View Full Version : Training Meeting in Himeji

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Peter Goldsbury
04-08-2006, 05:58 AM
It is always good to meet new people and be exposed to other ways of doing aikido techniques and such an opportunity presented itself earlier today in Himeji, at the Shodokan dojo run by Peter Rehse.

Michael Stuempel came down from his Yoshinkan dojo in Roppongi and the Aikikai was represented by Bryan Bateman, Kim (Ted?) Taylor and myself, while Nariyama Shihan kindly sent Mr Sakai and more junior colleagues from the Shodokan Hombu in Osaka, to support Peter and his own students. In the impressions that follow, I am not sure that I have everything in the right order (I am still somehat jet-lagged from returning on Thursday from a training seminar in Holland, but this is a new thread, so others will correct me if necessary).

We all assembled at 9 am and Peter started off the 3-hour practice by delivering some kyuu grade diplomas to his own students. To do this with visitors was a nice touch. He followed this with a warming up and stretching session, which he said was shortened and paired down to essentials. This was followed by some basic Shodokan sabaki and kata forms.

The first teaching slot was occupied by Mike Stuempel, who carefully led us through the Yoshinkan way of doing shihonage, in the omote and ura forms. He placed great emphasis on correct footwork, low posture, the proper transfer of body weight during the execution of the technique, and correct finish (so that uke cannot roll out of the technique). The ura form was interesting for me, for the way tori cut uke down diagonally over the leg.

After Mike, I showed some waza from a kata-dori shoulder grab. These were basically a very direct nikyou omote, followed by a direct ura form, and then a version of kaiten-nage from the same grip. I think some of the Shodokan Hombu visitors liked this waza. The final waza was a kata-dori with shoumen uchi, where tori blends with the attacking arm and continues with the movement, leading uke round and back, rather like shiho-nage (except that uke still has the original kata-dori grip). I do not know the name of this waza.

Mr Sakai rounded off the teaching part of the session with some dazzling developments of the sabaki and kata froms shown at the beginning of the training session. Sakai Sensei's movements were almost unbelievably sharp and precise and were very hard to imitate, especially for me who has grown up in the Aikikai system. The sabaki and kata were actually the nuts and bolts of randori, for which Shodokan is well known. This was also a very enlightening experience for me, coming from a tradition that eschews any form of competition. I have read some of Kenji Tomiki Sensei's writings, especially Budo-Ron (unfortunately not yet translated into English) and in Mr Sakai's demonstration of randori with his students, it was possible to see quite clearly how Shodokan randori is, and is not, competitive.

Today's practice was the last one for Josh, one of Peter's students. First, we all lined up to throw him and then he did a couple of randori sessions with the Shodokan Hombu visitors including Sakai Sensei.

We then retired to the 'tabe-houdai' restaurant at the sports centre and discussed the training and also such important issues as the state of aikido web forums, including Aikiweb. After lunch members went their various ways, but Peter took Mike and me to Himeji Castle for a brief moving/standing/wandering o-hanami, under the cherry blossoms.

This was my second visit to Himeji and so it was my second chance to practise with Peter Rehse (more, if we include the time he came to Hiroshima and the occasional techniques we practised in Miyajima on the way up Mt. Misen). I was especially pleased to meet Mike Stuempel and Kim Taylor (and connect faces with Internet names) and to practise with Bryan Bateman, whom I had met before at the annual All-Japan Demonstration (Aikikai) in May. I was very pleased to meet Mr Sakai and to practise under his patient direction.

There is already talk of another session, to get to grips more closely with the sabaki & kata.

And finally thanks to Peter R. and students, for making today's session possible.


04-08-2006, 06:32 AM
I thoroughly enjoyed it. I confess I was more at home with the techniques of Peter G and Mike Steumpel, both of which are very similar to the Aikido I have been studying and therefore more familiar. The Shodokan drills were a challenge to say the least :), confusing for someone unused to them, but by the end of the morning, easier to understand the why`s. Ultimately, there were many obvious cross overs between what we all do.

I agree with Peter G, Sakai sensei`s demonstration was quite wonderful to watch, equally Peter and Mike`s classes also provided some interesting perspectives, specifically a little kubinage from Peter that is now tucked away for an opportune moment back in blighty.

it was possible to see quite clearly how Shodokan randori is, and is not, competitive.

I agree with Peter here too, I`ll maybe comment more when I eventually bring my blog up to date.

Thanks to everyone for a very fun day, I look forward to the next time.


04-08-2006, 09:07 AM
IMHO, this type of gathering is one of the strong points to Aikido training. People of differing backgrounds coming together in earnest to help each other to a greater understanding and appreciation, in the spirit of aiki. There needs to be more of this type of open training. Good show!

04-09-2006, 07:12 AM
im so jealous.
one day im going to go there and train with mr and mrs yabe sensei (iai) so when i go now i know theres aiki as well. yey

glad you had a good time.
thogh due to work constaints (of late) i can't get to many seminars in either art. but i enjoy them thoroughly. its always good to get different teachers perspectives and advice on things, as well as supporting the art and its organisation.

Peter Goldsbury
04-09-2006, 05:57 PM
I made a mistake with a name. It was Jesse (Paisley) who had his last practice, not Josh. Too much Bible-reading, maybe.

04-09-2006, 07:21 PM
Hi Peter;

You also tossed in a Kim Taylor at one point (second post) - it was Ted Taylor.

It really was a solid day. Those drills and movements at the beginning of class can be confusing but I wanted my people to have something of a regular class with the Shodokan visitors and give some sort of feel for how the training method works.

I really liked seeing how the Yoshinkan movement works from stance to execution and to feel that from expert hands. Shihonage is shihonage but well I have something to think about.

The kube nage of Peter G. was seriously cool. I had one of the Shodokan Honbu visitors for that and we had a great time tossing each other.

What can I say about Sakai sensei. He recently tested for Godan and has been full time deshi to Nariyama Shihan (Shodokan Honbu) for 4 years. He has to be good. He is also just a great guy to learn from and train with. He has a certain joy in his practice.

Michael and I joined Jesse at his going away party. A few of our other members were there also and I got a bit carried away. Michael got his train the next morning but I .... well lets just say there was no Aikido practice as I intended.

I did feel that 40 minutes was too short for Peter G. and Michael S.'s portions. Note to self if either come back and I would have loved to give Bryan and teaching portion also. Still it was a stellar day.

04-10-2006, 02:15 AM
Ultimately, there were many obvious cross overs between what we all do.

I should have also said, not unexpectedly :)


Ron Tisdale
04-10-2006, 07:31 AM
Hey guys, wish I could have been there! Having taken one Peter G.'s classes, I have just a taste, and am dieing for more.


04-10-2006, 05:27 PM
It was a great experience all around. And I was close to mistaking my name myself after all the kubi nage!


04-10-2006, 05:54 PM
Sounds like a great day, I'm with Ron - wish I could have been there.


04-10-2006, 07:02 PM
it is very sad, I'm coming to Japan too late :(

04-10-2006, 10:23 PM
Hi All,

Just to add my few bits...yes, I was there :-)

It was a wonderful experience for me. In addition to enjoying Peter Rehse's hospitality, discussions and his making sure that I was involved in the Himeji drinking/social life while I was there he managed to put together a truly wonderful training session.

It was very interesting to see the different teaching and training styles that were present that day. I believe that ultimately (and our session on Saturday supports this) one must look for what is the same among the different styles as opposed to concentrating on the differences.

We all went there with the attitude that we would see something new and get from it what we could in such a short time. Luckily there was no "I'm going to convert you to the dark/other/my style (side)" going on and everyone tried there best to follow the "new" explanations. I confess to be thoroughly confused at different times, but that was part of the fun.

Thanks to Peter Rhese for making sure this happened, Peter Goldsbury for his guidance and teaching and the same to Sakai Sensei and his group of the Shodokan Hombu. I'd also like to say it was good to meet up with Bryan Bateman again and train a little and a very great pleasure to meet all of the students of the Himeji Shodokan dojo.

I'm looking forward to next time!!!! :-)

...Osu! (as we occasionally are known to belt out in Yoshinkan :-)...


Peter Goldsbury
04-15-2006, 06:45 AM
I think this thread has reached its natural conclusion.

Bryan Bateman has posted his comments in his blogs and these have been unusually interesting, Bryan having covered the whole 'international-family-visitng-Japan' aspects of training in Japan.

Bryan, when will be your next visit to Japan? I think it was your visit and discussions with/persuasion of Mike S. that led to the event. If you can't come anytime soon, I hope you don't mind if Peter R, Mike and I arrange a repeat session in your absence

Peter, please convey my thanks to Nariyama Shihan for kindly sending Sakai Shi and students to participate.

I think it is very good for the future health of aikido to have Aiikikai/ Shodokan/ Yoshinkan joint training, though this is actually a very rare occurence and might actually raise a few feathers in some quarters. So be it.

How about another session in the autumn?

Best wishes to all,

04-15-2006, 07:13 AM
Hi Peter,

I don`t think I`m likely to make it back this year, unless I get another business trip. However, don`t let that stop you all from getting together again, I agree with you that this sort of event can only be a bonus. My aim is to get back again next year as I try to make it every year, however as always it depends on finances and such. Even if you arrange something in the autumn, I`d be pleased if we could set up another event next time I`m back too.

Until the next time

best wishes


04-16-2006, 01:27 AM
Yes - please. Anytime.

04-16-2006, 09:13 PM
Sounds good to me...

...and lest we forget we can also do fun stuff in Tokyo. I'm not sure I can take being dragged out to all hours of the morning in Himeji again :)

Just kidding...it was excellent and I'd go back for both reasons <wry grin>


04-16-2006, 09:23 PM
I'll be in Yokohama Thursday night - what time do you train in the morning?

04-16-2006, 10:33 PM
Ha ha...training is from 7AM to 8AM. The Friday morning class is a beginners class though. I don't usually do that class (Roland takes care of it). However, if you are coming then I can let people know and we will get a few people out (including me) :)

05-10-2006, 01:48 AM
Group photo from the meet

05-10-2006, 04:01 PM
*whispers* sooooo glad I wasnt there! ;) sounds like you all had fun!