Endo Shihan enbukai in Saku

17 05 2012

This is just a small but so relevant (for me) video from sensei demonstration at the 18th Saku International Aikidô Kenshûkai in Saku, Japan.

What I especially love in this video is a concept typical in Iaido but not so developed in Aikido: the concept of “seme“, 攻め, literally “attack, pressure”, that from my learning it is not a physical attack, but it is more metaphysical, psychological, expressed by the power transmitting from the eyes of the samurai, by the way, before drawing the sword, one looks at his opponent. Iaido is anyway “saya no uchi de katso“, the victory (the outcome) is in the scabbard, everything is decided before drawing the sword.

In Gorin no sho, “The Book of Five Rings” (五輪書 by Miyamoto Musashi), it is said: “The body merging with the katana, united, becoming one”. So it is not need a physical manifestation of the pressure you give to your opponent, to disrupt his sense of confidence and resolution, prior to an attack.

And this is exactly what sensei is doing toward the end of the video!

I can tell that the first time I saw Endo sensei freezing the strike of uke in midair just thanks to a sudden shift in his stare, I felt goosebumps! Not only timing, as sensei always says, but my mind jumped to my Iaido training: before performing any movement in the kata we had to visualize the scenario of the kata and then “be there”, mentally and psychologically, then transmit this presence not only with the cuts but with the eyes and full presence as well.

In Aikido we focus more on zanshin, 残心, the state of mind at the completion of an action (important in Iaido as well). Combining this with the feeling before any movement, with seme, the technique, if necessary, becomes whole. If your opponent has also a budo mind, probably would see in your eyes there is no need to fight.

Anyway, there are only my personal considerations: long time I do not practice Iaido and my teacher was never a recognized one. Also, being only at the beginning of my martial art path, if I wrote something too silly, please forgive me. But these are my feelings, my understanding for now.

I got more or less the full video (unfortunately lots of Japanese talking, bad audio, no English), but I have to uploaded to youtube (in some ways.. remember, the great firewall of China!!)..

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2 responses

17 05 2012
svein

I never did Iaido, but I really like what you are writing about the “pressure”. I felt it many times.

Nice article! 😉

Thanks for uploading the rest of the demonstration, I have been dying to see it! 😉

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17 05 2012
Pedram

Interesting perspective! Seme is fundamental part of Kendo..Without seme -> no opening, without opening -> no effective strike..

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