Thursday, 3 November 2011

MMKDG - Session #4 Video Analysis of three Hachidans

Date: Sunday, October 30 starting at 11:30am in the Heritage Lounge at the JCCC
Participants (6): P. Schramek [5D], N. Chau [3D], M. Suen [3D], P. Suen [3D], K. Adams [3D], P. Anderson [2D]
Topic(s): Video Analysis of three Hachidans
Our discussion started with a recap of a lesson we learned during the Thunder Bay seminar last week, then we proceeded to watch a couple of demonstrations and discussed what we thought of them. These ranged from some old Haruna sensei Kyoto taikai videos, to more recent Hakone 8 Dan taikai videos of Sato and Oshita sensei.

1. Haruna Matsuo sensei (Kyoshi 8 Dan)
2. Sato Yosoichi sensei (Kyoshi 8 Dan)
3. Oshita Masakazu sensei (Kyoshi 8 Dan)

The initial impression of these three sensei, besides their extraordinary abilities as Iaidoka, was how much their performances could vary on the same kata, and coming from pretty much the same lineage.

I was thinking about this difference later, and wondered if this was, in fact, Aji? (taste, flavour). As mentioned in a previous discussion group session:

As our discussion progressed, we explored the paths one might take to achieving our own unique flavour:

1. It could be something you explore over time. Analysis and practice, leading to Iai that comes from your own physical and mental self.

2. It could be something you see in someone else. Through mitori-keiko, you watch and learn from others and incorporate what you like about their Iai into your own.

3. It could also be something that you are taught. A sensei or sempai may provide a piece of advice, or communicate their opinion on a subject that you realize will work for you.

Whatever the method, as you gain details in your understanding, you can pick and choose until you're able to combine all your insights into a whole. A representative version of a kata that represents yourself.

But, perhaps it's not a conscious decision? Sometimes it might just evolve on it's own through repetitive practice. Perhaps, the subconscious learning that everyone does to fit into society also provides a means to grow in Iaido.

A few of us certainly felt that way when training in Japan. Even being in the presence of high-level Iaidoka during warm-ups or casual conversation, you get a feeling of relaxation, and yet, also a feeling of strength. It reached a point where we started to feel it in ourselves.

A final angle was brought up that suggested that the scenario, and how you react to it, will provide this feeling. While your training is focused primarily on basics. 

Examples of this case included:

Basketball, where you would work on repetitive shooting drills, running, and passing, before combining them all into a game situation without the need to think.

Muay Thai, doing lots of punching exercises until fight, then you work on spacing, and timing.

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