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moon in the water Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-26-2010 10:46 PM
the water does not try
to reflect the moon
and the moon has no desire
to be reflected
but when the clouds clear
there is the moon in the water
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 155
Comments: 1,111
Views: 1,524,026


In Spiritual Aikido and Magic Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #9 New 07-02-2010 10:18 AM
Aikido and Magic If you don't believe in magic you might want to stop reading this now.

I'm not talking about the Magic of an Aikido Throw. The magic I saw when I saw my teacher Asoh Sensei in his seventies effortlessly tossing a big ex-marine around like a slice of bread.

That wasn't magic. That was kokyu ryoku.

And I'm not talking about the Magic of the Disappearing Aikidoka. I went to a summer camp in La Colle-sur-Loup in the south of France in the eighties with Yamada Sensei and Tamura Sensei. One of my roommates training beside me whispered to me, "Hey, my partner keeps disappearing!" So I watched and sure enough at the moment of the strike my friend blinked and his partner used that instant to disappear behind him. Maybe that was what ninja used to give the impression of invisibility.

That wasn't magic. That was timing and misdirection.

And I'm not talking about the Magic of the Healed Wrist. Once I had injured my wrist and training was extremely painful. On Wednesday evenings I was the uke for Arikawa Sensei for two classes at the Aikikai hombu dojo. Arikawa Sensei was the best teacher at the hombu dojo and I was his uke for many years. He was a feared teacher and his waza were unforgiving. So that week I taped my wrist visibly and hoped he would take the hint. No chance. That night he did mostly kote gaeshi and shiho nage. And mostly on the injured wrist. I wasn't really surprised that he attacked the wrist. When I started taking the ukemi for him in 1990 my hair was longer and once he suddenly stood on it in the middle of an immobilization. Uh oh. Weak point (suki). Of course I got my hair cut immediately. So this time by attacking my wrist I thought he was just telling me not to show my weak point. Somehow I got through it and when I spoke to him later before I went home he smiled enigmatically and didn't mention the wrist. But then the next day when I woke up the pain in my wrist had completely disappeared. Wow! Arikawa Sensei had been treating me by throwing me using that wrist.

That wasn't magic (at least I don't think so!). That was katsu (or kappo). Healing techniques. The sword that gives life instead of the sword that takes life.

But I am talking about the Magic of the Mysterious Scratches. It's a true story about when Arikawa Sensei died. He was a great budoka and a great teacher but he had one bad habit - he would let his nails grow a little long. So often he would leave cuts or scratches on the back of my neck. For example if he was doing irimi nage his non-throwing hand would control my neck - and maybe if there was sweat on my neck or if the technique was very fast he would leave marks like a lion or a tiger. I hadn't trained with him for many weeks while he was sick in hospital before his death. Then when I woke up the day after he died I had scratches on my neck again. So I felt he came to say goodbye.

That was magic.

And hey, I warned you.

photo: A Glorious Dawn used by kind permission of tjblackwell ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/tjblackwell/4593320873/) under creative commons licence

niall matthews 2010
Views: 6638 | Comments: 16 (2 Private)

RSS Feed 16 Responses to "Aikido and Magic"
#16 03-15-2012 10:02 PM
niall Says:
Francis I wanted to add another comment. I was very happy to hear that you had a similar experience with Arikawa Sensei. I'm sure it must have happened often with him. But not everyone had the insight to realize that something mysterious had happened. Thanks, Niall
#15 02-25-2012 07:28 AM
niall Says:
Hi Diana. It's always nice to hear your memories!
#14 02-25-2012 07:24 AM
niall Says:
Francis thank you for your sincere and encouraging comments always.
#13 02-24-2012 06:55 PM
Diana Frese Says:
I gave my best charge and wasn't worried but he was, noticing the very thin green ribbon. I was embarrassed as he hesitated just long enough to ask "daijobu?" I said yes so he threw me just like the ocean again. I hope noone noticed the slight interruption in the technique...
#12 02-24-2012 06:49 PM
Diana Frese Says:
Here I am again, not sure if my first comment was 1971 or 1973. But anyway, here's something on magic. A friend gave me a magic ribbon to make three wishes and tie around a wrist until it fell off. So I still had it when Arikawa Sensei visited New England Aikikai and I went there to take his class again and he called me up for uke!
#11 02-24-2012 06:29 PM
Diana Frese Says:
When I went back in 1973 and stayed about a year and a half I liked his 3 p.m. Wednesday class. There were other ladies and they enjoyed it too. The movement was strong, but we landed okay, it was like an ocean wave that deposits us safely on the shore....
#10 02-24-2012 06:24 PM
Diana Frese Says:
Definitely there has been controversy, I noted in back threads. In our first Japan Tour in 1971 one of our group got a back injury, and someone was going to mention to Arikawa Sensei that even though the Americans look big and strong, their backs can go out...... Someone told me Yamada Sensei was beckoning to me to escape class because he was worried. You see, my ukemi has never been very good. I wasn't injured and enjoyed the class.
#9 02-24-2012 01:15 AM
aikishihan Says:
Greetings Niall, I first met Arikawa Sensei in 1973. In 1974, I returned to Hombu, and inexplicably injured my elbow in Kisshomaru Doshu's class. I then attended a special class with Arikawa Sensei, with great trepidation, but found him to be attentive and considerate. The mistake I made was to ask him to apply katame waza "mo ichido kudasai". The shriek was heard for blocks. The next day, my elbow was healed. Go figure.Thanks for telling the truth about this great man.
#7 11-19-2010 02:52 AM
niall Says:
Thank you, Carina. It made a big impression on me.
#5 11-18-2010 12:05 PM
guest1234567 Says:
I like this story very much, thanks Niall.About the healed wrist it is like the idea of homeopathy or better accupuncture points, Arikawa Sensei was very wise. And about the mysterious scratches I believe you Niall, it shows how you were missing your sensei and your connection with him.
#4 07-05-2010 09:08 AM
niall Says:
Thanks Chris - you're welcome. Hope to see you at my seminar on 21 August.
#3 07-05-2010 05:19 AM
chris wright Says:
Another great story, thanks for sharing.
#2 07-04-2010 09:12 AM
niall Says:
Thanks for that Ziv.
#1 07-02-2010 11:57 AM
zivk Says:
Hi Niall, Thanks for posting this. No matter what logical explanation can be suggested, in this case, I agree that magic is preferable.

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