I attended a couple of sessions by Shihan Minegishi Mutsuko, one on Monday and the second one on Tuesday, 19 November.
The second one was held at SIM University, my wife took the opportunity to bring our 2 boys to UniSIM (as we used to call the place) to see the school which both their parents graduated from. It was sort of win/win for all. I get to train, my wife gets to bring back some nostalgic moments, the boys, well, get to see UniSIM and their dad train.
I’ve attended class with Shihan Minegishi before, and I know her style, but having not trained for a good 8 months due to work commitment, I chance this opportunity to clock some Aikido ‘mileage’.
Well, those who have trained with Shihan Minegishi, will know her, and her personality. And I was OK with her antics, which at times contradicts her. Put it simply, what she says, sometimes is not what she does. And what she does, is contrary to what she says. In short, she can be quite a character, and as feisty as a female shihan can get.
Towards the end of the session, she took a couple of us, from senior belts to beginners, to demonstrate an Ikkyo techinque, I was one of them, and the obvious fact is that I cannot execute an Ikkyo Omote Waza on her. There was no ‘opening’ and when there is, and when you get close enough, she would give you an atemi. But when she does the technique on us, or on me. it seems rather, easy.
For beginners, or even advanced practitioners, this is a very baffling effect. Why is it that when we get close to the sensei, we get an atemi, and when the sensei gets close to us, we do not atemi the sensei? Call it respect, call it hypocrisy, call it what it is, I am aligned to the former, more than the latter. Besides the fact that the Ikkyo was done, in a static manner, she is conducting a class, I am an instrument, for her to use in the conduct of the class.
In a static Ikkyo, you can resist to kingdom come, if you want to, it can go from static to a free for all, if you want to. Remember, Newton’s law applies in Aikido, things in motion stays in motion. Things that are static, remain static, resistance is a natural occurrence of a static phenomenon.
So it appears that the Ikkyo she does is more ‘superior’ to the Ikkyo we do, since she is able to ‘get us’, and we are unable to ‘get her.’ She eventually got frustrated, that we are unable to ‘get her’, and apart from calling me stupid (which to me is an honour, since she didn’t bestowed this on anyone else.) she went even further to challenge the class, and asked the class if anyone wants to try to do an Ikkyo on her.
Which is OK with me. Call me names, that is fine. I’m not going to let name calling frazzle me.
But my wife had another perspective.
She was on the top of the stairs looking down, and from that distance, she cannot hear what she said (my eldest son, claim he heard her called his dad ‘stupid’) but she didn’t like her style. And she says Shihan Minegishi did too many ‘cheap shots’. She didn’t know what the hell is an Atemi, and perhaps, neither does Shihan Minegishi.
When she said ‘cheap shot’ it struck me. She continue to say that she has seen Harry sensei’s technique and he does not ‘cheap shot.’ Having heard that confirmed what struck me. Harry sensei does not do ‘atemi’. I posted this topic 6 November 2012, ( https://whoisrandylim.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/no-atemi/) Harry sensei does not hit you, and if he does, it will come with a heavy dose of explanation as to why he does it. for Shihan Minegishi she does it, because she can hit you, period.
When I give further thought to it; it dawned to me that Shihan Minegishi had a “Brad Pitt ala Troy Moment.’ where in the film, he played Achilles and his entry fight for the Battle for Thessaly. After slaying the larger opponent with one stab, he stood in front of the enemy and uttered the iconic phrase ‘Is There No One Else? Is There No One Else?’ When she openly challenged the class to do an Ikkyo on her, she did exactly what Achilles did. Which of course, just like in the show, There is no one else. Otherwise, Achilles, will not be Achilles, would it?
The point is, I would have let everything go as if it was a natural thing to have happen in a dojo, until my wife came along with her ‘untrained eyes’ gave me that input, and enlightened me, and show me an irrefutable observation. Shihan Minegishi does cheap shot, and Harry sensei does not. Go figures which one has a better grasp of the Budo principles. For me the choice now, is even more clearer!