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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 10:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 270 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 846,217

In General Some Sharp and Cutting Commentary Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #133 New 06-07-2004 09:58 PM
...on The Art of Drawing the Sword in Very Specific Ways

[Quote of the Day: "If I thought you were brutalizing me, I'd kick your ass. I don't know how I'd do it, but trust me, I'd find a way." - My response to Sensei's query to me if I ever felt brutalized or abused in class.]

Having sampled a little bit of Iaido visually when I visited Toronto last December [see past entry from 01-01-2004, "Training in Toronto: Toronto Aikikai (Day 2 of 2 - 12.30.03)"] it was an even more exciting experience to be able to sample it physically tonight courtesy of our visiting Yudansha --- albeit using bokken instead of real swords (heck, we're dangerous enough with wooden ones as it is!) Once again, Sensei came through with yet another great way to expand the breadth of our experience [see past entry from 04-24-2004 , "Aikikai/Iwama Gasshuku - Day One of Two" ).

Iaido is, to be quite glib about it, an anal-retentive person's worst nightmare. Or so we were to find out. It is so painstakingly ritualistic in its ways (not that this comes as much of a surprise --- you have to be when you're using live blades) that having to initially attempt to remember every minute little detail is enough to make one's head spin (poor Sempai Garry). Don't get me wrong, it's a perfectionist's dream --- and like the annoying over-achiever that I am, I enjoyed every excruciating minute of it.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for me personally was in trying to get used to the lack of balance that some of the stances (both kneeling and upright) caused, more than likely due to their lack of physical familiarity to me...we are told that in theory, these movements are all in fact quite pragmatic. I for one, found some of the foot positioning somewhat uncomfortable and unnatural-feeling in how narrow they were at times.

The art seems also for the most part, in this modern (and horribly, tediously safe) society, a rather solitary practice. I'm guessing that at one point in its development, its originators dabbled a bit with practicing on a partner but found that much to their chagrin, they would for some reason have to replace their training partner more often the better and better they got at cutting them.

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