Today is typically only a Soke class day, but I decided to try out a class from Rob Renner, a resident here, before going to Soke’s. I was mainly interested in it from working with Dan Hildebrand in Nagato Sensei’s class, and was impressed with his movement. He suggested I try a class at Rob’s. I’m definitely happy I did.

Rob Renner Sensei

Rob is pretty nice, and we often talk when we run into each other here. He studies body mechanics and is sponsored to train here.

Rob has a system that he uses to decode, explain, and define the key elements of what Soke and both the Shihan are teaching. He refers to these 9 areas as Kanami or pins that hold everything together.

He drilled us on the first – distance, by using a muto dori excersise similar to what Joel Everett taught at the seminar we had a while back. He then started explaining the timing – the next kanami using the excersise. Essentially it involves not waiting for the attack but rather moving before the attacker in time.

The real mind blowing part came with doing resistant training, where the uke is very non compliant. Rather than using force to overcome their force (which would only work when stronger) he breaks down the balance using small but deliberate movements to break their body structure.

When doing other kihon, he explained how to position yourself so that when the uke resists or counters they fall into the technique – creating a trap for them.

It was quite an eye opener. What I like about Rob’s class was there was a focus on what is practical, and helps make the connection with the soft subtleties of what the Shihan do as well as what seems like would be practical in their real world. I highly recommend that everyone at least try it out once.

Soke Hatsumi Sensei

There was no cameras this time, so class was a bit back to normal. Rob’s class and the training thus far helped me see alot more of what Soke was doing, and I could begin to follow a few key movements. I couldn’t necessarily replicate it, but I began to understand why I couldn’t and the pieces that were missing.

I also noticed that there are elements of each Shihan in his movements: he caught a punch like Nagato, he danced around in the space like Noguchi, his subtle twists of his spine like Shiraishi, the subtle contact and manipulation of Seno, and his absolute precision like Someya. There is of course much more overlap than just that, but if you look closely enough you can see this convergence of movement. On face value these teachers might seem that they are teaching very different things – but in reality it all connects on a very deep level.

I’m hoping to get deeper insights as we move into day 6…

Shidoshi Hamilton

Scott Hamilton is an 8th degree black belt in the Bujinkan, and travels regularly to Japan to train. In addition to being the owner and head instructor of Todai Dojo, Scott is also the CEO of a national manufacturing company. He has also received training in other martial arts, and in-depth modern weapons training.

One thought on “May Japan Trip 2016 | Day 5

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