat with visitors, watch the demo and take pictures. Aside from having to wear a tie in the heat it didn’t really feel like work. At any rate, we saw some excellent Aikido, got a “free lunch” and were able to enjoy encouraging people to remove their clothes in slightly less public places (believe me, this counts a public service!). After the event, we walked through the Budokan cleaning up and then went for drinks with visiting luminaries. Pictures follow… Please note, I have promised two rather famous sensei that I would self-censor a few incriminating images (Bank number for “donations” at the end of this post 🙂 ).

The moat protecting the budokan

The moat protecting the budokan

The Outer Gate

The Outer Gate

The Inner gate

The Inner gate

Above the entrance

Above the entrance

The main arena had five large mats for the demonstrations.

The main arena had five large mats for the demonstrations.

Kudo Shihan of Tokushima -- my first sensei in Japan.

Kudo Shihan of Tokushima -- my first sensei in Japan.

Kobayashi sensei does ikyo

Kobayashi sensei does ikyo

Inagaki sensei demonstrated buki tori waza -- energetic buki tori waza ...

Inagaki sensei demonstrated buki tori waza -- energetic buki tori waza ...

I love this iriminage!

I love this iriminage!

Yokota-sensei lead the Honbu Ippan (General) Demonstrations

Yokota-sensei lead the Honbu Ippan (General) Demonstrations

Morning class regulars

Morning class regulars

Kokoro Does Irimi nage

Kokoro Does Irimi nage

Ray does irimi nage

Ray does irimi nage

Ray finishes shihonage

Ray finishes shihonage

Tada sensei does yonkyo

Tada sensei does yonkyo

Tada sensei leading

Tada sensei leading

Doshu and Waka-sensei do kotegaeshi (before)

Doshu and Waka-sensei do kotegaeshi (before)

Doshu and Waka-sensei do kotegaeshi (after)

Doshu and Waka-sensei do kotegaeshi (after)

Doshu and Suzuki sensei

Doshu and Suzuki sensei

A few pictures in the crowd …

Morning class friends

Morning class friends

Morning class regulars

Kadi (Congrats on your 1st kyu!)

Kadi (Congrats on your 1st kyu!)

Inagaki sensei 1

Hirose-san

Sakurai Sensei

The Buergers and Fujimaki sensei

The Buergers and Fujimaki sensei

Banba-san

Afterward …

Ueda sensei and the Mieken Aikidokai came for the Enbukai!

Ueda sensei and the Mieken Aikidokai came for the Enbukai!

Kokoro and friends

Kokoro and friends

Doshu and the some of the women of morning class

Doshu and the some of the women of morning class

Kanpai!

Kanpai!

Osawa Sensei and the Saito girls

Osawa Sensei and the Saito girls

Natali and Irie sensei

Morning class dudes

Advertisements


Irimi Nage Technote
May 16, 2009, 23:26
Filed under: Aikido | Tags: , , ,

I have grown wary of old men with unusually good posture and confidence that takes more than just years to acquire. They knock you off balance with subtle shifts, they bind your arms or wrists with gentle but devastating twists and they enthusiastically remind you where the mat is. One such fellow took an hour out of his sunny Saturday to show me and another victim the joys of old school irimi nage (入り身投げ: body entering throw). He demonstrated a very reasonable evolution of this throw before it gelled into common modern variations.

The primordial version started with a hard entry to the side. Nage extended two “unbendable arms”, one blocked uke’s same side arm and the other struck uke in the kidney. The block, punch and entry were all one swift motion with power driven from the hips. The punching fist could then reach up, grab uke’s collar pulling them back and down. In time with the pull, nage would step through (again powering all motion from the hip) with the leg closest to uke and planting it at about uke’s third point. All the while hammering uke’s face with the blocking arm. All this together was intended to smash uke down on top of nage’s bent knee, possibly breaking their back but certainly inflicting severe injury — so much for fuzzy wuzzy Aikido.

The next stage of the evolution of the throw, as described by the very hard-minded gentleman, was softening the kidney punch. The entry was very similar though perhaps a bit deeper, entering all the way behind uke. If entering to uke’s left then nage’s left arm would be blocking and their right arm would, instead of punching the kidney, would slide up uke’s spine and gently shove uke forward. At which point, nage would cut down and around with the arm that was blocking (left in this case) and as uke came around nage could smash them in the face and break their back as before. Eliminating the kidney punch didn’t so much make it a softer technique, it just made it rounder. However, it paved the way for the irimi nage as it is now most often practiced, i.e. as something other than a way to maim or kill an enemy. Simply by not dropping uke across one’s knee, this becomes a very vigorous, hard irimi nage and not too far out of the normal seen in most Aikido dojo today.

This may not necessarily have been the actual historical evolution of the technique but each step has both the feel of martial validity (I needed extra ibuprofen after that one) and the progression also makes sense. At any rate, it might be worth doing a few irimi nage and noticing where a kidney punch could fit or where it can be modified into a hip throw. Have fun!



Shinjuku Cosmic Center / 新宿コスミックセンター
May 9, 2009, 22:30
Filed under: Aikido | Tags: , , , , , ,

A group of Honbu Dojo regulars rent out the #1 Dojo at the Shinjuku-Ku Cosmic center on irregular Saturdays. Usually the training focuses on items required on tests that are rarely or never covered in classes at Honbu itself. The classic example is multiple attacker randori. It is required above black belt but it is simply not taught! So, Cosmic Center is where these extras can be tacked on.

The mat opens at 9:00 though no-one shows up until around 9:30. This gives plenty of time to take both morning classes on the Honbu 3rd floor and then haul ass (10 minutes by bicycle) to the Cosmic Center for additional training. The group has the mat until noon so there is plenty of time to abuse oneself on those Saturdays when it is reserved. Since it is not reserved every Saturday, the problem of “when” is a toughie. Almost all pre-test weekends will be reserved and almost all post-test weekends will not. So, if you are interested in going but are not sure if it is open, ask around, the news is spread mostly by word-of-mouth.

The cost is 1,000 yen but if you are preparing for a test, the additional practice and attention to test related details that sempai (5th dan senpai) provide are extremely helpful. Also, they have a wealth of experience actually taking tests at Honbu so if you are concerned about etiquette or practices that might differ from your home dojo, these are the people to ask.

To everyone testing: Good luck, stay relaxed and try to keep your feet from going numb while waiting for your turn!

Happy rolling!
e.




%d bloggers like this: