Archives par mot-clé : mouvement régénérateur

L’état de santé selon le Seitai #2

Suite des entretiens ou Régis Soavi, qui enseigne et initie les personnes au Katsugen Undo (Mouvement régénérateur) depuis quarante ans, revient  à l’essentiel des thématiques autour du Seitai et du Katsugen Undo. Pour cette deuxième vidéo, c’est la notion de santé selon le Seitai qui est abordée.

Quelques informations complémentaires :

Le Seitai a été mis au point par Haruchika Noguchi (1911-1976) au Japon. Le Katsugen Undo (ou Mouvement régénérateur) est un exercice du système moteur extrapyramidal faisant partie du SeitaiItsuo Tsuda (1914-1984) qui introduisit le Katsugen Undo en Europe dans les années 70 en disait «Le corps humain est doué d’une faculté naturelle qui réajuste sa condition. Cette faculté […] est du ressort du système moteur extra-pyramidal »

Régis Soavi débute la pratique martiale par le Judo à l’âge de douze ans. Il étudie ensuite l’Aïkido, notamment auprès des maîtres Tamura, Nocquet et Noro. Il rencontre Tsuda Itsuo senseï en 1973 et le suivra jusqu’à son décès en 1984. Régis Soavi devient enseignant professionnel avec l’accord de ce dernier, et diffuse son Aïkido et le Katsugen Undo à travers l’Europe.

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Seitai et Katsugen Undo #1

Beaucoup de choses sont dites et circulent sur le web à propos du Seitai et du Katsugen Undo (ou Mouvement régénérateur). Dans cette série d’entretiens, Régis Soavi, qui enseigne et initie les personnes au Katsugen Undo depuis quarante ans, revient  à l’essentiel pour répondre à cette question « Qu’est-ce que le Seitai et le Katsugen Undo ? ».

Subtitles available in French, English, Italian and Spanish. To activate the subtitles, click on this icon. Then click on the icon to select the subtitle language.

Quelques informations complémentaires :

Le Seitai a été mis au point par Haruchika Noguchi (1911-1976) au Japon. Le Katsugen Undo (ou Mouvement régénérateur) est un exercice du système moteur extrapyramidal faisant partie du Seitai.  Itsuo Tsuda (1914-1984) qui introduisit le Katsugen Undo en Europe dans les années 70 en disait «Le corps humain est doué d’une faculté naturelle qui réajuste sa condition. Cette faculté […] est du ressort du système moteur extra-pyramidal »

Régis Soavi débute la pratique martiale par le Judo à l’âge de douze ans. Il étudie ensuite l’Aïkido, notamment auprès des maîtres Tamura, Nocquet et Noro. Il rencontre Tsuda Itsuo senseï en 1973 et le suivra jusqu’à son décès en 1984. Régis Soavi devient enseignant professionnel avec l’accord de ce dernier, et diffuse son Aïkido et le Katsugen Undo à travers l’Europe.

Hello Illness #2

Continuation of Régis Soavi Interview’s  about Katsugen Undo (or Regenerating Movement), a practice made by Haruchika Noguchi and spread in Europe by Itsuo Tsuda: article by  Monica Rossi  « Arti d’Oriente » (#4 / may 2000).

To read part 1 –> http://www.ecole-itsuo-tsuda.org/en/bonjour-maladie/

Part #2

– How can one define Yuki ?

-Let the Ki circulate.

– How can Yuki help to activate the Movement?

– It helps, in the case where one has done the three exercises, or the exercises for Mutual Movement (activation through stimulation of the second pair of points on the head ; that is another way to activate the Movement). Yuki helps because it activates ; It’s very important for me to say that Yuki is fundamentally different from what we often hear spoken of, because when we do Yuki, we void our heads, we don’t cure anyone, we don’t look for anything. We are simply concentrated in the act. There is no intention, and that is primordial. In the statutes of the dojo, in fact, it is underlined that we practice “without a goal” ».

Lire la suite

Hello Illness #1

Interview of Régis Soavi about Katsugen Undo (or Regenerating Movement), a practice made by Haruchika Noguchi and spread in Europe by Itsuo Tsuda: article by  Monica Rossi  « Arti d’Oriente » (#4 / may 2000).

« After reading the books of Itsuo Tsuda ( 1914-1984 ), I was fascinated by his arguments, which range freely from the subject of Aïkido to that of children and the way they are born, illness, or his memories of Ueshiba Morihei and Noguchi Haruchika, and I wanted to know more. I continued to have a sensation of something beyond my understanding.

So I began to ask, what exactly is this Regenerating Movement (Katsugen Undo ) that Tsuda spoke of, a spontaneous movement of the body that seemed able to rebalance it without needing to intoxicate it with medication ; an ancient concept but still revolutionary, above all in our society. I was unable to get any satisfactory answers to my questions : those who have practiced the Regenerating Movement couldn’t describe it or explain ; the answer was always : « You should try it yourself in order to understand ; the first time, it will probably unsettle you a bit. »
So I decided to try it. In Milan, the school that refers to the teachings of Itsuo Tsuda is the « Scuola della Respirazione ». There, one can practice Aïkido and the Regenerating Movement ( in separate sessions ). But, in order to go to the sessions of Movement, one must first participate in a week-end course conducted by Régis Soavi, who has continued the work of Tsuda in Europe.

Regis Soavi en conférence

Lire la suite

Seitai-do ?

Récemment nous avons été interpellés à propos de cette phrase : H.Noguchi, créateur du Seitai et du Katsugen undo. Le Katsugen undo serait-il séparé du Seitai ? Fait-on du Seitai quand on fait du Katsugen undo ?

Notre École, qui s’inscrit dans la lignée « Tsuda », propose la pratique du Katsugen undo ‒ traduit par Mouvement régénérateur ‒ telle qu’elle a été transmise par Itsuo Tsuda dans les années soixante-dix. Itsuo Tsuda a-t-il volontairement écarté le Seitai de son enseignement, ne souhaitant transmettre QUE le Katsugen undo ?

Si il est véridique qu’il n’a pas formellement enseigné le Seitai soho (technique Seitai), tous les livres qu’écrivit Itsuo Tsuda parlent de Seitai. Tous sans exception.

Alors, Seitai ? Katsugen undo ?

Nous tenterons ici d’affiner notre positionnement et d’apporter des éléments de réponse :Lire la suite

Lettres inédites #2

Suite de la  correspondance d’Itsuo Tsuda dont nous publions quelques lettres, avec l’aimable autorisation de Bernard et Andréine  Bel. Le lien pour lire la  première lettre.

Itsuo Tsuda au dojo, ParisIl s’agit ici des réponses apportées par Itsuo Tsuda, entre 1972 et 1979,  à un jeune couple qui commence à pratiquer le mouvement régénérateur. On suivra ainsi dans ces lettres leur désir de faire connaître autour d’eux, dans leur ville, cette découverte.

Cette lettre faisait suite à un courrier dans lequel nous faisions part à Itsuo Tsuda de notre séjour à Saanen au mois de juillet, au cours duquel nous avions fait pratiquer le mouvement régénérateur à un groupe de personnes – dont un grand nombre d’élèves d’Yvon Achard, professeur de yoga à Grenoble. La réaction du groupe avait été enthousiaste. La réflexion d’Itsuo Tsuda sur la tendance des occidentaux à tout amalgamer nous a incités à une très grande prudence. Nous avons eu soin de ne jamais emprunter ce terme alors même que nos séances étaient en tout point identiques à celles organisées par Katsugen-kai. C’est aussi à cette époque que nous avons pris la décision de ne jamais accepter d’argent des participants : « en famille et entre amis »… Andréine Bel
Lire la suite

Haruchika Noguchi

Noguchi was born in Ueno, a district of Tokyo, in September 1911. When he was three or four years old, to his surprise, he soothed another child’s toothache simply by putting his hands on it. His hands went towards the spot, without him realizing what he was doing.
This was the beginning. When he was twelve, he accomplished his first deed, curing a neighbour who had been suffering from dysentery since the great earthquake struck the Tokyo area in 1923.

From this age, he begins to receive people asking to be treated by him. At that time, he had no knowledge, not even elementary, of anatomy or medicine. Like almost all healers, he believed at first that he had exceptional powers that he alone possessed. In his teenage years, he begins to understand the consequences of his actions. He finds his own vocation but does not stop at that; he continues. He studies, through self-studies, all Eastern and Western therapeutic methods. At the age of fifteen, he opens a dojo in Iriya. At seventeen, he formulates the Precepts of Full Life (Zensei Kun), which helps to better understand his thinking. In 1930, he writes the Reflections on Integral Life, a surprising text for a young man, then only nineteen years old.Lire la suite

Unpublished letters # 1

mouvement régénérateur

The correspondence of a writer, a philosopher, often reveals itself beyond peculiar general views. Such is the case with this correspondence of Itsuo Tsuda from which we publish a few letters, courtesy of Andréine and Bernard Bel. It reveals answers given by Itsuo Tsuda, between 1972 and 1979, to this young couple as they began practicing the regenerating movement. Through these letters we will follow their desire to make this discovery widely known.

Lire la suite

#1 La respiration, philosophie vivante

respiration philosophie vivanteSix Interviews de Itsuo Tsuda « La respiration philosophie vivante » par André Libioulle diffusées sur France Culture dans les années 1980.

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At the philosopher of Ki #2

Continuation and end of the article published in the journal « Question de » in 1975, written by Claudine Brelet (anthropologist, international expert and woman of French letters) and student of Itsuo Tsuda.

Part #2Itsuo tsuda Katsugen undo
Can one ‘fusion’ respiration and visualization?
– “Indeed, visualization is one of the aspects of ki. Visualization plays an important and vital role in aikido. It is a mental act that produces physical effects. Visualization is part of the aspect of ‘attention’ of ki. When attention is localized, for example it stops at the wrist, breathing becomes shallow, disrupted… we forget the rest of the body.

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At the philosopher of Ki #1

This coverage was published in the journal ‘Question de’ in 1975. Claudine Brelet (anthropologist, international expert and a woman of French letters) who wrote this press coverage and did the interview and was one of the first students of Itsuo Tsuda.

First part

At the fringes of Bois de Vincennes, in the rear of a garden in the suburbs of Paris, there is a particular itsuo tsudadojo. Dojo, meaning, a place for practicing the Art of breathing and martial arts. It is not a gym. It rather is a sacred place where ‘space-time’ is different from that of a profane place.
We salute when we enter to sanctify ourselves and when we leave to desacralize.Lire la suite

On the watch for the right moment

The writer and director Yan Allégret is interested in aikido and traditional Japanese culture since 20 years. He practiced in France and Japan and became interested in the concept of a dojo: what makes a space at a time « the place where we practice the way. »

Chronicle of Tenshin dojo of the school Itsuo Tsuda.

Tenshin Paris
6 am. People leave home and head for a place. On foot, by car, by subway. Outside, the streets of Paris are still sleepy, almost deserted. Dawn is near. Those outside have not put on the armor needed for the working day ahead. There is something in the wind. At the break of dawn it feels like walking in a twilight zone. It is in this gap we find dojo Tenshin of the Itsuo Tsuda school.
In this place dedicated to aikido and katsugen undo, the sessions are daily. Every weekday morning, a session at 6:45 am, on weekends at 8am, regardless the weather or holidays, except January 1, the day of the ceremony of purification of the dojo.
Dawn influence practice. At all times this porosity was considered in the Japanese tradition. Just read the « Fushi Kaden » from “Zeami », creator of the Noh theater, to understand how the traditional arts were on the lookout for the « right moment » (taking into account time, weather, temperature, the quality of silence, etc.) to perfect their art.
Walking towards the dojo at 6:30, we will realize, practicing in the morning creates a relief. The mental capacity is not yet assailed by concerns of family and social life. The mind has not yet taken control. We come as a white sheet at 120, rue des Grands Champs in the 20th arrondissement. The association Tenshin is established here since 1992. It was founded by a group of people wishing to follow the teaching of Itsuo Tsuda, transmitted by Régis Soavi. Itsuo Tsuda was a student of Morihei Ueshiba and Haruchika Noguchi (founder of aikido and katsugen undo). Concerning Régis Soavi the current Sensei, he was a direct student of Master Tsuda. The dojo is not affiliated to any federation. He follows his path, independent and autonomous, with continuity and patience. When passing the doorstep, we feel that we enter « into something”. A mixed form of density and simplicity emerges from the place. In Japanese, one would say, the « ki » of the place is palpable, the space is silent. People are gathered around a cup of coffee, accompanied by the Sensei. On the other side the space with the tatamis, yet at sleep.

A void at work
The dojo is vast. All the walls are white. The central tokonoma includes a calligraphy of master Tsuda. Portraits of founders (Ueshiba for Aikido, Noguchi for Katsugen Undo and Tsuda for the dojo) are located on the opposite wall.
It is 6:45. The session will begin. The mats were left to rest since the previous day. The space is not rented for other courses because of profitability. One begins to understand what this « something » is we felt entering. A void is at work. Another crucial element in the Japanese tradition: the importance of a linked emptiness.
Between sessions, the space is left to recharge, to relax, like a human body. You should have seen the place, naked and silent like a beast at rest, to understand the reality of this fact. Practitioners sit in seiza, silence falls and the session begins. The person conducting faces the calligraphy, a bokken in hand, then sits. We salute a first time.
Then comes the recitation of the norito, a Shinto invocation, by the person conducting. Master Ueshiba began each session accordingly. Mr. Tsuda, customary of  Western mentality, did not deem it necessary to translate this invocation. He insisted only on the vibration that emanates from it by the work of the breathing. Of course, the sacred dimension is present. But no religion so far, no mystical « Japanese style » Westerners are sometimes fond of. No. Here it is much simpler.

Beyond the combat
Hearing the norito, we feel resonating something in the space that facilitates concentration, the return towards oneself. As one can be touched by a song without the need to understand the words.
Thereupon follows the « breathing exercises, » a series of movements done alone. Master Tsuda kept this part of the work of Master Ueshiba that wrongly could be considered as a warming up. The term warming up is restrictive. It engages the body only and assumes that true practice begins after. In both cases, this is false. One movement can infinitely be deepened and involves, if you work in this direction, the totality of our being.

Then comes the work in couple. We choose a partner, one day a beginner, the next day a black belt. Any form of hierarchy predominates. We work around four to five aikido techniques per session. The Sensei demonstrates a technique, then everyone tries it with his or her partner.

What emerges from practice, is the importance of breathing and attention to what circulates between the partner and yourself. A circulation, when taking the premise of a fight as a starting point, that leads beyond. A beyond the combat. It isn’t no doubt by chance that Régis Soavi uses the term « fusion sensitivity » to speak about aikido. « The way of fusion of ki ».

The art of unite and separate
On the tatami, no brutal confrontation. But no weak condescension either. The aikido practiced is flexible, clear, fluid. We see hakamas describing arabesques in the air, we hear laughter, sounds of falls, we see very slow movements, then suddenly without a word, partners accelerate and seem drawn into a dance until the fall frees. We think back to the words of Morihei Ueshiba: « Aikido is the art of uniting and separating. » There is no passing grade. No examination. No dan or kyu. Instead, wearing hakama and black belt. Beginners, meanwhile, are in white kimonos and white belt. The time just to wear the hakama is decided by the practitioners theirselves, after talking with elders or the Sensei. To choose to wear the hakama involves to assume freedom, but also responsibility.  Because we know that beginners take more easily as a model those who wear the traditional black skirt. The issue of grade is turned inside out. The key is not outside. It is our own feeling we must sharpen, to recognize the right moment. Of course, mistakes can be made, the hakama is put on too early or too late. But the work has begun. It is obvious that we must seek inside. As for the black belt, the Sensei gives it to the practitioner the day he thinks the person is ready to wear it, the latter never being informed of this decision. And that’s all. The person wears the black belt. No blah-blah. The symbol is taken for what it is: a symbol and nothing more. The path has no end.

A special atmosphere
Seeing the Sensei demonstrating the free movements, in which techniques are linked spontaneously we think again about a term often used in the literature and the teaching of Itsuo Tsuda: « The non-doing ». And this is what probably brings this special atmosphere in the dojo at dawn, the smell of flowers at the tokonoma and the emptiness. A path of non-doing.
The session ends. Silence returns. We greet the calligraphy and the Sensei. He leaves. The practitioners leave the space or fold their hakama on the tatami.
Around 8:30, we find ourselves around breakfast. We seek to learn more about how the dojo functions. For this lively place is both alive and financially independent, considerable energy is invested by practitioners. Some have chosen to dedicate much of their lives to it. They are a bit like Japanese Uchi Deshi, internal students. In addition to the practice, they manage the spine of the dojo, then taken in turns by the other practitioners that could be involved as external students. Everyone involved is encouraged to take initiatives and to take responsibility.

Work with less
An elder summarizes the instructions received: « Aikido. Katsugen undo. And the dojo. » The life of a dojo is a job in itself, an unique opportunity to practice out of the tatamis what one learns on the tatamis. Rather than a refuge, a greenhouse, the picture is rather that of an open field in the middle of the city, in which we lay fallow at dawn, where we clear weeds to allow gradually its place to other blooms.
Before leaving we look at the empty space with tatamis one last time. It seems to breathe. The day dawned and the city is now in a fast and noisy rhythm. It awaits us. We leave the dojo and walk away with a wisp of a smile. In a world of unbridled accumulation and filling up, there are places where you can work with less. This one makes part of it.

Yann Allegret

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Vers le mouvement du Non Faire

 

Bruno Vienne est cinéaste, réalisateur animalier et aventure humaine, membre de l’expédition TARA ARCTIC aubruno_vienne Pôle Nord, et également un ancien élève d’Itsuo Tsuda.

Au bout d’une trentaine d’années de pratique, il sent que c’est le moment de partager ce qu’il a compris et ressenti dans l’approche du Mouvement Régénérateur et de la pratique respiratoire de Maître Ueshiba (fondateur de l’Aïkido). Il nous invite à une plongée dans notre infini potentiel intérieur.

« Serons-nous capables de passer le cap pour une nouvelle humanité ?

Tout est là, c’est l’enjeu des prochaines années…

Les clignotants rouges sont allumés depuis déjà longtemps en ce qui concerne notre façon d’utiliser l’énergie et l’eau sur terre.
Lire la suite

Pour une écologie du corps humain

Décembre 2013, paru dans le quotidien italien « Il Manifesto ». Entretien avec Régis Soavi.

regis soavi aikidoAujourd’hui de nombreuses personnes avec toutes sortes d’idées politiques et d’autres sans idées politiques précises, se préoccupent de la façon dont leurs comportements individuels peuvent influer sur l’environnement : acheter des produits biologiques, de la production locale, mieux recycler les déchets, choisir des prestataires de services plus respectueux de l’environnement, réduire la consommation énergétique etc.

Au niveau du débat politique, malgré tout, la rhétorique écologiste fonctionne toujours, même en temps de crise.
En tous cas, l’attention portée collectivement aux conditions et à la qualité de la terre, de l’air et de l’eau est grande, pour diverses raisons, que ce soit par sens des responsabilités ou simplement par sens des affaires.

Lire la suite

Amateur ?

Itsuo Tsuda se considérait comme un écrivain, un philosophe. Et comme un amateur en Aïkido, pour le Nô et la calligraphie…

Et voici un extrait de Maître Tsuda qui nous éclaire à ce propos :

« Un mot sur l’enseignement ésotérique qui avait été pratiqué à l’époque féodale et conservé jusqu’avant la Deuxième Guerre itsuo tsuda seizaMondiale au Japon.
L’enseignement, qu’il s’agisse d’un art martial ou d’un métier traditionnel, était de deux sortes : l’une s’adressait aux amateurs, et l’autre à ceux qui voulaient en faire leur carrière.
Chose vraiment curieuse qui choquerait bien notre conception basée sur les principes de l’éducation moderne, c’est que l’enseignement complet n’était réservé qu’aux amateurs.
Que faisaient-ils, les vrais apprentis professionnels alors ? Ceux-ci vaquaient, du matin au soir, sans une minute de répit, aux travaux de ménage, au nettoyage de la maison et du jardin, aux soins à porter aux vêtements du maître, à la préparation de sa nourriture et de son bain, enfin à tout, et tous en parfaits esclaves. S’il y avait le moindre défaut dans ces travaux, le maître les réprimandait sévèrement. Et avec tout cela, ils n’avaient pas accès aux leçons dont jouissaient les amateurs.
Combien n’était-ce pas irrationnel ? C’était diamétralement opposé à l’enseignement moderne.
Irrationnelle, certes, dans un sens, cette méthode ne l’était pas dans un autre.
C’est que ces esclaves-apprentis brûlaient du désir de connaître l’enseignement du maître, d’autant plus qu’ils en étaient privés. Tout ce qu’ils pouvaient en obtenir était quelques paroles entendues au hasard du vent, des réprimandes, des gestes et des manières du maître, des bribes de démonstrations accordées aux amateurs, entrevues par la fissure d’une porte, etc.
Le désir étant intensifié par la privation, ils devenaient des espions, des voleurs de l’enseignement. Assoiffés, ils ne laissaient échapper aucun des détails qui leur parvenaient.
Le diamant est précieux parce qu’il est rare. S’il y en avait en abondance, on en aurait brûlé dans le poêle pour se chauffer.
Entre maître et amateurs, il y avait communication. Entre maître et apprentis, il y avait transmission inconsciente, d’âme à âme. Il y avait un travail intense de visualisation qui façonnait les derniers. Tout était axé sur la préparation du terrain chez les aspirants dont le succès ou l’insuccès dans leur carrière était une question de vie ou de mort, ce qui n’existait pas chez les amateurs.
Dans certains métiers, le maître choisissait un apprenti le moment venu, organisait une réception en son honneur, s’inclinait devant ce dernier, en s’excusant de sa dureté des années passées et déclarait qu’à partir de ce moment il n’était plus apprenti mais maître au même titre que lui. L’apprenti pouvait très bien en rester stupéfait, car durant ces années il n’avait peut-être rien appris de substantiel du tout.
Aujourd’hui, tout a changé. Partout dans le monde, l’éducation est standardisée. L’amateur viendra prendre des leçons pour son plaisir. L’apprenti professionnel aura un entraînement plus intense. Mais le problème du terrain reste.
L’homme est devenu, aujourd’hui, une sorte d’encyclopédie. Il connaît un peu de tout. Il est bien informé, non pour faire quelque chose, mais pour communiquer et pour faire un rapport. Il pourra étudier la natation, discuter sur son utilité, relater son histoire, sans bouger de son fauteuil, sans jamais se mettre dans l’eau. »

Discovering Aïkido and Katsugen Undo, the Art of the Non-doing

What are Aïkido and the Regenerating Movement? How can we use them to live in daily life? Those are the sujects dealt with by Régis Soavi who was a direct disciple of Master Itsuo Tsuda,himself a student of Master Ueshiba and Master Noguchi. Article of Francesca Giomo.

About the Aïkido the only thing I knew was the name, before I was invited to take part in four sessions of practise of this « non-martial » art at the Scuola della Respirazione, Fioravanti Street in Milano.

The sessions for beginners were on mondays evenings at seven, with no theory at all, only practise. First one watched the technique being demonstrated by the more experienced students, then one « performed » it directly.

The Aïkido we’re going to talk about, the Aïkido I was introduced to, is that of Master Itsuo Tsuda, a student of the founder, Morihei Ueshiba. Régis Soavi is presently continuing the research started by Master Tsuda, teaching in several dojos in Europe, for example at the Scuola della Respirazione in Milano.Tsuda’s work, during his life-time, also included the Regenerating Movement ( Katsugen undo ), devised by Haruchika Noguchi, which is also practised, besides Aïkido, at the dojo in Milano.Those are the two practises Régis Soavi tells us about in the interview that follows.

– What is Aïkido? Can it be defined as a martial art?

L’Aïkido is a non-martial art. The origin of Aïkido is in fact a martial art called Ju Jitsu. Master Ueshiba’s vision transformed this martial art into an art of harmony and fusion between persons. That is why we no longer have a martial art as was originally the case, but a non-martial art.

– So, it was Master Ueshiba who created Aïkido?

Yes, it was Ueshiba, who died in 1969. But an important fact to be aware of is that at the basis of Aïkido there was Ju Jitsu, because then you understand how Ueshiba changed the spirit of it, with Aïkido. Aï-ki-do means way (do) of the harmony (aï) of Ki, way of the fusion of Ki. The direction he took in fact transformed a martial art into something else. In Aïkido, one cannot, for example, talk about defending oneself, but rather about fusing.

– Ueshiba is the founder of Aïkido, but the teaching at the Scuola della Respirazione refers to Master Tsuda.

Yes, Tsuda died in 1984. Through his books, he passed on Ueshiba’s message: Ueshiba was Tsuda’s master for ten years, just as Tsuda was mine later.After Ueshiba’s death, different Aïkido schools developed. Some of them chose to go back to a Ju Jitsu type of martial art, others have turned Aïkido into a sport. We are seeking to understand what Ueshiba actually said.

– Master Tsuda met Master Ueshiba rather late in life. Did he practise any martial arts before that?

Tsuda was an intellectual. He had never practised any martial arts. He had studied in France with Marcel Granet and Marcel Mauss, he was interested in Ki. He started his research in that direction and first discovered Katsugen Undo, then later Aïkido. Thanks to Ueshiba, Tsuda saw how one could use Ki in a martial art. He was forty-five when he started, without ever having done any karate or judo or any other martial art before.

– It is not easy for a westerner to understand what Ki is

Everybody talks about it nowadays. Just think of Taï Chi Chuan, Qi Qong… Everybody knows about it from a mental point of view, yet very few people have a physical experience of it. But that is something you cannot explain. It’s up to everyone to feel it, there is no explanation for it. We are not interested in explaining what Ki is, what we’re interested in is only the way to use it. It’s a bit like explaining what love is. Nowadays, one can analyse the smell of women, that of men etc… But that isn’t enough, otherwise it means we’re only animals… One cannot explain love, love is the meeting of two human beings and it doesn’t happen because the man has a beard, etc…etc… It is also like that with Ki.

– Since we’re talking about the practise of Aïkido, what are the different moments of a session?

An Aïkido session is a special moment in the day. I practise everyday, there is a sacred aspect one can retrieve in that. At the beginning of the session, there are ritual gestures: it is not important to know what they mean, but it is essential to make them, it brings about something. Also there is the norito (a text of shintoist origin recited in Japanese) which is a recitation of purification. Nobody knows what the words mean, but when the recitation is good, there is a vibration in it which is active.This may seem very mystical. But if someone listens to lieder by Schubert, for example, sung by a good singer, and doesn’t know German, he doesn’t understand anything, but as he listens to the singing, something sad or something cheerful happens, it produces an effect. It is the same if you attend a No theatre performance, you don’t understand anything, it’s in Japanese, but the gestures and the movements create effects. And this is not mystical but real.

– When we watched the part of the session towards the end, when free movement is done, the succession of attacks and « fusions » made me feel as if we were watching an improvisation.

Yes, it was in fact an improvisation.

– Does one need a particular technique to do the free movement?

Even though it is an improvisation, there are gestures which are a bit like a ritual. You cannot attack at random, but, in a way, it depends on your partner’s posture, let us put it that way.The « attacker’ »s gestures correspond with the posture of the person he is « attacking ». But in the case of an improvisation, as when musicians improvise together, there is always a harmony, otherwise it generates chaos. So one goes beyond technique and one creates harmony. Everybody can do it. Everyone does it at his own level. One does it more slowly at the beginning, with a technique one knows. One doesn’t invent anything completely new.

– What is the significance of respiration in Aïkido?

When talking about respiration in this context, it is Ki we’re talking about. One mustn’t think in terms of respiration through the lungs. It’s a respiration of the body that enables you to be more in harmony. When one is acting it’s expiration, when one is receiving it’s inspiration. When one starts practising, the pulmonary respiration becomes more ample. The whole body is breathing and becomes more elastic and supple, Ki flows more easily. In that sense, respiration helps making people more supple, it helps finding a rythm in the practise, because if someone is not breathing correctly, after five minutes he has no strength left. That is why one practises slowly at the beginning of sessions, to allow for the harmonization of gestures through respiration. So gestures become harmonized through respiration.

-At the beginning of the session, the master breathes in a very particular, very strong way, what does this correspond to exactly?

This type of respiration is done to breathe out completely, to empty. There is a very common and widespread deformation as far as respiration is concerned. In fact people nowadays have a tendency always to retain a little air, they don’t breathe fully. They hold their breath so as to be always ready to defend themselves, to act in reply. In the end, as they are never really empty, their respiration cannot be deep and their breath is short. So at the beginning of the session one first lets out all the air, in that way thoughts also come out. They become empty, new.

-On what does Aïkido have an action from a physical point of view? What sort of muscular response does it require from the body?

It’s the same as in daily life, normally you use all your muscles, in Aïkido also. It is true, though, that some Aïkido schools have been trying to make the body become stronger. Our School doesn’t want to do that. We do not want to become stronger, only less weak. The muscles don’t have to become stronger to do something special. In Aïkido, one moves normally and one makes everyday life movements such as running, turning, normal gestures which, however, are done with a special attention.

-Is it possible to transfer this « special attention » to one’s own daily life?

Of course, otherwise Aïkido is useless. Some people come here to become stronger, to defend themselves, but no. Aïkido is there to make people more sensitive, and therefore it is useful in daily life. One regains a certain suppleness. If the respiration was too short and high before, it gradually becomes calmer. Something that helps you in your relationships with children, at work… That is where Aïkido really is useful, in daily life.

– You always practise very early in the morning, why is that?

As far as I am concerned, in the Itsuo Tsuda School, I practise early in the morning but not all those who practise Aïkido do the same. I like the morning best because then one is more in the dimension of the involuntary, in a condition which enables the body to wake up and to prepare for the day.

– At the Scuola della Respirazione one also practises Katsugen Undo, the Regenerating Movement. What are its origins?

It was a discovery Master Noguchi made. At the beginning, Noguchi was a healer. He used to pass on Ki to people so that they would get better. But at one time he discovered that the human being’s capacity to cure itself was something inborn, which, however, wasn’t functioning any more, or not so well. It was Noguchi who discovered that when one does Yuki, that is to say one passes on Ki through the hands, people’s bodies move all by themselves and this enables the body to restore its balance. Noguchi therefore found that some movements enable the body to awaken its capacity to cure itself. This discovery gave birth to the Regenerating Movement or Katsugen Undo, an exercise which enables the body to rouse capacities it doesn’t know it has.
Tsuda introduced the Regenerating Movement in France and I took an interest in it because I found the connection there is between Aïkido and the Regenerating Movement. I realized the existence of such links, by the fact that when the body is healthy and retrieves its capacities, Aïkido cannot go in the direction of fighting other people any longer, on the contrary the desire to act in such a way disappears. So, the Regenerating Movement is very important, in my opinion it is difficult to practise Aïkido in our school without knowing it.

– The only way to start practising the Regenerating Movement is to come to one of the seminars you hold every other month?

During seminars, I give talks, I explain and I show the « techniques » which allow one to get into the state where the movement may occur. I come again every other month so that the persons who practise regularly may continue on the « right path ». A lot of people may very easily deviate, perhaps because in the Regenerating Movement there is in fact nothing to do, just be there, close your eyes, empty your head. Some people think it’s better to have music during sessions etc, etc… But the path is what is the most simple.

– Is the Regenerating Movement something we already have, but have forgotten about?

Not really. The Regenerating Movement is a normal human activity, what we have forgotten is letting our body live all by itself. We have lost faith in our own body, in our capacities, as if after a traumatic experience. The Regenerating Movement enables one to retrieve all that: if before there were things I couldn’t do, now I can do them. I have only trained my capacity for action, nothing else. It’s a capacity of the extrapyramidal motor system, the involuntary system. When trained, it regains its ability to restore its own balance. That is the capacity we already have. Even people who don’t practise the Regenerating Movement know how to regain their own balance: someone who is tired goes to bed, and while he is asleep, his body moves, that is the body’s capacity to restore its balance. The Regenerating Movement is something everybody still has a little, but the capacity to let the movement occur weakens and, by training the extrapyramidal, one retrieves it.

– What is the extrapyramidal motor system?

It is the involuntary system, which allows the body to restore its balance. But the Regenerating Movement also has an action on the immune system, which does not depend on the extrapyramidal system but is also an involuntary faculty of the body.
Our body’s movement isn’t something we can learn, we can only discover it and accept it. The Regenerating Movement has an action on many things, for example the capacity to maintain body temperature, but it’s different for each person, no movement is identical to another, no reaction to another, because each person is different.

-Dealing with people he doen’t know, the master needs to have a special sensibility to understand which movement each participant needs to do?

No, because the master cannot do the movement for the « student », the movement is something spontaneous, so everybody has to find his own movement. The training of the involuntary system must, to start with, give a free hand to the involuntary. So, during the seminar, I explain, I show exercises, I just do « Yuki ». I may sometimes help someone empty his head thanks to a few technique, but then the movement occurs all by itself. It’s the same thing as when a person is scratching, she knows where and how to do it, without anybody telling her anything.

– What does Yuki and doing Yuki mean?

Yuki means « joyful Ki » and to do Yuki is « to pass on joyful Ki », but that is an interpretation… To do it, you lay your hands on the other person’s body.

– We are talking about restoring the body’s balance, but the Regenerating Movement isn’t a therapy, but exercises which allow for something to wake up…

Yes, because a therapy implies that one is concerned with the symptom of the illness and that one is taking a responsability regarding that. It isn’t the case here. Here we just let the body do what it has to do. If people have problems and need something, one can do yuki and this rouses the capacity of the rest of the body. So it isn’t a therapy. There are therapeutic consequences, we can say that.

– Can anybody practise the Regenerating Movement?

No. It is not recommended to people who have had transplants, because if a person has had transplants, it means she has in her body a part coming from somebody else. With the practise of the Regenerating Movement, her body will tend to reject that part which doesn’t belong to it. In fact, people with transplants must take medicines so that their bodies accept the foreign element. The Regenerating Movement activates the body’s capacities to restore its balance, so it works in the direction of expelling any foreign element. It may be allright, though, if the transplant comes from the person’s own body, for example if skin has been taken from one part of a person’s body to another. We also refuse people taking very strong medicines, like cortisone etc… because this type of medicine goes towards desensibilizing the persons, whereas the Regenerating Movement makes them retrieve a more vivid sensitivity.

– How many years do you need to practise to conduct a Regenerating Movement session?

Talking about years doesn’t mean anything. It is the practitioners themselves who conduct the sessions. One year of practise is enough. Of course the respiration of the person who conducts the session must be calm enough, and she must be in the right state of mind, warm, simple, not disturbing for the others. In fact, it is only the practitioners’ involuntary which is at work.

-Aren’t there things that may happen during a session, on an emotive level, coming from the most fragile persons?

Nothing of the sort happens, because one finds out that the Regenerating Movement is really something natural. It would be like saying that someone who is scratching an itch is making himself bleed. People have tensions inside themselves but the Regenerating Movement doesn’t make them come out, it makes them melt. If something has no reason to be there any more, it just melts.

-To allow the Regenerating Movement to occur, one must first free one’s head from thoughts, have a blank mind, but how does that come about?

To empty your head, you first drop the thoughts that come into your mind. An empty mind means that if there are thoughts, they go away. The mind needs to be active in any case, but the thoughts are not important. At the beginning it’s a bit difficult, but after some time, you don’t worry about that any more and gradually everything goes without saying.

Article of Francesca Giomo, published in the webzine « Terranauta » on 04/01/2006.

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