Revisiting Old Friends

Given that we are many months from the next grading and that there is a School trip to Aizu approaching rapidly, I have been teaching some of our older style techniques.

These are usually reserved for senior students and have not been taught within the School on any regular basis for over a decade.

Chronologically speaking they fall much closer to the original Aizu Han forms than to say modern Aikido and would probably cause some students of the more gentle, twenty-first century, aikido schools to run in horror screaming, “You can’t do that! That’s not love, harmony and the gentle art of ki!”

This is, in a roundabout way, one of the reasons we do not normally teach them as part of our regular practice; they are too easily misinterpreted.

Yes, there is a strong degree of uncomfortable physicality to them; their emphasis on the use of atemi ho can be a challenge to some students, as can the degree of flexibility demanded of uke in dealing with some of the locks, but there is no denying the Aiki either.

They are a direct link to the history of our art.

They may even be of immediate practical use, if I carry through with my threat to gift one of the students with an “I love Satsuma” or “Chōshū rule!” T-shirt to wear when we attend the Aizu Wakamatsu Matsuri in September. Hopefully, their knowledge of history would cause them to decline such a gift, if not, then they have these techniques to fall back on.

That is if they have been attending classes regularly………..

Bottom line, though, is that I am teaching them again, not just because it is fortuitous timing, but because I enjoy them and have missed them.


Kai Cho

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