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Aikido & Kendo, The Sporting Way 1:4

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In the treasury of the Kōfuku-ji temple in the ancient Japanese city of Nara is a statue that is 600 years old. It is the god with a thousand arms. Nearly all the god's 1000 hands hold a different weapon, and each weapon demands a different skill. The weapons are a catalogue of the martial arts in medieval Japan. 600 years later, the same weapons are still used in Japan, but no longer in battle. The Way of the Warrior has become for many people the Way of the Sportsman. The ancient techniques have been developed to fit into the modern world. Also in the Kōfuku-ji temple, there is a group of rare wooden statues, about 4 in high, of warriors in fighting postures. Some unarmed, some with weapons. They were also carved about 600 years ago. They show, in their variety of gesture, that the same basic movements have been used in fighting throughout the centuries. There is a continuity between the warriors of that time and the sportsman of today. Only the purpose has changed. All the ancient Japanese traditions suffered a traumatic shock when the Emperor of Japan surrendered in 1945. The American administration of Japan considered that the martial arts encouraged militaristic behaviour and stopped the practice of them. Instead, the Japanese were encouraged to take up American sports and the American way of life. They accepted many aspects of it eagerly. And it caused a revolution in their mental attitudes. Many of them were no longer content to accept that the main purposes of practising a martial art were philosophical and religious. And as a result, many of the old forms have been turned into sport. Aikidō is a sport that arose from this process. Once, it was a true martial art, called Aiki-jūjutsu. Then between the 1920s and the 1940s, it was changed into Aikidō. And it became a way of life. After 1949, it divided into two main schools. One continued to follow tradition. The other transfered it into a sporting system, with fighting contests. This is called Tomiki Sport Aikidō, after the master who developed it. An Aikidō contest is fought between a man holding a rubber dagger and his unarmed opponent. The contest is won by scoring points, awarded for a successful stab with a dagger, or a successful counter to it. Before 1945, there were only a handful of Westerners practising fighting arts. Though the Chinese and other fighting systems are practised throughout the world, they are still minority sports outside their own countries. The Japanese arts are the ones that are internationally popular. There are shops in Tokyo where it is as normal for the customers to be Western as Japanese. The customers are often men whose lives have been fundamentally changed by their training in fighting arts and the philosophy that is taught with them. Jim Elkin was such a man. He was known throughout Britain as a master of Aikidō, and Vice-Chairman of the Martial Arts Commission. This film is based on his ideas and experience. Unfortunately, he is a silent mentor, since he had not recorded his contribution before he died in Jan 1982. The shop that he visited is well-known to British martial artists. Many of them buy their equipment here. This international aspect of the fighting arts is one of the most important side-effects of its worldwide growth. In this process, prejudices are shed, and lives are enriched. This is exactly what happened to Jim Elkin. He was a member of the British security services for many years and much of his life is still secret. He also knew ancient Japanese martial techniques and especially the use of the Jō, or staff. Aiki-jūjutsu is the martial ancestor of the gentler Aikidō. First I attack the armour here, and attack a vital point to paralise the arm. Now I attack the next vulnerable part which is the wrist, and I break it. And you, because of the pain, will open your fingers and lose the knife. Then I take the arm up so, and jerk violently, which dislocates the shoulder. To finish off... He demonstrated these techniques to Japanese students of Aikidō, who don't usually study the older systems. Within Japan, even Jiu-Jitsu, the martial ancestor of Jūdō, is rarely studied. I dodge an attack here, control the wrist and break it, bring the hand up to the foe, keeping this pressure on here, And take away the throat here. Stretch across, crack the knee. At the relief of Singapore, Jim Elkin was a young rating in the British Navy. He saw the condition of prisoners in the Japanese prison camps, which left him with strong anti-Japanese feelings. However, in the 1970s, he met Master Kuguri, and they became close friends. This friendship changed Jim's mind about things Japanese. He became a Buddhist and head of the international section of the Tomiki Aikidō Federation. Kuguri is a master of Aikidō. He enjoys demonstrating brutally the effectiveness of Aikidō against Karate techniques. Master Kuguri enjoyed sharing all aspects of Japanese life with Jim Elkin, including the ritual of the bath, and the traditional meal to follow. Japanese food is a mixture of nourishment and display. So that a raw and still moving lobster is a great delicacy. The look is even more important than the taste.

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 59 seconds
Country: Brazil
Language: English
Views: 151
Posted by: halfleaf on Apr 9, 2010

Aikido & Kendo, The Sporting Way 1:4

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