Re: It Had To Be Felt #21: Shibata Ichiro: A Lean and Hungry Look
I have very limited experience taking falls for Shibata Sensei in seminar situations. I did not feel in any physical danger and did not experience any fear when working with him, but I felt that I could not live up to his expectations for awareness, strength of attack or engagement. I remember an interview with Terry Dobson where he was asked what it was like to take falls with O Sensei and he said something like that it didn't feel that different but that O Sensei demanded all of his attention. This matches my experience taking falls with Shihan in general. I have been thrown harder and certainly more roughly by less experienced people, but Shibata Sensei expected me to give my all and my all wasn't enough. He gave no outward sign of disgust or contempt, but I felt embarrassed by my encounters with him.
One thing that I think that is missing from this picture is that Shibata Sensei does have a sense of humor and he sometimes whispered jokes in the middle techniques. One of the things that I like about the way Shibata Sensei teaches is that he generally works on basic techniques but with a live feeling of spontaneity. One time that I took falls for him, he changed techniques (I felt that it was because I made a weak attack, but who knows) and he grabbed my thumb, passed underneath my arm similar to shihonage to throw. The throw was powerful, but not risky to my arm. Just before the throw he whispered "Sorry" in a joking voice. This was the first time that I experienced that humor, but a few other times he would smile and make a joke in the middle of technique. Because of the concentration required to take falls for him, I was always surprised when it happened and would only remember to smile after I bowed out.