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That news story was, I suspect, prompted by a reporter seeing this photo, which comes up if you do a Google image search on "Andy Carter aikido":
You can read about the story of this shiner in the article, but unfortunately the reporter failed to capture the experience of hearing Carter-sensei tell it live, complete with descriptions of trainees slipping and sliding in their own blood and knocking into each other.
As I didn't read much of Aiki Web until a couple weeks ago, I had never heard of Carter-sensei before coming to Kyoto. However, his reputation still preceded him. The first couple times I made visits to classes here, Carter-sensei was absent, so I was just told about him by last year's kenshusei class.
"You'll meet Andy-sensei soon. He teaches our fitness classes, but he does all the work right along with us."
"He did the course at hombu two years in a row."
"He's a little crazy."
So that makes two Tokyo senshusei courses and one Kyoto kenshusei course, and if I understand correctly, he intends to do the kenshusei course right along with us again this year. I wouldn't describe him as crazy, though.
To be honest, I don't really know how the dojo hierarchy wor
Ah, the point of blogging about Mr. Ninja, which I forgot to write about last night (see previous post on blogging after gin), was that I think I felt aikido for maybe the first time last night.
A disclaimer: I'm not sure I know what it means to feel aikido, and maybe that's a totally mistaken concept anyhow. But I did feel something last night that I haven't felt before in the two months I've been training.
That is, Carter-sensei was able to change Mr. Ninja's nikajo (nikyo) technique from one that worked in a very sloppy and partial way through pain at the wrist to one that worked very effectively to drop me to my knees but with less pain at the wrist.
Carter-sensei frequently talks about making a connection from the joints of the hand to the knee joint, where the actual unbalancing occurs. Wrist-elbow-shoulder-hip-knee-boom-floor! Last night, I was able to feel this connection clearly. Interestingly, Mr. Ninja felt it, too. I could see it in his eyes when I stood up after the technique, and he said he felt like he had a lot more control that time. Yes, I can tell you he did, but, as I said, there was actually much less pain at the wrist.
Unfortunately, Mr. Ninja was only able to make this connection on one repetition out of maybe 20-25. The rest just involved wrist pain. Not so interesting.
For anyone interested in martial arts, there is no replacement for living in Japan.
This was impressed on me soon after arriving in Kyoto. I was minding my own business, riding my bike down the street and taking in the scenery like any tourist, when a middle-aged man on a bike passed me going the opposite direction and carrying an eight-foot-long thin purple clothe bag and a wooden quiver. Random encounter with kyudo-ka. Oh yeah, we've got that at home... not.
(That was just in the first couple days, though. Since living in Kyoto for a while and taking the rail systems, etc, it's become a not uncommon site to see adults or school children carrying some manner of traditional weapon.)
About a week and a half ago, I was doing laundry. Villa Bianca has a washing machine, but no dryer, and we haven't got enough room to hang everything. So sometimes you have to take the wash to the laundromat to get it dried.
The laundromat is only about a block away, so I popped in there around midnight. Sitting in the corner is a white guy with a little goatee. Normally, I keep to myself, but one thing I've learned since traveling in Asia is that the other people who don't fit the surroundings can be interesting and/or useful, so I tentatively introduced myself as a traveler visiting Kyoto for cultural studies. Yeah, I'm studying aikido. Have you heard of that? It's a martial art, you know, like karate, but a little different. We try not to hurt people.
Terms that might help explain what's going on in my blog posts...
arbeito: Japanese for "part-time job"
bento box: a small prepackaged meal available for sale in grocery and convenience stores; usually contains some protein, veggies, and rice, such as grilled fish, tofu, bean sprouts, and rice
-dori: Japanese for "street"; e.g., Marutamachi-dori is "Marutamachi Street"
hiragana: Japanese syllabary for native words, as opposed to katakana and romaji; "mi" in katakana = み
hyaku-en: 100 yen; technically, it should be written hyaku-yen, but it's pronounced hayku-en; 100 yen is worth about $1.05 according to Google, but I'm getting a rate of more like 90 yen to the US dollar; anyhow, it is easy to imagine that 100 yen = 1 dollar, and that is about how it's used here in Kyoto (e.g., there are hyaku-yen shops that are about equivalent to a dollar-store in the US)
Imadegawa: the closest main street to my apartment; currently, I am blogging from an Internet cafe on the southwest corner of Karasumaimadegawa, looking out a picture window over the grounds of the Imperial Palace; my apartment is about one-and-a-half blocks west
ippan: regular dojo training classes, as opposed to the special kenshusei classes