Re: Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu Seminar at Aikido of Northern Virginia
Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu Seminar at Aikido of Northern Virginia
Review by Stephen Kotev
Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu is often mentioned on this and other Aikido websites. I vividly recall my first days investigation Aikido on Internet -- Daito Ryu was a constant reference. Aikido Journal had whole texts dedicated to the topic. This sparked my interest and I began to seek out more information about Daito Ryu. I soon learned that outside of Japan there were not many schools that taught Daito Ryu and those that did often came with complicated and sometimes disputed lineages. Soon it became confusing to know who to trust. What was enjoyable about this seminar was that Roy Goldberg Sensei did not have those complications. His lineage and affiliation are clear and well known.
There were several other great benefits. Sensei Goldberg and his senior student Gino Goyco were very welcoming and friendly. Due to the limited class size you could get your hands on both of them and experience the techniques for yourself. After years of observing internet dialogues and arguments about Daito Ryu it was great to be able to feel it for yourself and make your own decisions. Sensei Goldberg was also very open and willing to ask and answer questions - this attitude is sometimes very rare at Aikido seminars so his openness was a welcome benefit.
The seminar focused on introductory concepts and principles of Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu. Sensei Goldberg encourages us to focus on the differences between the two arts and not to succumb to the "oh I know that technique" pitfall. The differences and similarities were quite interesting and worth attending for this reason alone. Daito Ryu as represented by Sensei Goldberg does not have ukemi as we know it. The techniques I experienced created a strong connection between Tori and Uke and when done correctly leave no option for uke. Uke makes no decisions they simply are dropped into a hole and must fall. There is no decision-making process; you don't wonder how you should move -- your balance is taken and tori manipulates the connection between the two of you to place you in a position where you must fall.
For example Shiho Nage -- Imagine that you as tori were facing uke with feet shoulder-width apart at handshaking distance; uke then grabs your wrist. Mechanically, my experience was that Goldberg Sensei created a connection between by grabbing arm and the hip of the same side -- this occurred in conjunction with kuzushi being taken. Sensei would then irimi and turn under my outstretched arm until he had replaced his hip with my own and I became dependent on his structure to stay standing. Sensei continued to turn my arm until it was returned to the location of my original stance; once this occurred he no longer supported my structure and I now had to return to my own hip for balance -- this was not possible and I was dropped into a breakfall. If this description did not make sense maybe others who attended could elaborate.
It was a fascinating experience. Goldberg Sensei has several techniques that followed this pattern. Sensei would create a connection and structure that I became dependent on and then removed that structure thus causing me to fall. It was fascinating to see how this mirrored my experience in Aikido and how striking some of the differences were. Another way to think about this is "small circle Aikido" as Goldberg Sensei commented. Many of the techniques took place in much smaller quarters than most Aikidoka are used to and fall usually happened very near the initial attack.
I want to thank Aikido of Northern Virginia and Jim Sorrentino Sensei for hosting this event. It was a lot of fun. Thanks again for hosting Goldberg Sensei and allowing Aikidoka access to Daito Ryu training.