Thursday, 20 June 2013

Unintentionality: a week with Orban Sensei - 20 June 2013

Since last Saturday I have been training with Orban Sensei for an average of four hours a day, first at a weekend seminar in Stuttgart and now at his home 'Fudoshin Dojo' in Leipzig. In addition to that I have been staying at his home, which as always adds an ongoing stream of interesting conversations on all things 'Budo and life in general' to it.

Sensei's topics are much the same as they have been on his last two visits to Auckland, so I won't go over all that again here, but you can remind yourself with the videos on our media page or scroll through some of our previous blogposts and I have taken some pictures again so you get an impression.
The only thing I might add, again is that we have been talking and practicing a lot around the notion of 'unintentionality'. This is very directly related to relaxation and means that we should not 'do' techniques with our intention, or should I say 'in tension', but relax, breathe, and allow the techniques to emerge from our centre and a full presence in the moment. I feel that this is extremely close to Sawada Sensei's 'chikara o nuku' that I have written about earlier. Likewise, it seems to me as though this is a concept that is as quintessential to Aikido, as it is to Zen (where it would be called mushotoku - to be without an aim/gain), Shiatsu and certainly many other arts. More so, it is probably an approach, or attitude, that we can certainly bring to many other things we do as well. Something to sit with for sure, literally and figuratively..

The other thing this week is reminding me of is that Aikido-practice, that is, this Way that we walk, has many different facets, all of which have something else to add to it. Certainly the baseline is our regular daily/weekly training in our dojo. Besides that and no less important is also seminar/gasshuku practice. Gasshuku means 'together under one roof' and refers to a gathering devoted to intensive practice and enjoyment of community. These two aspects are incredibly important already, but even outside of them, the teaching that can be done during intensive days/weekends/weeks is often different to the teaching that can be done during regular practice in a Dojo. So we would miss something if all we ever did was one or the other.

Likewise, thinking about it more, there are many more ways to practice in this Way. From this current experience what comes to mind is clearly also one-on-one tuition, or personal training, which adds a whole other level of intensity and customisation to training that cannot otherwise be achieved quite as well. And in direct relation to that is also the personal contact and friendship to teachers that we trust. Certainly, there is also the study of texts, which is very important, and more modern forms of audiovisual material of all sorts. My current feeling is that I can only recommend that we try to get all of those 'training modes' in, in combination if we possibly can, to get the most out of our study and the most comprehensive understanding of the Way. On that note, have fun and keep studying, I'm off to my last session of Aikido & Kenjutsu here in Leipzig for this trip. Next stop after that is a weekend seminar with Christian Tissier Shihan in Berlin this weekend. Will post about that when it's over..