Author Archives: FastSlow

…pears, peaches, grapes…


There are many swords in aikido (5)…

So… talking about our dojo:  one of the advantages, I think, for what we do  -  is that I’ve had good encounters with itto-ryu teachers, and with the special sword techniques that come from that whole system.  And in particular that thing that we  r e a l l y   work on -  that figure-of-eight motion, built into our actual te-gatana  -  is pretty much the powerful, central concept of all the other techniques.  It stabilizes the sword, in such a way that it adapts completely to the other person’s movement, and strike, and whatever.  So in essence… that shape, in itself,  is aiki.

I really appreciate the way that Nishio Shoji Shihan talks about swordsmanship and aikido being synonymous.  I think O’Sensei frequently was alluding to that.

My feeling is – just being, I guess, an archeologist of time – that the root of all the confusion surrounding this is that:  after World War II,  the chances of some-one having a sword -  in Japan – to practise with were pretty minimal.   They confiscated everything.  So then that shifted it into bokken,  and sticks,  and various things.  Because you couldn’t do sword with an occupying army that forbade you to own a sword.  It even got to the point that you could hardly hold a knife without being a problem.

So I believe that there’s an adaptation that occurred.   An adaptation that lost something pretty essential to what we do.  But in our case,  because I  had Hisaya Shoji Sensei to teach me – who was such a good teacher, and he was transmitting the original thing – - – a  similar thing to what O’Sensei received…  in fact Hisaya Shoji Sensei actually trained with O’Sensei:  he showed me a kotegaeshi from him and it looked very similar to the Nishio Shoji Shihan technique…  We,  because we practise sword, because  we  seriously practise sword:  as swordsmen, I think, we have a really good advantage in understanding aikido . And we don’t need to re-interpret it into the post-occupation, safe mode, which, I believe, has changed the form, considerably.

I think about what we learn:  about center-line, how we train to be able to put the kissaki exactly where we want , and how this relates to our mind…

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O’Sensei no kuden: sword(3)

One definition of aiki is this:  to feel that you are using, in place of a sword, the sincerity of your own,  natural breath to sweep away a demon.

- – - O’Sensei, probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan, published in Aiki-Shinzui, p.13

…shy dojo cat!!!…


…from a great Aikido teacher…

…living here in the Pacific Northwest (2) …

Realizing that in all ways our actions are statements of our beliefs…our purpose is to promote and exemplify the following:

  • The essence of creation is within us all. We acknowledge and respect this fact.
  • The dynamics of Universal law are expressed through the human body.
  • The laws of the Universal have no prejudice.
  • We are each responsible for the decisions we make in our daily lives. Peace, health, happiness and the basis of prosperity start with our decisions.
  • Natural posture is Healing posture.

Aikido stresses blending and flowing movements from one’s center. This type of movement is established by moving in complete unity from our center in a continuous, effortless, and natural way.

Discovering and expressing the connection of one’s center and all life is practised with partner participation. Each person learns centeredness in movement and gains understanding of harmony in change in the following ways:

  • Kodosuru – acting – going first – to get involved without hesitation, purposeful forthright action.
  •  Susumu – entering – moving forward, filling in with Ki.
  •  Sankasuru – joining – coming together as one. Constantly enhancing.
  •  Nagareru – flowing – unobstructed mobility – to be in step with Nature.
  • Itawaru – protecting – lovingly conscious and responsible.
  • Ki O Hirogeru – Spirit of becoming more, greater.
  • Yawaragi – Gentleness of Spirit.

Perception is a matter of choice and is not a fact. The willingness to shift our perception is also a choice and is not static. To be willing to explore is healing. There is no right or wrong in Aikido. By obeying the laws of the universe our movements and attitudes must be correct. Following these laws is following the path of universal love.


The movie ‘Bluebird Man’ with Rebeca’s music…

…will have a two screenings at The Fernhill Wetlands Birds & Brew Festival in  Forest Grove,  OR,  on Saturday October 11th – at 10:30am and again at 11:30am.Prairie-BBT-9294crop


Rebeca’s latest CD, Mostecelo, is…
mostecelo2here …and a preview of the upcoming here!

Jenn has a show playing…

Polaroid Stories, produced by HomeGrown Theatre, at the Woodland Empire, 1114 W. Front Street, September 12 – 27.polaroidstories

Peter has a show playing…

…with his sound design:   Steel Magnolias, at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival,  September 5th  to  September 28.

(courtesy DKM Photography)

A change of optic:

Aikido is a gem of many facets – sometimes it seems that every one of O’Sensei’s students remembered a different teacher, and of course, many, many different styles have been preserved and developed – but here is one facet that clicked into focus for me recently:

what if O’Sensei spent his time away from Iwama and Tokyo coherently pursuing what he felt to be his “mission in life”?…

what if he spent his time away from Iwama and Tokyo creating and nurturing a network of dojos run by Omoto-Kyo, ex-Omoto-Kyo and Ko-Shinto believers ( hand-picked deshi,  some of them raised, almost, as members of his family) – - – and ex-Kamikaze pilots, too (!) – often with his own name on the sign -  in places – and close to shrines…

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…peace pole!!!…