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I think this preface written by Nishio Sensei, has a lot of points worth pondering.
A number of people have suggested over the years that I publish a book. So far I have always refrained from doing so for several reasons. First, I have always considered myself simply another follower on the path, in a position neither to serve as a model for others nor to assert my views on budo technique.
However, having grown older, and having already mourned the passing of such teachers as Seigo Yamaguchi, who held my highest respect from the very beginning of my aikido career, and Morihiro Saito, who worked so tirelessly to transmit the Founder's aikido in its purest possible form, I began to consider what will happen to aikido from this point on.
Aikido is a "budo," a "martial way," and therefore inextricably rooted in "jujutsu" or "martial technique." Yet when I look at the aikido world today, I see very little "budo-ness" being expressed in technique, and I wonder if people haven't begun to forget these important roots. While people often say things like, "Aikido is sword technique…" and "throws and pins are actually strikes….," there is rarely any explanation of such ideas. There are even some who claim that aikido has no need for things like striking and weapons techniques. In many settings these days, aikido is becoming little more than a kind of health exercise pursued by the elderly and women and children.
Time and again I come across stuff posted on the web about the Filipino Martial Arts... being born and bred in the Philippines, I find some of what is written to be laughable and betraying an ignorance of the country of origin of the Filipino Martial Arts.
Misconception #1: The Filipino Martial Arts are a homogenous collection of systems with a common philosophy and technical approach.
Fact: There are probably as many styles and systems of FMA as there are regional languages and dialects (170 according to wikipedia). Just as there are many differing systems of Kung Fu, there are also different systems of Filipino Martial Arts. This is also evidenced by the various names there are for the art: Kali, Arnis, Eskrima, Singkatan, Kuntaw, Kabaroan, etc. Each has varying philosophies and technical approaches. This then leads to:
Misconception #2: To be a true FMA it must have <insert technique / training method / philosophy here>.
I remember reading an article in Inside Kung-Fu which purported to instruct the reader on how to discern what was a true FMA. It had to have, among other things, "hubud lubud" training, triangular footwork, no blocks - just hand smashes, etc etc. This was ludicrous and was pointed out by several FMA practitioners in the letters column some issues later... Given the variety of approaches existing in the FMA as a whole, it was unreasonable to expect that all FMAs used the same technques / methods used by the FMA of the article author. It would b
It has always been a puzzle for me why some aikido practitioners in my country refer to their practice as laro (play). Even my sensei (who is also Filipino) is puzzled by it. "Hindi ako naglalaro ng aikido" (I don't play aikido), he declares. "Kasi seryoso ako." (Because I'm serious).
Actually, I think a lot of martial artists in the PH refer to their pratice as laro (play). And I believe this has its origins in the PH's colonial history.
It has been recorded that during the Spanish Occupation, practice of Filipino Martial arts was often disguised as either dance practice or practice for a play (moro-moro). Perhaps this is where the habit of referring to martial arts practice as play got started.
However, modern day Filipinos seem to have forgotten the origin of the use of this term and do not take the practice of martial arts as seriously as they should. They forget O-Sensei's first rule of dojo practice: Aikido decides life and death in a single strike, so students must carefully follow the instructor's teaching and not compete to see who is the strongest.
Not following this rule leads to incorrect technique and unnecessary injuries.
So when anyone asks me "Naglalaro ka ba ng Aikido?" (Do you play Aikido?). I say "Hindi, nagsasanay ako sa Aikido" (No, I train in Aikido).
I just remembered this: One time, a first-timer to our dojo strolled onto the mat wearing his gi top with the right side over the left side, rather than the customary left over right. When I saw th
1. Aikido decides life and death in a single strike, so students must carefully follow the instructor's teaching and not compete to see who is the strongest.
2. Aikido is the way that teaches how one can deal with several enemies. Students must train themselves to be alert not just to the front, but to all sides and the back.
3. Training should always be conducted in a pleasant and joyful atmosphere.
4. The instructor teaches only one small aspect of the art. Its versatile applications must be discovered by each student through incessant practice and training.
5. In daily practice first begin by moving your body and then progress to more intensive practice. Never force anything unnaturally or unreasonably. If this rule is followed, then even elderly people will not hurt themselves and they can train in a pleasant and joyful atmosphere.
6. The purpose of Aikido is to train mind and body and to produce sincere, earnest people. Since all the techniques are to be transmitted person-to-person, do not randomly reveal them to others, for this might lead to their being used by hoodlums.
Doshu's addendum to the rules
1. Proper Aikido can never be mastered unless one strictly follows the instructors teaching.
2. Aikido as a martial art is perfected by being alert to everything going on around us and leaving no vulnerable opening (suki).
3. Practice becomes joyful and pleasant once one has trained enough n
Last Saturday I attended a seminar held at the University of Bath, featuring Hiroaki Kobayashi Sensei, 6th Dan Aikikai. Hiroaki Sensei is the son of Yasuo Kobayashi Shihan 8th Dan, and Fuku Dojocho of the Kobasyashi Dojos. The Kobayashi "style" of taijutsu seems to be very orthodox, heavily influenced by Kisshomaru Doshu and Moriteru Doshu. It is powerful, positive and flowing, yet relaxed.
The buki-waza are derived from the Iwama buki-waza of Morihiro Saito Sensei, with the suburi arranged in a logical and easy to learn manner. Also, the techniques are practiced on both left and right sides.
The first session was concentrated on techniques from gyaku-hanmi katatetori. Iriminage, but the opening move was similar to katatetori ikkyo. After picking up the hand, tori moves behind uke and instead of grasping the elbow for ikkyo, grabs uke's neck and does tenkan, before moving in for iriminage.
Next was nikkyo, omote and ura, then shihonage, omote and ura.
The next technique was kote-gaeshi from katatetori using a gyaku kotegaeshi grip.
Then everyone formed groups for zempo ukemi practice with kotegaeshi.
After a break came a session with the jo. Hiroaki Sensei gave a short refresher to those who were not yet familiar with jo techniques. Choku tsuki, kaeshi tsuki, jodan gaeshi, shomen uchi, gedan gaeshi and ushiro tsuki wer all covered. Hiroaki Sensei then taught a short 4 count suburi and awase. He then moved to each of the 8 jo awase.
During awase practice, one of my par
After a journey of several thousand kilometers, I now have to resume my aikido practice in a new environment.
There's no dojo in the immediate vicinity affiliated with my old organization (Aikikai). The club at my workplace is affiliated with an organization with ties to one of the uchideshi of O-Sensei who is now independent.
I've been to practice at the club and I must say, I didn't take long to adapt.The idiosyncracies of my old style (which I am quite attached to and would like to develop some more) I will have to work on my own.
I left my bokken and jo back in the Philippines, so I guess I'll have to find replacements.