Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sunday Shoot and more

Last Sunday myself and several members of the San Jose dojo took part in a film shoot in Kelly Park just outside the Japanese Friendship Gardens. Louis Fox, an old student of Nadeau sensei, brought a film crew and we shot for over 3 hours. Those representing the dojo were Harry Concepcion, James Johnson, Steve Tsao, and Shin Tsurushima. Louis had temporary access to a camera that could shoot in extreme slow motion.

So we gathered together to shoot some aikido that will hopefully in the future promote the art. Louis is working on a project tentatively called kamiwaza which will span sports, music, as well as our aikido section. He has already interviewed Phil Jackson, coach of the NBA champion Lakers and author of Sacred Hoops, a wonderful book combining basketball and spirituality.

So we were put in front of the camera. I've done several shoots before. We were featured in a George Chung movie entitled Hawkeye. I personally did a shoot with Sue Ann McKean in the '80's during her bodybuilding phase. It was just photos and shot in Cuesta Park in Mt View. More recently I did a shoot with Foster Gamble for his documentary to come entitled Thrive. We focused on the aikido chants and movements of the staff. It was very challenging in its own right.

We spent most of the shoot focusing on multiple attack. The camera would go for 10seconds at a time. The multiples were shot real fast. All out attack. In fact looking at them in real time it seemed things were artificially speeded up. Hopefully the slow motion sequences will come out well. We ended by doing some individual movements.

I want to thank the ukes. It was physically very demanding. They all took some strong hits but kept coming. There will be more to come as we prepare for the Raider half time show on Sunday Nov. 22nd.

Things are coming together on the fundraiser Nov. 15th. For particulars and updates, please click onto the following link:

I am including a video shot by Alex Kolbasov of the Japan town demo in September:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Even More 40th anniversary musings

A large part of my 40 years in aikido involves the San Jose dojo. The following story takes place in the late '70's. The end of 1977 or very early in 1978. I had returned from a stay in Japan that took up most of 1977. The area hosted Yoshimitsu Yamada sensei from New York. He taught seminars both in San Francisco and San Jose.

At a class at the San Jose dojo taught by Yamada sensei, Mary Heiny sensei and I were training together. It was a very brisk and spirited training, with lots of fast and focused ukemi. We were young then, training up a storm in a corner of the dojo, and it was just loads of fun. I think the technique was something in motion from rear attack.
Anyway, right in the sequence with me when Mary was the nage, she got a big surprise. Yamada sensei came in as an attacker. So both he and I both went in together taking brisk, clean and very spirited ukemi.

I want to point out that he momentarily left his own class just to train. He did not instruct us nor did he assume the position of senior and control the action. It seemed to me that something in what Mary and I were doing re-kindled in him a deep joy for just moving and training. It was wonderful to see. And we are talking about a man who was even at that time a very high ranked shihan from Hombu dojo, who now is in charge of aikido on the East Coast.

When we were in Japan in 2007, Nadeau sensei showed me the apartment he rented just around the corner from Hombu dojo. He told me that he and Yamada sensei would go there between classes and eat peanuts just to keep their body protein up during periods of intense training. They were old training buddies.

I want to remind people about the 40th anniversary training/celebration/fundraiser honoring my 40th year Sunday November 15. I hope to have more info to share with you soon. I am also including a new video from last months demo at the Japan town festival. I hope you enjoy it