Day 3 offered a huge treat in Soke’s Class, but first we had Noguchi Sensei on the rotation.
Class revolved around Shinden Fudo Ryu, Shizenshogoku no Kata. With each technique, Noguchi Sensei did the usual of breaking techniques into peices through henka, emphasizing something here or there. I’m begin to notice some real subtle things he does as he dances around the opponent. He emphasized as he frequently does using the whole body – each component plays a part in controlling and affecting the opponent. I got to experience a few techniques with him, and no matter how much I feel like I’m going to hit him – even at a slow pace – I still can’t. It’s quite remarkable. He also showed some ranking of the nails in areas that hurt like hell, and break the opponents balance. It is quite a sight to see him move.
Soke Hatsumi Sensei
We had a real treat in class and I got to witness several things I have never before. NHK was filming a program and had a young actress come who also happened to be a Karateka. She stuck out in the room quite a bit with her white gi.
When soke arrived, he began pulling the Shihan out to do a demonstration for the cameras. First up was Someya Sensei: Several students brought out a tarp, and a stand for tameshigiri. Someya walked out with a live blade, and began to prepare to cut. His movement was swift but smooth. The cut tatami piece began to teater. There was this brief moment – a millisecond – where you could tell he was analyzing the next cut – and then a swift swing and the tatami was obliterated. He’s known for his swordsmanship skills, and it was quite something to watch his form as he cut.
Soke then brought out swords to show fighting multiple opponents. In one technique he threw his sword at Someya – a live blade – to stop his attack. You could tell he threw the blade in such a manner not to actually injure him, but to stop the attack. The dull side managed to land on both his arms. In another technique, he made blade on blade contact to swoop the sword out of the uke’s hands. Mind you we are all along the sides of the dojo, so a sharp blade flying across the room would have likely injured someone. However, he managed to do it in such a manner that the sword fell in between us and the uke – keeping everyone safe. The level of control and skill was quite amazing.
The karateka was then invited to attack the Shihan, with each one performing a technique. Her form was impressive as she gave a very fast and clean karate punch. The Shihan simply danced around her, pinning her to the ground. “She should feel a little pain so she can understand” Soke said. And with a smile, each Shihan would do something here and there to help her let out a slight wince and a tap to the floor. They were all very much gentlemen about it, and there were always smiles once the pain was let off.
While like most of us I’ve seen quite a few videos of Soke demonstrating something to the cameras, it was quite a difference to be in the room while it was happening. It seemed extremely unrehearsed, as each Shihan gave a slightly bewildered look when asked to do something by Soke. Yet everything managed to be executed with insane precision and technique. The level of skill in the room was unparalleled.
So it seems there might be a slight chance that in one of the videos floating around out there, you might see a face you recognize in the background: it will be the one with the jaw dropped.
Onto to Day 4 with Shiraishi, Nagato, and Someya.