Uchi-deshi stay in Iwama – April 2017.
SAITO Hitohira teaching: Katsu haya hi / 勝 速日
It is always an event to stay in Iwama as an uchi-deshi with Hitohira SAITO Sensei and his family. This place full of history, where lived O sensei, still remains a place where time suspends its flight and we find ourselves immersed in the heart of Aikido and traditional teaching. This year we were not less than 19 uchi-deshi who came from Italy, Brazil, Germany, Russia, Switzerland and France.
Among the various classes taught by Hitohira SAITO sensei during our stay, sensei insisted on the words of O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba in putting forward in his teaching the principle of “Katsu Haya Hi (速日 勝)” that could be translated as “the State of mind of a quick victory. It’s difficult to express by words what we have experienced in practice. Sensei insisted on this aspect during the various courses and makes us aware of the commitment required of the body but also the spirit in this commitment.
One of the images used by sensei that I keep in mind to illustrate this notion of “katsu haya hi” is the commitment of the light which is engulfed in a dark room when a door is opened. This fully illustrates the requirement of commitment in time required with the principle of awase that we must seek to develop in our practice in the face of the movements and openings that can offer our partner. Rush fully, clearly and generously in the movement of the other to apply your technique. As such, we find in this attitude rich elements linked to the shinto religion and the principle of Seimei (清明) which means an inner attitude free of impurity with a clear and joyful spirit.
On the other hand, our stay was marked by the appearance of the cherry blossoms and their celebration (hanami). For this occasion sensei has prepared some excellent yaki-soba. It was a wonderful time of sharing where during the meal, sensei traced us an explanation of Shinto Cosmology and the deep links it maintains with the practice of Aikido.
Thank you very much to the uchi-deshi who shared this incredible time with us, but also to Hitohira SAITO sensei and his family for their warm welcome and moments shared. I’m going back to France the suitcase full of precious memories and elements of jobs to develop our practice of Aikido. Iwama is truly a place where we learn on its own.