This video I’ve had for a long time. The original copy is on VHS, and after a few years the quality started to deteriorate. A few years back I transfered it to a DVD and later I imported it to my computer. As you will see, the quality is not great, but is good enough to see whats’going on. However, if you ever train in person with Toyoda Shihan, you will recognize his figure and kiai instantly. The video sat on a folder in my hard drive for quite some time, until I started digging and organizing my computer a few months ago when I came accross it. I’ve decided to edited it, put it together and share it. I decided to do this for two reason:
First, even though I don’t know much about the source of this video and I can’t even remember very well how I even got it, is a rare footage of Toyoda Shihan demonstrating an essential part of his weapon curriculum– one that was short in comparison to other styles such as Iwama. The partner practice excercises with the bokken (wooden sword) and jo (wooden staff) known as Kumitachi and Kumijo respectively were widely practice in his dojo and seminars, and students who currently practice in Aikido may still practice these exercises in one way shape or form.
This video was taped by one of his uchideshi somewhere in the late 90’s. There was no class being held at the moment. Toyoda taped it with the plan of making it an instructional video and distribute it to the dojos of his organization. This is why the pacing is much slower and movements are carefully shown. When Sensei demonstrated these exercises in seminars or public demonstrations, his speed was faster, his power strong, and his kiai resonated like thunder.
Secondly, if you pay attention, you can spot two great calligraphies. The first is TENSHINKAN. This calligraphy can be seen under O’Sensei’s picture in the kamiza. The calligraphy is Toyoda’s and is also carved in wood and painted white. The other, is the Aikido calligraphy brushed by O’Sensei at the far end of the mat. I believe these calligraphies are still on display at Tenshinkan Dojo today.
Watch, enjoy, and share. For this is a great piece of Aikido history for those who train under Toyoda Shihan.