past, students in the UK did go to other organisation’s seminars but in recent years this has almost ceased and they mainly attend their own style seminars. Is it the same where you train?
Training with Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba in the USA One particular destination I loved was California, USA. Each year a summer camp of top teachers from the Bay area got together and occasionally invited other top teachers. This, with over one hundred and seventy students in an amazing large old wooden hall, was one of the highlights of my year. The Doshu, Moriteru Ueshiba (then Waka Sensei) was guest teacher and he was 37 and I was 38 and keen as ever to meet and train with him. He was not the head master at the time so I just looked upon him and his Aikido as another teacher and what I could gain from his teaching. When everyone else on the mat was in awe I simply enjoyed watching. . . until he made a gesture and I was up as his Uke. There was an amazing smoothness and flow to his Aikido and I found it strange to be engaged in a style that felt right but was different from previous practices. Earlier training had been coarse and even brutal hard training which came from our own power, then later, with Saito Sensei, training was precise and it was the technique that was powerful. It all fitted together, a strange understanding of basic and flowing (Kinonagare) tied together at last. This was the day I realised the connection and the need for both methods. His was a really flowing style, fast but truly the way we should all seek. I don’t know if power was present as the Ukes all blended and flowed, but I do think that whichever way around one trains we should all try the other and see where it takes us. Perhaps you will discover a connection for yourself. The technique he performed on me was from my attack of Ushiro Ryotedori (two hands grabbing from behind, you start at the front and go around the back of Nage) and this is used a lot in films I have seen and is one of the ‘non basic techniques’. To my mind it’s not particularly ‘martial’ as Uke can let go at any time – please test this for yourself. For the demonstration though, it is a wonderful blend of being connected with each other. You could possibly look at it as a forging technique. Even before the meeting I had heard that the main Hombu training was a very flowing style which was obvious in his teaching. A new experience at that time for me and looking back to those days I can now see how if you are lucky enough to put pride and stubbornness to one side and spend years training both ‘systems’ but separately and not at the same time you can get to the technical understanding of O-Sensei’s Aikido. I can say it was not only beautiful to see but to be part of that training was a privilege, as many around the world will know who have been so lucky to be used as his Uke. After me he used more senior grades as Uke and it was spectacular.
Published on Mar 25, 2014
Published on Mar 25, 2014
A selection of pages from "Takemusu Aikido: A Martial Artist's Journey of Discovery in Aikido" by Tony Sargeant