Thursday, 9 May 2013

Yoshinkan Aikido Senshusei Training Program


A few years ago the book Angry White Pajamas was published, telling the story of one man's experience learning Yoshinkan Aikido in Japan. The book was a big hit as it was well written, funny, and informative. The last I heard, negotiations were under way for the film rights, but since then...nothing!

I came across this ten-minute film on YouTube recently and found it interesting on a number of levels. First of all, and more than anything else, I really admire these young people for getting off their collective backsides and going to Japan. That so many young people these days are too scared to step outside their comfort zone, speaks poorly for the future of the martial arts.

That said, I found almost everything else in the film slightly disturbing. The militaristic atmosphere of the dojo, the harmful exercises, the sensei feeding off the adulation of the students, and the (much too willing) number 2, who is trying way too hard to be "Japanese". All of these things smack of those twin desires that plague the martial arts these days: the desire to be a disciple, and the desire to be a god ( with a very small 'g' ).

My concerns to one side however, I think the karate world could do with young people like the aikidoka in this film; individuals who are prepared to move beyond the excuses and their attachment to comfort: and make their life an adventure!