Wednesday, February 28, 2007

1980's Warrior Shows

The 1980's were a dynamic time for aikido in the San Francisco bay area. Examples of this are two"Warrior" shows produced by Robert Nadeau sensei starring Sue Ann McKean. At that time Nadeau sensei was, as he still is, one of the most senior and one of the leaders of aikido in this area. He produced 2 what you might call vignettes combining aikido and bodybuilding that were shown locally at major body building events. Aikido and bodybuilding might seem to be very different and unlikely to be grouped together in any format. But that was before Sue Ann McKean.

Always a gifted aikidoist, Sue Ann began bodybuilding in the '80's to re-habilitate a knee injury. She was such a natural that she began entering women's bodybuilding events and doing very well. According to Nadeau sensei, who was her first trainer, they got bored with just the posing and decided to step it up a notch or two. These shows combined martial arts, body building and are set in a mythological/fantasy world. It is a world which could be the distant barbaric past or a future with technology and fantasy elements side by side. To my knowledge there has been nothing like them before or since.

The one featured below was the first of the two. At the very end Sue Ann and Nadeau sensei square off. Though aikido per se is not about fighting, I think you'll enjoy the choreography and the intensity of it. Nadeau sensei apparently directed and produced the whole thing and even selected the background music, co-ordinating action to passages in the music.

So welcome to a timeless piece from aikido's history in the 1980's. Unfortunately I had to put it into two videos. Here's part 1:

Here's part 2:


Blogger Elise said...

Oh my gosh, I would have so loved to have seen this in person. It's so over-the-top cheesy now looking back at it - those fabulous 80s.

10:16 PM  

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