Monday, October 03, 2011

Iaido class in San Jose

We recently had our World Peace Training on Sunday September 11th. It was well attended and there were some great demos as a part of this event. One thing this allowed me to do was to work again with Dianna Lynne and her wolf Vladi. A couple of years ago after a workshop in Sebastopol at Centerfield Aikido she and I did a video together of sword drawing and cutting with music in the background. And of course Vladi added his magnificent presence to the event. It went well and happened to be filmed by James Gauer. So after a couple of years we decided to try it again. And a video was done anew.

I have done some sword cutting with her. It is different than working with a bokken. One thing that was stressed in Shingu, especially by Hikitsuchi sensei and Tojima sensei was the importance of treating the bokken as if it were a live blade. Hikitsuchi sensei insisted that Osensei told him if one mastered the secret of aikido a bokken would be alchemically transformed into a live blade, ie a cutting weapon. And as has been recorded earlier, I have seen Tojima sensei literally cut through a bokken with his own bokken.

If working with a bokken there is a tendency to work the cut off the body. Of course that is what happens anyway. But with a real sword cutting through an object there is not the feeling of weight that can come with a bokken cut. It is as if the body and the sword unite and create another level of body where the sword in some sense leads. It is a very interesting feeling. And if you go mental or muscle the sword just bounces off the target.

Even though aikido is outwardly a grappling art, on another level its movement is based on the cutting movement of the Japanese sword or the thrusting/cutting movement of the Japanese spear. A lot of the concept of tai sabaki(body changes) come from this weapons traditions and are practiced in aikido as body arts. These days one cannot walk around with a sword or spear.

Dianna is currently teaching an iaido class at the San Jose dojo the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month following the noon class. She is also a gifted bodyworker and healer an on some occasions will be available for those sessions as well. For more information check


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