Dienstag, 15. Februar 2011

Ein weiteres beeindruckenden Iaido Seminar, diesmal im Syubukan Dojo Oberhausen (Englisch)

Wieder hielt hielt René van Amersfoort ein Iaido Seminar in Deutschland ab, diesmal in Oberhausen.
Anbei der Artikel in englischer Sprache (Verfasser sind unsere Niederländischen Freunde), der erneut sehr schön beschreibt, wie ein didaktisch durchdachtes und nach modernen Lehrmethodiken durchgeführtes Iaido Seminar aussehen sollte.

Jeder Leser der nun endgültig auf den Geschmack gekommen ist ein eyquisit geführtes Seminar zu besuchen, kann ich nur das Iaido Seminar mit Jock Hopson & René van Amersfoort am Freitag, 11. März bis Sonntag, 13. März im "Löwen Dojo" in Braunschweig empfehlen!!!



Saturday and Sunday 12 and 13 February 2011 dojo Syubukan led by Thomas Machozcek organized an iaido seminar with René van Amersfoort 7th dan iaido renshi. Approximately 25 students attended coming from Braunschweig (Löwen Dojo), Düsseldorf (Hakushinkai Dojo), Bremen, Dortmund, Hamburg, België and The Netherlands. Actually the main group are the same students seeing each other regularly at these seminars, keeping their iaido keiko continuously active and at the same time learning new things. Yes, learning new things is a must at seminars. New things that the students and their teachers can take back with them to their own dojos to research further and deeper. Especially for sandan, yondan, godan and runner ups for rokudan it’s important to learn new things and to change old habits. Sometimes it’s very difficult to change your own iaido, because the issue at a higher level is all about small, very small points. Which are so difficult to at first understand and secondly to implement in your training during and after these seminars. How to learn to use calmness in your iaido or how to learn to bring energy through your hands on the hilt into the point of the sword? That are two examples which needs extreme caution at a higher level. Thus need continuously tuition by a experienced iaido teacher. Everybody uses the sword during executing of kata. But although the movements externally look all the same, internally there are many differences in skill. So many differences that it takes a life time or even more to gain control over your own swordmanship. Just as it takes time in daily life to put something on the map and to keep it on the map, like the GASOMETER in Oberhausen ☺.


How do you gain control? That’s a mutual polishing between teacher and students. It’s a mutual benefit. Both learn during the process. That’s why it’s of no real importance to have a video of your teacher from ten years ago. Of course it has a historical value and it’s your iaido memory, but because of the ongoing learning process, students as well as the teacher should develop during their lifetime (keiko) training. A teacher needs students and students need an experienced teacher. Experienced in skill and teachings methods. The experienced teacher also must be able to teach students: FIGHTING SPIRIT. That means that the teacher must have experience himself in competition and vigorous training. To bring the students during the years into a fighting spirit mode is only possible if the students visit the dojo or the seminars very regularly and the teacher provides within the given lessons the elements necessary to reach this fighting spirit mode. One method is trying to fight as hard as possible lacking all other things such as calmness, technical points, balance and correctness. This sounds strange but to gain a certain more higher feeling of fighting deep inside, you have to step out of your own circle of daily routine. If you can’t rise your level of movements and heathen up inside to be ready for a fight, then you aren’t able to visualize your imaginary opponent (KASSO TEKI) during the fight. Bring your heartbeat above 180. Feel how your body and mind react and what kind of influences this has on the executing of your iaido techniques. Thus on you taking decisions during your fight. Decisions where your life depends on. Of course don’t use this training method all the time, but after a few kata executed in this way, try to come back into correctness and calmness etcetera but with an extra load called FIGHTING SPIRIT. For some students this is very difficult to do, that’s why they need constant tuition by a experienced teacher. Training on the sharpness of the edge!

After quite many basic exercises with a focus on ENZAN NO METSUKE and RHYTHM we learned that most of the students still find it difficult to use their eyes correctly and to observe seriously. Actually the teacher has to remind the students to use those skills over and over again, until it’s a common thing to do for them. Basic exercises construct the fundament on which experienced iaido skills are built on. Without understanding of the iaido techniques there is only copying. Without knowing how and where to look consciously, there is only unconsciously copying. Hollow iaido instead of nice - with inner techniques filled - iaido. Like you bought a Bounty chocaltebar expecting fine chocolate with a filling of tasteful coconut, but instead there is only the chocolate shell without the coconut.

From basics we went one time through the ZNKR seitei iaido gata (12 kata). Then we stayed for a long time at ipponme MAE. What we did this time, was that the teacher wasn’t showing so many kata classical, but the students were told to do this. During the ENBU (demonstration) of the students, the teacher used the students to correct their iaido on the spot at the same time heighten the ENZAN NO METSUKE and the OBSERVATIONAL SKILLS of the students looking at this type of ‘master class’. Because every student is different in skills, physics, rhythm and coordination etcetera, this type of teaching provides the class an enormous amount of points to think about and to correct and to be absorbed.
At the end of the day the students brains where almost overcooked because of the load of information. That’s also a skill: to be able to remember the given correction points during seminars. It’s learning all the way. It’s not a holiday. It’s not training one day only on two or three points. That would be good sometimes, but training too much repeatedly single techniques without profound skills is like repeating the wrong techniques over and over again, and in that way killing the correctness.

We also repeated the seven main points of MAE:
  • Is there enough SAYABIKI
  • Is the tip of the sword during FURIKABURI taken up high with a feeling of pointing to somebody who stands left diagonally behind you
  • Is the tip of the sword when above the head not under horizontal
  • Is the cutting – KIRIOROSHI - done without hesitation (is furikaburi and kirioroshi done in one rhythm)
  • Is the tip of the sword after kirioroshi slightly below horizontal
  • Is the CHIBURI executed correctly and
  • Is the NOTO executed correctly
We not only repeated them in a practical manner, but also repeatedly rehearsed it theoretically by letting different students of different levels repeating the points loudly and classically.

Especially for the higher grades attention was drawn to balance themselves during executing their techniques. Balance in combination with KI KEN TAI ITCHI. A soft and smooth approach was recommended and it was noticed by the teacher because of the reaction of the students that this approach is very difficult. Power is not needed. During the process of executing the techniques power is developed naturally. That’s more efficient than when students apply power in the wrong way. It’s a FINGERSPITZENGEFÜHL. It’s difficult, so it needs to be studied more.

Also special attention to USHIRO: the second seitei kata. Two types: basic (for beginners so up to sandan level) and advanced (sandan and higher). The difference is that the advanced type stresses to turn immediately without coming up first. Looking and keep on looking during turn is important to make the flow and stay smoothly. Then the teacher explained about FUMI KAI (not to execute it this way) and FUMI KOMI (correct way to execute in this kata). And holding the left knee into a steady position after the turn while executing nukiuchi.

Then on to executing many repetition of the standing UKENAGASHI exercise with one and two hands. During all three seitei kata also the way of executing the NOTO was looked at. Again being in balance, with your left and right arm is important. Without balance their can’t be a notion of keeping the centre. Especially for yondan level it’s of great importance how to control your centre by all means.

Slowly we went into KORYU and we trained quite a few forms of the OMORI RYU. With at the end focus on SHOHATTO and also on INYO SHINTAI. During the whole seminar there was a nice balance between technical approach and periods of hard work.

At a certain point we went silently into training whole OMORI RYU, whole HASEGAWA EISHIN RYU and whole SUWARI WAZA OKUDEN. A small group of experienced students went as a kind of example (enbu) into executing HAYA NUKI also ones with KATATE WAZA. This is only a training method to be used in the dojo after many years of practising the koryu kata. Again be sure first to make the fundament before moving on to higher skilled technical training.

To learn a nice rhythm four kata were choosen from the TACHI WAZA OKUDEN which were well and a long time trained. Especially the attention of the yondan and godan iaidoka was drawn to executing those kata with a nice flow, learning moving without stopping. Learning how to use the principles of KANKYU KYOJAKU meaning the relationship between slow and fast & strong and weak.

Literally KANKYU KYOJAKU means: slow (KAN), fast (KYU), strong (KYO) and weak (JAKU). During training of iaido kata it’s important to learn on which moments you have to move fast or slow and to learn which movements relaxed or at the contrary has to be executed strongly. Not all movements of an iaido kata must be executed as fast as possible or as strong as possible. KIRIOROSHI must be of course a strong movement, but CHIBURI must be executed very relaxed.

To learn the rhythm of a kata, TANAYA Sensei advised the following trainingmethod:
  • Start executing a kata in SLOW MOTION. Execute all movements as slow as possible. Repeat this approximately five times.
  • Then execute the same kata with MORE SPEED then normally necessary. All movements have to be executed as fast as possible maintaining the correctness of the movements. Repeat also this approximately five times.
  • At last execute the kata with the CORRECT RHYTHM with EMPHASIZING on FAST-SLOW and STRONG-WEAK.
Especially when you as a student has nobody in your dojo who can correct you, this trainingmethod mentioned above is an excellent way to learn yourself the rhythm of a kata and to learn how to understand the rhythm of a kata.

More at the end of the seminar we went through the whole ZNKR seitei kata (12 forms) again but this time with more explanation. After one break we started with a technical approach of executing nanahonme SANPO GIRI paying again much attention to KANKYU KYOJAKU.

During the seminar there were several demonstrations:
  • A KORYU JODO demonstration in which the CHUDAN serie was shown fully.
  • An UCHIDA RYU TANJO JUTSU demonstration (12 kata) was shown in which timing and coordination is important. TANJO JUTSU belongs to the so called FUZOKU BUDO (the techniques belonging to the curriculum of the SHINDO MUSO RYU JODO)

At the end of the seminar the students in several groups made some ENBU of a set of kata in which they could show the other students and the teacher what was learned during the seminar. You saw all performers do their utmost to show the points learned this weekend.
Also one student who is preparing for his yondan examination had to perform alone a set of five kata (one koryu and four seitei). His task was to keep the centre and keep his head straight up in the meanwhile using KANKYU KYOJAKU. A difficult task, that’s why the above mentioned trainingmethod is written down once again in order to be of help to this student. Gambatte kudasai.

When the iaido seminar was finished, there was one hour JODO given by the teacher to eight students. Again KANKYU KYOJAKU with special attention to relaxation was stressed.

At the end of the JODO lesson the organizer of the OBERHAUSEN seminar Thomas Machozcek had to execute the twelfth seitei jo gata RANAI several times with Marjan de Block, which gave some nice fights and a display of the right use of fighting spirit.
Although the distance could be better both students learned a lot of this way of training.

The iaido seminar was ended with a group photo. All students were exhausted and technically refreshed. For the teacher it’s nice to notice that when looking to the last two years many students improved because of their continuous training. This means hope for the future and thus a good development towards the challenges of a higher iaido examination. The coming three years the teacher will be focusing more and more on the higher grade students in order to help them to reach that higher level. Moving without stopping. Go with the flow. Until next time.

Dojo Kiryoku
February 2011


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