Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Budo Kenshu Seminar in Hastings, NZ: a review by Bryan Bell - 17 September 2014

'The two days were a great success, for me at least, and I know the others enjoyed it and
found it profitable. It will change the way our club trains henceforth.

The key show-stopping ideas for me were that: 
1) Uke shapes the attack so that Nage must respond with the technique being practice (no more 'what if I do this...'). Uke us no longer tempted to try and win against Nage with strength or trickery - Uke is successful if Nage finds another technique besides the one being practiced clumsy. If he is being needlessly strong, Nage can interpret that another technique is called for by uke. Hope that makes sense.

2) The first years of a budo art are traditionally devoted to learning how to inflict significant harm on another as quickly and effectively as possible. However after many years, in general the desire to permanently damage someone seems to wane, and the development of techniques that allow a non-destructive approach is introduced. This is the point where Aikido starts. This explanation is information dense and handy for Aikido apologists.

Both idea were floating about 'loose' in my head, and needed cohesion that Filip's well turned phrasing provided. It is rare to have two great ideas in a weekend, so I am feeling grateful.

Other highlights:
In addition, I particularly enjoyed the exploration of the diagonal sword cut created through a body/sword connectivity exercise. It grew by stages from a small to a larger spiral and then into sword cuts and the into Aikido techniques. It improves flow and hip use.

One of the key emphasis of the weekend was breathing, and in particular, managing one's breath so it serves you and not the other way round. Filip provided good breathing exercises that I for one can take away and practice other times.

Iterations of body relaxation techniques (not a new idea, but always good to hear again. Practicing exercises that aid the body be relaxed...).

Handmade Tanto 'Baroque' gifted to Filip Marić
by Paul Roberts & the Hawke's Bay Dojo

Performing with a deliberately stressed body, so that it can perform better when needed.

In summary, it was a well-rounded, full weekend. On the first day my brain was sloshing over an hour before we were to finish. Having said that, it provided the seeds of ideas we can incorporate into our own training, so we will keep benefiting into the future.' 

Bryan Bell, Hawke's Bay