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Shimamoto Sensei's FudoShin

posted 3 Jun 2010, 03:53 by aikidorepublic   [ updated 7 Jun 2010, 06:09 by Unknown user ]
A few weekends ago Shimamoto Shihan visited Bayside Budokai. Sensei is a full-time priest and aikido instructor in the Osaka area at Shosenji temple and has visited Australia several times previously. An internationally renown instructor  he is often teaching at large international seminars these days, so it was a rare treat to have something much more intimate, courtesy of  David Kolb Sensei's invitation. Shimamoto sensei spoke of his time as a young man training sometimes with O'Sensei but mostly with Osawa Sensei - one of the most senior practitioners at aikikai hombu and it was interesting to see his view on aikido and its similarities with other prominent instructors from this time.

Sensei created this instant atmosphere of relaxation as he stepped onto the mat. Bowing in for me was immediately quite experiential as sensei sat facing in Kamiza I felt the tension flow out of my shoulders and my whole body relax immediately, I am not sure how intellectually but it was a lasting powerful memory of the seminar and really set the scene.  He explained that although he was out the front we were all bowing together and invited us all to explore aikido together. Aikido he said is not to fight but to work together.

Through what seemed like a series of techniques that were only somewhat related it became clear that sensei's objective to to get us to work together as a group and i can only gather that the techniques were just a vechile for this deeper learning. We shall strive for Fudoshin he said, which is not an immovable mind but a flexible one. Thus we were not to pay undue attention to uke's attack as that allows uke to have control, instead to note it and move on.  Keeping a clam mind is like a still lake - you can see everything reflected clearly but if there is a disturbance it is much more difficult.

He made a lot of  use of a standing zen like posture for hanmi to encourage us to have the same feeling as a sitting meditation, but in the  midst of movement and technique. He said this posture did not have the aggressive tendencies of our normal hanmi but instead instead encourages us to relax, keep the Zen like state and to draw Uke into our centre.

In speaking of the relationship of Uke-Nage he said Japanese food is made up of many ingredients, each ingredient has plusses and minuses but together they can still make  great food. Our job is to bring out the best in each other, Nage should respect Uke and not just throw him around. Its a rude thing to ignore Uke like this and instead thank him at the end. In several conventional ways he suggested slight changes in posture that facilitated moving uke invitation rather than force. 

In grabbing Sensei it seemed I had control but then it was released away, not returned to me at all but just released and there was opportunity to fall to the mat. 

Special thanks to Kolb sensei (again) for generous invitations to attend events in his school. Thanks also to Sue for permission to use here photo of Shimamoto Sensei

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