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Old 07-03-2007, 02:38 AM   #6
Ethan Weisgard
Dojo: Copenhagen Aiki Shuren Dojo
Location: Copenhagen
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 142
Denmark
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Re: Saito Sensei 1964 22 kata?

Jakob,

After studying the footage some more, I have come to the same conclusion. The first kata is clearly the 31 kata, but with hasso gaeshi in the final movement. Saito Sensei said that he managed to glean the 31 kata from O-Sensei in its entirety, so it is possible that O-Sensei at times finished the kata with the hasso gaeshi movement and sometimes the gyaku yokomen. Interesting to see this old version. As to the second kata: It is definitely not the 22 kata. I see parts of the 13 kata and as you say, the suburi as well (you mention that the hasso movements aren't to be found in the kata - there is one in the 13 kata). Saito Sensei said on occasion that the 13 kata was a part of a longer sequence, but he never could get the rest of this sequence when O-Sensei was doing it. Sensei chose therefore to take the movements he was sure of and put them into what we now know as the 13 kata. There are lots of other interesting details in this wonderful footage - both in the weapons work as well as the taijutsu- this is really a treasure! Especially the wonderful, caring way that Sensei is performing the techniques - we know that this was when Sensei was in his absolute prime - Stanley refers to him as a "locomotive" during this period! It is great to see Sensei doing the techniques in such a fluid and controlled form. Another great point is the shomen uchi form - leading uke's hand out (Sensei always called this "aite no ki wo yobidasu" to call out your partner's ki). This is a part of training that seems to have fallen out of use in many places - there is a thread about this elsewhere on Aikiweb.
All in all a great treasure to have available to us all. Thanks to Robert Nadeau Shihan and Aikido Journal for making it available.

In Aiki,

Ethan
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