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Old 02-13-2013, 04:11 PM   #101
Ethan Weisgard
Dojo: Copenhagen Aiki Shuren Dojo
Location: Copenhagen
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 177
Re: bokken suburi questions

In regard to the video clip showing Saito Sensei doing the bokken suburi - he taught us to not let the elbows stick out. I have to admit that the clip is showing him using the elbows a bit much. This footage is from 1985, if I remember correctly. In later footage from the late 80s and into the 1990s you can find him doing the cuts with less elbow protrusion.

He was extremely dynamic in his movements in the 1970s and earlier - as can be seen in the great footage from Iwama from 1964. In the mid-1980s he was working on a lot of the forms - this was when the 31 kata kumi jo was developed - with quite a few variations along the way - all great! Sadly, his knees - which troubled him from an early age and on - were weakening more and more. so some of the tai sabaki and foot adjustments were less than they should have been. In the 1980s he would often say when teaching: "Don't copy my foot movements, my knees are bad." He would then explain how the moves should be done. Later on he stopped saying that he had bad knees, so his tai sabaki would sometimes be minimized, but sometimes the students weren't aware of this. It was beautiful, all the same, in my opinion.
I believe that Saito Sensei's form in his weapons work really gelled in the 1990s, even though his knees were troubling him. There was an effortless smoothness and flow, coupled with great kime and zanshin that he had from that period and on that I find very inspiring.

In aiki,
Ethan Weisgard
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