View Full Version : Interview with Aikido Shihan Nobuyuki Watanabe, Part 2

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Chris Li
10-27-2013, 07:21 PM
"So if you think “what is Aikido?”, in the end it must be to know yourself, to live your life."

From "Interview with Aikido Shihan Nobuyuki Watanabe, Part 2 (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-nobuyuki-watanabe-part-2/)"



11-02-2013, 04:48 PM
Thanks again, good to see these translations being published. There are 2 interesting things here that I specifically think are worth discussing:

1. The breath-training thing. Watanabe describes O-sensei's description, an account that is worthwhile in and of itself. Then, he also describes his own (quite literal) interpretation of that description. The differences between them are interesting too. I'm specifically thinking of the "out and in at the same time" idea, and the description of the hands.
There was a picture of O-sensei that I thought was posted on aikiweb, and I thought it was posted by Ellis Amdur with a pretty in-depth discussion of what his hands indicated (one was flared open and one was closed, despite the fact that this was a posed photo in seiza, where normally they would both be the same). I just can't find that photo or discussion at all, for some reason. Anyway I thought of that photo and its meaning when I read this. These photos are all I could find, and they are similar. (The first one may in fact be the photo I was thinking of, but it is NOT the article I was thinking of.)
The above http://malik-san.ru/wp-content/gallery/aikido-v-ufe-v/uesiba.jpg is from this website. (http://malik-san.ru/en/iskusstvo-ajkido-obladayushhij-lish-gruboj-siloj-ne-dostoin-zvaniya-samuraya/)

The above http://www.hafos.no/html_dokumenter/linjer/aikido/aikidobilder/moriheiportret2.jpg is from this website. (http://www.hafos.no/html_dokumenter/linjer/aikido/under_artofpeace.html)

(BTW, both these photos show left open and right closed, which is exactly consistent with what is said in this interview, from my point of view: inhale = sucking in = "closing" motion, exhale = spewing out = "opening" motion.)

2. The "iron ball" / "golden ball" thing. Personally, I don't think it is contentious to say that as long as you retain the ability to move freely, feeling "heavy" is a good thing, martially. It means, an attacker has a hard time affecting you. So that should be considered a good thing, if your only consideration were to become a good martial artist. So this story may be an example of O-sensei saying that it is important to consider not just what is good for you, but what kind of training is good for your partners ("You're just practicing for yourself," meaning, you are correctly making yourself better, but that doesn't help others.)

I think it is interesting to suggest that although something may be a positive thing for you, the "right" thing to do may be to consciously tone it down. (Here, the reason is for the sake of others' training.) Such a suggestion may be easy to misinterpret as "doing that is wrong, so don't do it," rather than the correct, "doing that is great, and it is correct for improving your skill and strength, but there are other considerations, so tone it down."

11-02-2013, 07:23 PM
his right hand used to hold a fan, methink. i wouldn't read to much into it. soon we would start to think his fingers were showing the vulcan salute. :)

i thought the iron ball/golden ball thingy involve tying something heavy to your crotch. i don't think that would be in-line with "keep the one point".

jamie yugawa
11-02-2013, 11:28 PM
When I practiced at Nippon Kan, Homma Sensei pointed out his closed hand and open hand in the portrait. I dont remember specifically what he said but, he stated the importance of his hands in the picture. Homma Sensei descriptively called the closed hand an "pine cone". He said the closed hand was used in kaeshi waza to reverse techniques.

11-03-2013, 05:31 PM
Homma Sensei descriptively called the closed hand an "pine cone". He said the closed hand was used in kaeshi waza to reverse techniques.
Very interesting, thanks!

Then I wonder if he would have called the open hand "the plum blossom" (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21514) and suggested it is used to produce irimi, or something like that...

Chris Li
11-09-2013, 11:23 AM
Now available in Romanian, (http://www.aikido-jurnal.ro/index.php?pagina=art_119) courtesy of Aikido Jurnal. The original English version appears here (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-nobuyuki-watanabe-part-2/).



Chris Li
02-12-2014, 01:59 PM
Now available in Spanish (http://aikidoenlinea.com/blog/entrevista-a-watanabe-sensei-ii/), courtesy of Aikido en línea - the original English version is available here (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-nobuyuki-watanabe-part-2/).