Sunday, 19 May 2013

Karate & Shiatsu: Takayuki Sugimoto Shihan, 7th Dan, visits Jikishin Dojo Auckland - Sunday 19 May 2013

This week we gladly hosted somewhat of a surprise visitor at our Dojo. Takayuki Sugimoto Shihan is a 7th Dan in Shito Ryu Karate and a Shiatsu teacher from Japan/Canada who is currently in Auckland to teach at a Shiatsu conference and give a public workshop on Saturday coming. We were lucky enough to have him take our regular Wednesday's class and share some of his knowledge with a small group of us in Glenfield. The video here gives you an impression of what we did, as well as a glimpse of Sensei's session at the Shiatsu practitioner's conference on Friday. Below, I will give a brief summary of the points that I found most inspiring and interesting.
As you can see in the video, Sensei is an incredible inspiration in terms of how fit you can be at even at the tender age of 62. Briefly put, that seemed to be more fit than anyone of us that were there.. This point was also well in support of what Sensei said about passion, ie. that it is most important for us to have and keep our passion and that it is on the teacher to inspire this passion in the students.

As I generally like the idea of giving my students insights into other martial arts, so that they understand and research Budo as a whole, it was great to have such an expert in a traditional form of Karate take a class and give us an insight into his training methods and art. In addition to that, Sensei's work feels very close to me through linking Shiatsu and Budo, that is, fighting and healing, as two related aspects of the Way ('Do') that we study.

Sensei also confirmed yet again, that at a higher level, the principles of Budo have to be and are pretty much the same across all martial Ways and the principles he talked about resonated very much with the ones we explored at Orban Sensei's visit only a few weeks ago

So, like Orban Sensei, Sugimoto Shihan talked about the importance of moving from the centre with an upright posture and the need to develop this straight from the warm-up exercises. His one-legged squat-to-stand version shown in the video is a fairly impressive example of this I would say..

Further, corresponding with the Kashima Shinryu principles of Kobo ittai - offence & defence as one - he talked about making all our motions 'one movement', that is, the impossibility of  separating defence, deplacement & countermovement from each other, as this separation would take to long to be workable in a martial encounter. 

Related to this, Sensei also taught about the importance of never getting stuck after a movement or in a kamae/stance, but rather flowing like water, from one motion to the next. Again, in Kashima Shinryu terminology, this is the principle of Dōsei ittai - motion and stillness as one.

Another point that Sensei taught about has increasingly been coming up in my personal research yet again, is that we should not try to avoid every bit of pain or discomfort that arises, whether that be in a martial confrontation or a health treatment. I don't want to comment on this much here as it is a huge and heavily debated topic, but it seems as though there is a teaching in (some of) the pain, that is best learned when faced directly rather than avoided. At a simple level, in the context of Budo, or Aikido, we can understand this as the need to not block the attack (avoid or reject the discomfort), but absorb it - or accept to then resorb it in Kashima Shinryu terms.

The Shiatsu that we did with Sensei truly speaks for itself and is better felt than explained, so if you can make it I strongly recommend the above-mentioned workshop. And if you can't make it, come and see me for a treatment any time you like and I'll happily share what I learned from him.

Well, I guess another week of interesting and inspiring learning at our Dojo has passed yet again and with no wasting of time, the next one starts tomorrow. See you all at training!