Monthly Archives: January 2016
Last month I graded in Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu for the first time.
I have trained with Oisin and Megumi Bourke for one and a half years and thus far the experience has been deeply fascinating. Also rewarding, I am learning to use my body in a more relaxed manner, benefiting my posture, my breathing and mental composure. The focus of the training is to use ‘Aiki’. Subtle movements of extension emanating from the center. The techniques used can be seen in variation in many systems of Jujutsu and Aikido. However the focus and level of control is different. It is something that must be felt to even begin to be understood.
The Daito Ryu of the Muden Juku is headed by Hiroo Iida, a direct student of Kodo Horikawa from whom he received the rank of Shihan. Oisin spent 8 years living in Sopporo training under Iida Sensei during which time he studied with the group and privately, a important part of training as direct transmission is the only way for the school to stay alive. For Oisin passing on what he learnt accurately is of vital importance.
The training of Daito Ryu is divided into three parts. Jujutsu, Aiki Jujutsu and Aiki no Jutsu. The focus of the Muden Juku is Aiki no Jutsu, the most subtle aspect of the School, although we also practice occasionally the Aikijujutsu techniques to better understand specific principles. In Aiki no Jutsu the goal is control via the center, whereas in Aikijujutsu you usually control through a joint manipulation.
The training method is Katageiko. This term is common to most traditional Japanese Budo. The student repeats an exercise until it is time to move on, keeping their mind in the present and thus in connection with their body. The first Kihon practiced is Aiki Age. Pronounced A-gai. At a glance it appears very simple but with persistent practice its complexity becomes apparent. A lot of time is given to this one technique as it conditions the student for the entire practice and in this way the individual becomes a part of the Ryu (school). As the student becomes more conditioned by the practice, the body habits and reflexes improve accordingly and thus this connection to the Ryu deepens.
The practice of the Muden Juku is of great value, especially in our western cultures where often people think of body and mind as two separate things often even in opposition. Excessive intellectualising is counterproductive and frustrating. However with the mind calm the subtlety of the Art can be more readily perceived. I often feel both more relaxed and energised after the training. Besides from this the insight into Japanese Culture and Budo derived from these classes is must insightful.
Thank You to Oisin and Megumi for all the time and patience.
Muden Juku Ireland – oisinbourke.wix.com/daitoryu