• INTERVIEW WITH ANTONINO CERTA SHIHAN ENTRETIEN AVEC ANTONINO CERTA SHIHAN

    Antonino Certa Shihan, responsable de la Daito-ryu Aikibudo Association nous livre ici la première partie d'une interview. Réservé aux anglophones ! [intense_hr shadow="1" /] ANTONINO CERTA SHIHAN - The curriculum I begun studying martial arts at the age of 15, studying simultaneously aikido (under the senior Japanese European masters of that time, and karate under Hiroshi Shirai Sensei. I then studied kendo for 5 years. I subsequently begun regular training in Japan over long periods in Abashiri, Hokkaido at the dojo of the Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, as an uchi-deshi of the late Soke Takeda Tokimune. After I have studied with the best elderly students of Tokimune: Sano, Kato and Arisawa Shihan. In Abashiri I have received the qualification of Shihan. - Activity Founded his own association "European Daitokai" to the purpose to spread the art of the Aikibudo in west. I regularly teacher the aikijujutsu and Ono-ha Itto-ryu kenjutsu in Milan. Every weekend direct seminars and specific courses for instructors in the most bigger Italian cities and also to the foreign countries, what: France, Spain, England, Russia Federation, Czech Republic, Portugal, Macedonia and USA. [intense_hr shadow="1" /]   testatina   Part one 1. Sensei, you are an expert in Martial Arts, with rich experience in different styles and schools. Prior to starting in Daito-Ryu, you dedicated many years to Aikido. Could you tell, how did you make a decision to start studying Aikido? A. I was 15years old, when I started in Martial Arts, being under big influence of the first movies about Kung-Fu. During those days "Kung-Fu movies" were swiping the West (1965).I have chosen AIKIDO ( By the way, those days it was hard to find Aikido Dojo, but thanks to my luck there was one of the first opened in Italy Aikido dojos in Milan.) because it appeared to be very elegant and effective system of self-defense. Two things attracted me: 1 - It was effective self-defense; 2 - beauty of the movements. In addition, I must say, I was at that time skinny teenager, but wanted to be better developed and better looking physically. Also, must say, those years (1965-1970) Aikido was a little more "rough" in comparison with what is being practiced today. The moves were shorter, more rigid, immobilizations, projections and throws were performed, what you would call "to the end". All of that attracted me. I was dreaming about becoming a samurai and interest in wearing hakama from first days was feeding my teenager dreams. Obviously I was fascinated with the "samurai´s world" and Japan as a whole. Next year I started also my training in Karate, so that to acquire additional skills and widen my horizons in Martial Arts. 2. When did you start feeling, that Aikido was not quite what you were looking for? A. As I mentioned, I was fascinated by the Aikido , as a Martial Art , but unfortunately I saw, that with the time, it is more and more moving away from its initial intention being strong Martial Art for self-defense, even though there still were Masters in world, who kept and preserved "original Aikido". Approximately during years of 1985-1990 "my Aikido" went through crisis. I attended many Seminars given by Japanese and non-Japanese Shihans, that took place in Europe, but though all of them highly spoke about philosophical component of Aikido, they left without proper attention the martial component of Aikido, that was no less important. Also I observed that if someone during the technique applied atemi, it did not look real, sort-off "non-orthodox". I saw that moves, especially taisabaki becoming more and more complex and there more and more "preparatory" moves and steps during one technique. During one technique shihan could make 5-6 taisabaki prior to finally throwing or immobilizing an opponent. I observed, that a lot of shihans show techniques only with their personal uke, who always were ready to "jump in the throw" with just about any indication of such throw, even when there was no physical contact. All of this was pushing me in a deep depression. Was it possible that all work and development accomplished by O´Sensei, all his long journey in Martial Arts degraded to such level. I could not then and I cannot now accept such interpretation of Aikido! Aikido still remained great Martial Art! But needed to make a step back an think about its own history. As a result of these thoughts I came to conclusion, that only return to its roots can bring back real Aikido. Only by finding and studying in depth original roots of Aikido, I could reconnect with my beloved Martial Art. The decision was made. In 1991 I moved to Abashiri, Hokkaido, leaving behind everything. The rest you should know, if you read my book   3. What do you think, what are the main differences between Aikido and Daito-Ryu? certa01A. Sometime people identify Aikido as a perfect life Philosophy, that can be also Martial Art. At the same time, Daito-Ryu can be perfect Martial Art, which can also be life Philosophy. But I disagree with this. Let´s take a glance at complicated journey of O´Sensei Morihei Ueshiba in the development of martial art crossing through all his life. Everyone knows, that there is a huge gap between the techniques of Aikido before World War II and after. For me Aikido remains beautiful Martial art, but following its evolution (from the position of martial component), aikido more and more distancing itself from practicality of the original foundation techniques (Aiki Jujutsu, Aikibudo). Now-days Aikido gives its adepts "own vision of life" [DO]; at the same time Daito-Ryu was and remains extremely practical method of self-defense [Jutsu]. Person, who practicing Aikido, more often than not, sees uke as a class-mate without which his spiritual and technical development would be impossible. For the Daito-Ryu practitioners uke is "an adversary", who must be concurred in shortest possible time frame. Please NOTE: I don´t want to say, that during Daito-Ryu practice the friendly and cooperative atmosphere is absent. Quite contrary, during the execution of the techniques uke attacks with all seriousness and continues withstand attack in every given moment, as a result shite (tori) will work in the most adequate speed for himself and safe for himself manner! I want to stress again: during the training / classes we treat the uke´s body and safety of uke we utmost attention and respect! Which been proven by statistics : traumas and accidents during Daito-Ryu training are very rare. The next important difference between the two is: the "static character" of Daito-Ryu techniques v.s. the "dynamic character" of Aikido techniques. The above described appearance is misleading. It is driven by the fact that in Daito-Ryu in order to efficiently and quickly execute technique we making minimum amount of steps / moves and moving trajectory is close to triangle in opposite to large taisabaki of now-days Aikido. The is a saying in our School "one second, one tatami", which means that reaction to attack and defense technique must be executed in one second and in area not exceeding 2sq. meters. Another, might be most visible difference is a use of the atemi, which unfortunately almost gone in Aikido. Every our technique, the defensive as well as offensive starts with an atemi to the opponent´s body, continues then with wrist locks, projections, pins, chocking, throws, e.t.c. and ends a lot of times with finishing atemi. During all training sessions in our school there is a segment of time dedicated to studying atemi [Aikikenpo].It is one of the most important components of training, right there with kuzushi, taisabaki, and aiki... The spirit and intentions of these two Martial Arts are quite the opposite. In very simplified terms : One is having tendency to neutralize attack in a peaceful way <<Hey, you attacked me but now I will exterminate your aggression in a peaceful way without any big harm to your body>>. Other: <<Hey, you attacked me and I will defend myself with the quickest and most effective means, causing maximum damage to your body>> . [It is not that simple in a real life. The application for use of both arts in a real life situations is quite more complex. V.S.] In Kenjutsu terms, that received a spiritual and philosophical meaning, the Aikido is a "the life giving sword" (katsujinken); Daito-Ryu is a "life taking [killing] sword" (satsujinken). [These obviously just a philosophical concepts]. 4. Sensei, could you offer couple of comments on Aiki principle in Daito-Ryu? A. Sure. In Abashiri the Aiki principle was a search for method of unification, blending with the movements of the attacker / uke. Simplified example of aiki: when opponent is pushing - you move back and pull; when he is pulling - you move forward and push similar in cases with katatedori, munedori, eridori. This is why the concept of Aiki is most important for understanding Ju [in Japanese refers to pliancy and ability of body and mind to adopt to circumstances spontaneously] There is nothing mystical here, connected with a concept of spirit. 5. How difficult for you was the transition from Aikido to Daito-Ryu? A. From the technical prospective there wasn´t much difficulties. I had a developed habit: every day, after the training sessions, write down techniques that were studied that day into my notebook (I still have this habit). When I was taught Ippondori , I wrote down "ikkyo-omote" followed by the description; when I was taught Gyaku-ude-dori, I wrote down "nikkyo-omote", followed by the description, and so on. That´s why it was easier for me to memorize a lot of techniques. The difficulty was in changing my view on-essentials of Martial Arts. I am talking now about the very decisive execution of techniques (Kimewaza). In Daito -Ryu Atemi is being used constantly, on the normal basis. When I for the first time saw , how kick being executed in idori/ suwariwaza, I couldn´t help but exclaimed :<< Wow! That´s the real Martial Art!>> I had to completely change my way of execution of the techniques, starting with my reaction time to the speed of actual execution of the technique. I´ll give you an example of typical reaction of Aikidoka to attack - first is to get out of the line of the attack with taisabaki, initial move is performed with increasing speed, at the end of the move, on exit from taisabaki, speed of the technique is constant, the whole body (same goes for the uke) moving with constant speed, all the way till the end of the technique. In the real fight it is impossible, every action and counter action of opponents are inconsistent and asymmetrical. Every action is happening in uncontrolled moment, speed is changing from zero to max and back every second, every opponent moves in his / her own manner, in their own way. That is why samurai in the ancient times were searching for the Ju [in Japanese refers to pliancy and ability of body and mind to adopt to circumstances spontaneously]. Based on the experience samurais established that this principal allows them to achieve maximum effectiveness with minimum applied energy and efforts. But at the same time it was the most complicated and difficult to learn the execution and proper implementation. This was the most difficult from what I have encountered. 6. What do you think, is it possible to combine practicing in Aikido and Daito-Ryu? A. Absolutely. Aikidoka through the training in Daito-Ryu will better understand the techniques that he /she practicing and their roots. As I stated before, if Aikidoka would make a "step back" from the historical prospective and looked deeply into the roots of Aikido techniques, it would positively affect their techniques execution. These two arts supplement each other and complete, Both can be studied simultaneously by the true fans of Japanese Martial Arts. 7. What were your first impressions after visit to Daitokan?   daitokan1A. Those days in order to be able to enter the Dojo it was necessary to have an invitation from someone who was training there. If you also wanted to train there too and take part in training sessions, you had to have a written invitation /recommendation from respected person , who was personally known by Shihan. To my luck I did have such recommendation from my friend who was in charge of exporting an electrical equipment from Japan. When shoji (sliding Japanese doors ) of Daitokan were open in front of me for the first time I thought to myself: <>. The atmosphere of history and cloud of rigor were dominating inside. The parts of wide School curriculum were hanging on the walls inside the building: two large posters , one on each side (shimoseki and joseki) with the names of the techniques from Hiden Mokuroku, that allowed students to see and read the sequence of the techniques during the training sessions. On one of the walls also was a poster with descriptions of the Ono-ha Itto-Ryu Kenjutsu. daitokan14In the far back in the same fashion was positioned poster with Aikikenpo program. Funny story: obviously everything was written in Japanese characters, that I didn´t know how to read yet. However, because I was writing the names and sequences of the techniques into my notebook according to the Ikkajo list , during the training sessions I was able to show-off with my ability to "read hieroglyphs", precisely naming technique, that we were supposed to perform. But in reality I just new the location of the hieroglyph on the poster relatively to the actual exercise description. Point 1 - Ippondori, Point 2 - Gyaku Ude dori , something like that. My classmates were admiring the fact , that someone could learn to read in Japanese this quick. On a same side with Kamiza there stood a Shinto Altar, covered with the flag, made from the purple color cloth (color of the samurai and emperor)with embroidered on it mon of Takeda clan. On the structure supporting the altar was hanging a sheet of paper with written on it philosophical sayings, that sheet was replaced by new one every month.The cost of the 1 month course of training in 1991 was equivalent current 5 Euro!!! There was an open box in the lobby, filled with little purple bags with written on them names of all students. Everyone placed the money in these bags, and secretary collected them from there every month and noted down the payment after which the empty bags were returned to the box. Later I found out that this was traditional for all old Japanese schools (koryu). After all, it was my dream to be a member of such traditional Japanese Dojo, and it was an honor to be a student at such place. I started studying there and pretty soon felt very comfortable. To be contined [intense_hr shadow="1" /]

    Découvrez le Daïto Ryu :

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    Voir sur amazon, l'ouvrage en italien de Certa Shihan

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    Voir également, dans la boutique martiale, l'ouvrage  sur le Daito Ryu :

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xK4qGXEgS4&feature=youtube_gdata

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    Un nouvel ouvrage de Catherine Gravil est sorti récemment aux éditions de Paris Max Chaleil. [intense_hr shadow="1" /] Les douze champions dont Catherine Gravil dresse le portrait dans son livre Vainqueurs aux poings, paru aux éditions de Paris, étaient connus de la France entière. Alors, la boxe était l’un des sports les plus médiatisés. Le but de l’auteur n’est pas de s’étendre sur les causes du désamour des français à l’égart du noble art, sport de seigneurs entre tous, mais simplement de présenter douze des gloires du passé pugilistique, des hommes qui ont porté la boxe à son apogée et dont les noms claquent encore comme une référence absolue dans la bouche des aficionados… 2014-04-14_16h19_49Des gloires du passé, oui, mais surtout des légendes de la boxe car le temps a eu beau s’écouler, ces douze hommes demeurent des références. On pourrait objecter que la boxe a eu d’autres gloires, mais à un moment, il faut faire des choix, donc renoncer, la tristesse au cœur, à évoquer tous les immenses champions qui ont fait le prestige de leur sport. L’auteur n’a pas parlé de Georges Carpentier, de Marcel Thil, ni de Marcel Cerdan... Car son but n’était pas de faire un dictionnaire de la boxe en France depuis ses débuts, mais de rendre hommage à douze hommes qui sont encore dans la mémoire des amoureux du cercle enchanté, comme on disait autrefois... Catherine Gravil a voulu montrer que l’image du boxeur qui finit mal est une fable. En effet, ces « douze » ont réussi leur vie, une fois les gants raccrochés, comme tant d’autres professionnels du ring beaucoup plus anonymes. Ainsi dans cet hommage à « ces vieilles gueules du passé » les boxeurs d’aujourd’hui ne peuvent-ils avoir leur place… Dans vingt ans, peut-être… Ces douze champions sont les derniers à avoir été de véritables, d’authentiques « vedettes » du noble art. On ne peut connaître et apprécier une discipline sans en savoir les règles et sans en connaître l’héritage. C’est pourquoi ce livre a pour vocation d’être un lien, la courroie de transmission entre l’histoire et l’actualité. En effet, si on ignore le passé, le présent ne se comprend pas, ou il se comprend très imparfaitement. Au Palais des Sports, ou encore à la salle Wagram, il était un homme que tout le monde appréciait : un « faiseur d’ambiance » que les stars tutoyaient, un personnage hors du commun. Il aimait les boxeurs. Les boxeurs l’aimaient. Aussi connu que le loup blanc, sur les champs de course comme au bord des rings, Sydney était et demeure un personnage inoubliable autant que mythique. Aujourd’hui on ne le voit plus. Et surtout, on ne l’entend plus. Pourtant la boxe a toujours un public. Mais le fait que ce  thermomètre,  spontané autant que mystérieux, que fut la personnalité de Sydney dans le monde de la boxe, soit désormais devenu comme un crépuscule du passé, indique que cette boxe contemporaine des « douze », n’est malheureusement plus de ce monde. Tant de nos grands hommes ont aimé la boxe, qu’il s’agisse d’écrivains comme Hemingway, Morand, Cendrars, Cocteau, ou d’hommes de spectacle à l’image de Belmondo, Delon, Lelouch, mais aussi de jeunes comme Cornillac ou Raphaël… L’auteur tente d’appréhender cette vérité certaine que les champions français de boxe continuent- sans doute pour longtemps- d’incarner un idéal dans lequel le sens du mot héroïsme n’est pas étranger. L’image d’un homme qui monte sur un ring, avec pour seules armes ses gants et son courage, face à un autre homme, strictement armé de la même puissance, reste l’alpha et l’omega de tout ce qu’est la boxe. Le premier geste qui définit la virile hauteur de ce sport, c’est le dernier geste de deux boxeurs au moment du gong final. Ils tombent dans les bras l’un de l’autre. Quel autre sport en dit autant ? Vainqueurs aux poings, éditions de Paris Max Chaleil. 15 Euros. [intense_hr shadow="1" /]

    2014-04-14_15h42_30Recommandé par Art-martial.org !

    Ne vous privez pas de cette lecture de qualité ! Cliquez sur l'image, pour vous  procurer ce livre dans la "boutique martiale"...

     

      [intense_hr shadow="1" /]  

  • Unique Meetings at the USAMA Tournament Event

    I recently had the opportunity to attend the 1st Annual Grand International Tournament for the United States Association of Martial Artists. USAMA is an organization developed by Sue Hawkes in honor of the late James Hawkes and in the spirit of the previous United States Karate Association developed by Robert Trias in 1948.

    The inagaural USAMA event featured a number of high quality practitioners and special guest instructors, many of whom I had the pleasure to meet and train with. I’d like to share a little of my experience and talk about the interesting people who shared their time with me.

    usama board

    Back to Competition

    Back in ‘the day’ I attended tournaments fairly regularly but once I got my fill I decided to move my focus and energy elsewhere. As such it has been a number of years since my last competition, with only one or two events sprinkled into the last decade. Despite that I was excited to support my instructors who were attending the USAMA event and the other quality martial artists who I knew would be in attendance.

    A week or two ahead of time I decided which weapons and empty hand forms I wanted to try. For some reason I decided to be bold and go for a bo form that I had never demonstrated publicly before. This would prove to be something of a rookie mistake. I practiced the form diligently leading up to the competition and focused on it mentally even when I wasn’t training. I went over it again and again in my head. Unfortunately there’s a point in mental preparation where you can turn focusing-in to psyching-out. I did the latter.

    (video of the kata in question, filmed at an earlier date:)

    When it came time to compete my nerves were on high alert and I ended up bouncing the bo off of my leg at one point…a mistake that had never happened during my practice. Woops.

    I was disappointed, as you might imagine. However the experience immediately burned away all of my extra nerves and reminded me of some of the obvious mistakes in preparation I made. When it came time to do my empty hand kata I had a lot more fun and executed a much better kata.

    Meetings to Remember

    In the evening I attended a very nice banquet where annual point winners were announced. As this was my first tournament in a long time I was not involved in any point games. However afterward I retired to the bar area with my instructors Bruce and Ann Marie Heilman as well as Jody Paul.

    jody paul, glenn keeney, bruce heilmanA few minutes later we were joined by Glenn Keeney. For those who might not be familiar, Keeney is one of the senior-most Goju Ryu practitioners in the United States and a competition champion. He is also known for starting the PKA (Professional Karate Association), the preeminent sanctioning body for kickboxing and karate events.

    There must have been some senior rank energy in the room because shortly after we were joined by Bill “Superfoot” Wallace and his student Stephen, as well as Robert Bowles. Bowles Hanshi is one of the senior students of Robert Trias as well an important connection to the old USKA. Bill Wallace is one of the most famous and successful karate competitors of our generation and is known for his unparalleled kicking technique.

    All of this came together quickly and I couldn’t have been happier about it.  Not many people realize that Glenn Keeney and Bill Wallace are long time friends and even traveled the country together, visiting schools of all shapes and sizes in order to train and fight. Having them back together and mixed in with all of the other seniors resulted in some great story telling. Happily I was able to meet up again with these individuals a day later for another dinner and chat session.

    karate roundtable

    I’ve always maintained that the context in which we train, and our shared history, is second in importance only to training itself. I find long conversations, like the one described here, to be invaluable in the growth and understanding of an art like karate.

    A Day of Seminars

    jody paul matt apsokarduAs much fun as I had hanging out with all of those seniors I was even happier to spend the whole next day in training seminars. First I assisted Jody Paul Hanshi in teaching Motobu Udundi techniques. He focused on some of the most fundamental footwork and “dance” that makes the classical joint manipulation of Motobu work.

    After that I hustled over to the seminar hosted by Fumio Demura Sensei. In recent years Demura Sensei had experienced some health problems but he was back in gi and able to demonstrate technique. With the help of one of his senior students we practiced a few basic drills and bunkai applications from the kata Pinan Shodan. Demura Sensei ran his class with great spirit – lots of hard work, energy, and effort.

    fumio demura matt apsokarduBill Wallace took over after that for a fast paced three hour session. He guided us through some fantastic stretching and kicking mechanic drills. Wallace Sensei shared some of his proven and effective tactics for fighting and utilizing kicks efficiently. Wallace Sensei is a fantastic teacher and entertainer. Even though we were working hard he kept us motivated and interested in the subject matter. Having him kick me in the head with ease was a true learning experience. After the session I felt some serious jelly-leg effects and would continue to feel it for the next few days.

    To wrap up the day I assisted The Heilmans in a classic Okinawa Kenpo bo fighting drill set. We partnered up and worked through the two person set, analyzing the basics of the form as well as some of the finer details that make the methods effective.

    Event Wrap Up

    Getting a chance to compete, socialize, and train all at one event was a fantastic opportunity. Getting to spend an extended amount of time pestering senior practitioners with questions was a great thrill and worth the trip all on its own.

    I congratulate everyone involved in the production of the event and thank them for their effort. Who knows, maybe this will give me the itch to compete again in the near future.


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