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Old 04-04-2011, 11:31 AM   #41
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Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
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Re: Aikido and Weapons: The Connection

From a Chiba Sensei interview:

"There’s a story about Tohei Sensei. Sometime around 1960 a pair of wrestlers from Argentina visited the dojo. They were part of a group that was traveling around making a documentary film about the “most dangerous things in the world”. They were both huge men. O-Sensei usually would not allow us to indulge in contests, but on that occasion he gave the go-ahead and told Tohei to have a go, although to this day I still don’t know why. All the students lined up on the mat and O-Sensei sat at the head of the line of instructors. He said, “Tohei, up!” Since he was representing the whole dojo, Tohei Sensei took it very seriously.

I had been the one to greet the wrestlers when they arrived. They were so big that their heads came up past the lintel of the entranceway door. I thought, “Oh no… if we lose we’re going to be so ashamed,” so I discussed it with the other uchideshi and we decided to conceal some wooden swords that we could use those to deal with the wrestlers in the event that Tohei Sensei was defeated [laughter].

The match began. Tohei Sensei immediately moved towards his opponent, who immediately moved back. Ten minutes passed as they circled each other around and around the dojo. Neither of them did anything. Finally, Tohei Sensei chased the wrestler into a corner and leapt toward him. He was so small compared to his opponent, but he ended up heaving him backwards with a judo-like sotogake maneuver, and then pinning him with his tegatana. The wrestler should have been strong in ground techniques, but he couldn’t get up. He tried various ways to escape, but Tohei had him firmly pinned.

I was surprised at the strength of Tohei Sensei’s kokyu power. It’s quite difficult to throw an opponent who’s not coming after you, you know. That’s why Tohei forced him into a corner. I was impressed. O-Sensei didn’t say anything at the time, but afterwards he was angry and said, “There’s no need to throw someone who isn’t attacking you!” It’s true that this wasn’t a very good way of winning in the bujutsu sense. An opponent with a knife could easily run you through if you tried that, so it wasn’t actually very convincing as self-defense. But in that kind of dojo setting I think there probably wasn’t much else he could’ve done."

David M. Valadez
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