Jodo/Iaido Stage, Vienna

March, 12th and 13th 2016

This year our spring stage was dedicated to the theme "Jutsu - Do," starting from questions like: "What makes a martial art Jutsu, what Do? What are the differences? Why has it changed?"

As Michel Sensei is also a teacher of Muso Shinden Ryu, the seminar included two Iaido lessons. With the majority of Iaido participants being of advanced level, the focus was on the Okuden series. We were able to work on technical corrections, as well as on the underlying characteristics of the series, mainly finding ones own rhythm and personal power.

The rest of the seminar was dedicated to Shinto Muso Ryu Jodo and Shinto Ryu Kenjutsu. Michel explained his understanding of the differences of Jutsu and Do: "Jutsu's main focus is on fighting: Developing techniques that are efficient in combat. In Kenjutsu we are more free in how to execute a technique. We have more variations in the way the Kata are done.
Jodo (and Iaido) has the same background, as it once was Jojutsu. At one point it has been changed to -Do with a shift of focus on developing mental/moral aspects. The movements have been altered and are more safe, but also more removed from combative logic - as can observed very well in MSR Omori Ryu. In Do, elegance of movements is considered as well."
Aside from the stage motto, Michel Sensei put emphasis on correct Sei-chu-sen and the elimination of exccess movement.

We were able to practice Kenjutsu and Kihon with all participants, but soon split up into groups dedicated to Okuden and Kage on Saturday, Gohon-no-Midare and Chudan on Sunday.
As with Iaido this focus on a small number of series gave us the chance to work in detail on specific technical points, but also on underlying characteristics like rhythm, sincerity or good interaction. At the end of the Okuden-session Michel suggested for the people who had finished the series, to work through all Kata in a very focused manner, no repetitions, no corrections.

Both days ended with a time of free practice during which all participants had the chance to work with the most advanced people. On Saturday, every participant had the opportunity to do Ran-Ai (or another Kata for those less advanced) with Michel and on Sunday everyone could choose two or three Kata. Even without any comments, each of us could take home the good experience of how it feels to work with someone with much deeper understanding.

We thank the participants from near and far for joining us in creating a concentrated, cordial atmosphere. We will be happy to have you again with us next spring with Michel or in autumn with Kees and Wil.

And a very special thanks to our wonderful teacher, who perfectly managed the groups and shared his understanding generously and patiently. The kindness and humour in and outside the Dojo has impressed the participants.

ヘルガ (for the VJK Ronin Wien)

Participants coming from: Switzerland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany and Austria; two more joined only for Sunday

The shomen (by Kees Bruggink Sensei) showed us the way