Sensei claps his hands and calls “hai douzo!”, and it is as if I woke up from a daydream, though I wasn’t daydreaming. I’m sitting seiza (traditional Japanese kneeling posture) in an aikidō seminar taking place in Jerusalem. In the large mirror, which is installed on the opposite wall, I can see my friends sitting near me in a row that extends to my left and to my right. At the center of the hall, sensei is demonstrating a technique. We observe his physical movements closely, while at the same time we also follow his verbal explanations. Yelena, my colleague and student, is assisting him: as she attacks he performs the correct defensive set of movements. Sometimes his movements with Yelena strike me as so aesthetic, so beautiful, that I become emotional and my eyes become wet. “Hai douzo!” is a cue: we quickly rise from seiza and pair-up. Now it is for us to perform the technique that sensei has taught, attempting to do so as effortlessly and as perfectly as he has.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
Was this content written or created while at USF?
Citation / Publisher Attribution
Published in M/C Journal, v. 15, no. 4.
Scholar Commons Citation
Noy, Chaim, "Your hands. Extended: Performing Embodied Knowledge in Eastern Martial Arts" (2012). Communication Faculty Publications. 685.