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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: 844,668

In General Vive la difference? Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #204 New 04-12-2006 11:56 AM
Another seminar has come and gone. We had a relatively small group from the dojo make the excursion to Saskatoon this time around (just five this time as opposed to twice this last November) but I suppose this is more like it used to be. (Speaking of how things used to be, dojo attendance has been waning lately --- but I digress.)

I spent a fair amount of the drive reading to Sensei from "The Wing Chun Compendium" that I mentioned in my last entry. In discussing the fundamental principles of the art, we remarked on not only the many similarities between it and Aikido but on the very marked differences as well. This comes as no surprise after having dabbled in Wing Chun for a bit not that long ago and only served to highlight what I had noticed then: Wing Chun, having behind it the drive to dispatch one's opponent as quickly as possible, despite its emphasis on Sticky Hands training, relies upon the principle that the most efficient way of doing so is through linear striking. The book was eerily unabashed in its notes on both how "inefficient" circular movement is for smaller people (hmm) and how many of the pressure points it utilizes can result in death.

Conversely, as we all know, Aikido with its circular movement relies upon this blending and leading to be effective. Both arts tout themselves as being ideal for smaller, weaker people. But what a difference the philosophy makes! Sensei remarked that in all likelihood, Wing Chun is what Aikido would be without its philosophy of harmony. An interesting thought. The more we spoke of it, the more we discussed what attracted us to Aikido in the first place.

When originally trying to decide upon a martial art, the practicality (for myself as a smaller person) of both Wing Chun and Aikido was appealing, but it was ultimately the underlying principles of Aikido that drew me to it more. Later on, my Wing Chun instructor telling us to visualize aggressive violence in the form of "unleashing our inner dark side" confirmed to me once again in a very tangible way that I had ultimately made the right choice. As we've been learning so very distinctly in Randori practice lately, the state of one's mind --- whether aggressive or not --- carries a great deal of significance in how it influences your movement and how you deal with your attackers.

But about the seminar...due to the long drive, our group was only able to practice the Saturday (how fortunate for those from the Saskatoon dojo who were able to reap the benefits of Kawahara Sensei's instruction for the whole weekend --- and with so much room on the mats, as it seems that all the other out-of-towners likewise had to leave early!); it makes me wish we had the resources to host our own seminar here in Winnipeg. Despite the crowded mats as always, however, it was quite valuable --- though that is no surprise. Kawahara Sensei apparently seems to prefer to cover many of the same techniques at his seminars rather consistently: Shihonage, Nikkyo, Kotegaeshi, etc. and always does so with a very martial attitude that is delightful to see in someone of his age. It is a shame that this time around, we had no interpreter as in seminars past. Oftentimes, it can be difficult to understand what he is saying. Among a great many things, we learned an interesting tidbit from Kawahara Sensei about Shihonage regarding projecting uke's arm out ahead of your centre so that it is straight prior to the turn...naturally, loving Shihonage like I do, I couldn't help but fixate on this one.

At any rate, despite the fact that no one from our dojo tested at this seminar, it was nonetheless exciting (at least to me) to try one's mettle with other, less-familiar Aikidoka and be able to see a Shihan of Kawahara Sensei's calibre in action. I had the opportunity of being able to practice with half of the Yudansha there (three out of six ain't bad) and feel the differences between their Aikido. Which reminds me: one thing that you inevitably get to see is the discrepancy between yourself or others from your dojo and those similarly-ranked from other dojos. And that's about all I have to say about that. At least on record. And still remain somewhat diplomatic. ;-)
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