Category Archives: 01-Kamae

O’Sensei no kuden: Kamae (10)

Always be natural.

– – –  reported by Gozo Shioda Shihan,  Aikido  Shugyo  p..200

O’Sensei no kuden: Kamae (11)

Aikido and life are one.

– – –  reported by Gozo Shioda Shihan,  Aikido  Shugyo  p.195

Musashi on Kamae…

–  Knowing the higher, intermediate and lower  levels of martial practice…

In martial practice there are physical kamae. In the martial practice of  the sword there being various kamae to be seen: the obviously strong, and what can be seen as fast,  you should know these to be a lower level. Again, martial practice which is meticulously detailed, so that the techniques are clearly visible, and rhythm is visibly skilfully managed, and which – because of these things – can be considered a beautiful martial practice: this is the  intermediate level. The higher level martial practice is “without strength, without weakness” – the corners are not visible [as it were], no haste is visible, and there is not even anything beautiful about it: but no errors are to be seen, it is expansive, upright, and direct, and it is martial practice with a visible clarity: this is the higher level. You should think carefully about this.

– paragraph 9 of the  Hyoho Sanju go Kojo (1641)

On Kamae…

There is no separation to my understanding and in my experience, between your philosophy and how you’re going to move, your own inward view of how stuff works: –  is that person your enemy?  am I too close?  am I too far?  what do I pay attention to?  what do I ignore?

And I think it’s a unifying place for us as aikido-ists, I think that’s where we come together….

And on a large scale, if your kamae… and I’m sitting here in the dojo, on the center of one of these grids: a taped out mandala of the eight compass-points inside a square…If you have embodied one of these grids – – – meaning that in an empty room you still feel it, where your center line is and how all these different points of movement are, then you can put it into three-dimensional rotation, and you start seeing the spiral nature where everything’s spinning around, and you can flow down those spiral lines and then you’re naturally carried by your kamae – your observational view – to the correct place, every time…

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…a short talk on Kamae…

Shizentai/Hanmi

“Always place yourself in Shizentai, with complete flexibility,” is what O’Sensei told Tenryu, in 1939 (1)

Shizentai, of course, is the kamae of Daito-Ryu, whereas the ryu O’Sensei previously studied, Yagyu Shingan Ryu,  has a 90-degree hanmi as kihon (2).  On the other hand, several old-time deshi have said that O’Sensei adopted hanmi from Yagyu Shinkage Ryu sword- work, and it does seem that, as “hitoemi,” he associated this stance with confronting an armed opponent (3). Nevertheless, Tamura Shihan remembers O’Sensei pausing on a pass through Hombu Dojo to adjust their “hanmi”.

So it is interesting that Gozo Shioda Shihan, begins a two-page spread on hanmi (4) by saying, “originally, there was no position in aikido that might have been called a ‘basic stance.'”….

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