Friday, September 14, 2007

Tojima sensei and suburi

Tojima sensei was known at the Shingu dojo for his weapon’s work. His bokken was amazing. I was told by people there that his sword was the most like Osensei’s in that area. Of course that can be debated, because there were others, most notably Hikitsuchi sensei, who were also exceptional with the sword. This is in no way meant to demean any of them.

Tojima sensei’s sword was notable for it’s speed. And that speed was achieved partly by the fact that his cut was very compact. No wasted motion, flowery or otherwise. In fact that would be a great description of his aikido in general. He didn’t emphasize complicated paired sets with the sword. With him the sword began and ended with suburi. When he picked up a bokken after class, it was as if a great violinist had just picked up his Stradivarius. He got everyone’s attention. His cuts were notable for their lightning/thunder effect. Many people get a whoosh sound with there cut. But Tojima sensei’s sound cameAFTER his cut. And the sound was different in that it was less sharp than most others.

I got to do a some paired work sword to sword with Hikitsuchi sensei, but not a lot with Tojima sensei. I am including a new video I put on youtube of a sword class Tojima sensei taught at UC Santa Cruz in 1979. Notice the incredible relaxed yet very focused power in his cut.


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