Category Archives: Dojocho Talks

Kimbal Anderson-Sensei: Audio, video and essay

On Torifune and Furitama…

TORIFUNE

 I’ve heard it called  “the rowing exercise” and “bird-boat of heaven”… all these different names for it,  and I’ve heard it explained as being like the single oar Japanese style of rowing…but for me, thinking of aiki on a yogic level, it’s like winds and  channels:  you need to understand Heaven and Earth,  and the idea of the exercise is to create a really harmonic connection between heaven and earth:  and then you can understand kotodama.

The body itself is like an Aeolian harp – and in this vibrational  understanding of the body, the strings of the harp have to be correctly tuned.

So when we set it up, I really focus on softening the feet.  I think in earlier times,  when people farmed and lived on mountains, this was just the way you were – because you’d fall down if you weren’t.  And I learned a lot of this because I had a farm, and although I’m not a huge person,  I can still pick up a couple of hundred pounds and haul  it around because I knew how to receive energy….  and so for us, the idea of relaxing and getting  the feet to open up:  that connects us to  chi no kokyu  “the breath of the Earth”.  Just as the palms open,  the feet can open, and when you move your feet, the soles of the feet should open, then the ankles flex, then the knees flex, and then the hara moves – so it’s like a kinetic chain.

I always teach that if you walk on a crust of snow,…

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…there are some things I want to talk about (1)…

Real aiki is difficult to see unless you already know what it is.  If you don’t know, you tend to take your own personal view of it and put it on top.

Now,  I’ve spent most of my life studying aiki,  so there are some things I’d like to record – they are not new, they are not something I made up: they are my own understandings, taught to me through the very same process you’re involved in: doing movements a million times, and learning to understand the physics of the world, and then the larger forms of physics… which is to say:  how things work.

Once you see it,  and someone explains what’s going on, it’s possible for you to explore it.  Otherwise it looks pretty magical,  and you either think,  “that person’s full of shit,” or you understand that something’s going on that you don’t get – and you want to get it…

So I thought to show you – and hopefully we may some time add video – some of the things I’ve learned.

And the first thing, right off,  is this…and I always use this metaphor…
when you learn to drive, you do not drive into the other cars – you learn to drive in the spaces. So, in the same way, if we think about Samuel’s structure as having spaces in it, and fullness in it, like traffic…

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…there are some things I want to talk about (2)…

– – – – – – – – – – The Importance of Ki-Waza – – – – – – – – – –

…there are some things I want to talk about (3)…

– – – – – – – – – – How to Grip and Take Hold – – – – – – – – – –

…there are some things I want to talk about (4)…

– – – – – – – – – – Moving with the jo – and without – – – – – – – – – –

…there are some things I want to talk about (5)…

– – – – – – – – – – proper stance and good grounding  – – – – – – – – – –

 

…there are some things I want to talk about (6)…

– – – – – – – – – – basics of go-no-sen irimi  – – – – – – – – – –

…there are some things I want to talk about (7)…

– – – – – – – – – – ukemi, receiving and blending – – – – – – – – – –

Omoto-kyo version, Tokyo version, Iwama version…

August15CROPCOLORIZETIGHTER…I think we had O’Sensei’s  Omoto-kyo version and his Tokyo version and his Iwama version and we don’t understand that:  but his Omoto-kyo version was actually about penetrating the universe.  And people in Tokyo,  recovering from being utterly bombed  out by American B-29’s… well,  it’s tricky to get them interested, because they’re trying to eat. And the guys in Iwama are out in the country, going “I’m so glad we’re out here!” and most of them are high school kids…  But Omoto-kyo folks would have been ready to start setting the whole world aright, and to start raising people up…   They would have remembered what Deguchi said: “everything happens first to Omoto-kyo, then to Japan, and finally to the whole world…”   And they would have understood the aikido that O’Sensei was showing them to be a part of this…

calligraphy by Onisaburo Deguchi: “August 15th DAY” – being the date of Japan’s surrender, the character for “DAY” being drawn in the archaic style that also means “GOD”,  and,  with a variant center:  “SU”. SUcrop

– – – Kimbal Anderson Sensei

A few weeks before Andre Nocquet Shihan passed (2)…

– – – by Kimbal Anderson Sensei

So what space do we imagine we are studying this in? Because it’s all imagination. We don’t know O’Sensei. We don’t know him. And his students…well, I’ve heard, depending on who experienced what he did, just really black and white differences in what they tell us about him.

But I consider O’Sensei’s being like the Guru, the Light-Bringer… that’s why I do this.

I just get really bored with the whole martial, “Would it win in a bar-fight?”… you know, all the violence people try to add to it, which is like, to me, what children do: playing with sticks. Versus a swordsman, versus someone who’s practising the mandala of footwork…

The fact that you don’t murder someone with your spiritual study is not a weakness.

And this is the falling into degradation of an age where… Shmuel-san, I’m sure you can understand this, particularly… you read writings from these very old traditions, very well known people who – if you take just a minute to step back – there were no street-lights there were no political groups, there’s no Facebook, there’s none of the pressure to be popular…  it was like deepness… and they were doing it because it was the only thing that it made sense to do. It was a love. The deepest thing a person on their own, utilizing what has been written, exists, and  listening to other teachers… your deepest attempt to make contact with the universe.

That’s what it is…

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