CANDANeh wrote:He enjoyed his kata and has a way of doing it that is simply his. A pleasure to watch.
This reminds me a bit of a speech given to me by the father of a beautiful woman I knew for many years. She was stunning and sweet, and a great individual until tragedy struck her life. Her mother was an artist who sold her work at The Greenbrier's artist colony. Her father was an enigmatic character who drifted from job to job, but was professionally at his best as a salesman.
The speech he gave me at the end of dinner was the advantage of being old. He told me he couldn't wait. By his account... when you're an adult, you're bound by the rules of society. But when you're very young and very old, you have license to do almost anything you want to do without much in the way of consequences. I witnessed that in practice with my father - an accomplished man who had 8 kids and a marriage of 52 years before my mom passed away. In his last few years he thought nothing of pinching the booties of women I hired to keep an eye on him and tend to him when he stayed with me. God love him, and may his soul rest in peace.
Indeed what you see in this performance of Sanseiryu is form which transcends substance. Don't get me wrong; the substance is mostly there. But layered on top of it all is an artistic expression of the years of training he obviously endured, and the spirit of the dragon within. He's toying with us, and enjoying himself along the way. He actually drops his hands
in places during the kata, as if taunting his imaginary opponent. And it's fun to watch.
Furthermore... I hope I look that good and can move that well when I'm that age. Therein I believe lies the raison d'etre
of this demonstration. As Clint Eastwood once said in the movie Magnum Force, "A man's got to know his limitations." Toyama Sensei works within those age-related limitations, and yet still mocks us with his ability to be what most of us never will be at that age. And I say good for him!
All that said...
What I also find interesting is not what he does and emphasizes in this kata, but also what he chooses NOT to do. For instance...
- In 0:59 to 1:01, he chooses to do the driving (jousting?) front elbow while charging into a leaning zenkutsu dachi rather than a kiba dachi. Understand that both work just fine. But I've had Okinawan teachers preach against the leaning zenkutsu in that specific sequence because it's so difficult to keep from overextending your center while also charging. And they would be right... except Toyama Sensei shows that he can do it.
And wouldn't you know... after doing some unique kinds of whole-body training the last few years, I found myself accidentally jumping into my leaning zenkutsu in Seisan kata. My reaction was an after-the-fact 'Where in the hell did that come from?' Well... it can spontaneously emerge when good training allows you to get away with it. My first reaction when I did it was remembering that I had seen Toyama Sensei do this in another clip of his Seisan. Suddenly I realized we had been walking similar paths. It frankly felt pretty good.
- In the sequence from 1:06 to 1:12 he does those moves not like the way I do mine, which by the way I like and I'm keeping. Rather he instead does those moves like a similar sequence in Seichin kata. I always wondered where the hell that came from, and imagined it was an amalgam of several classic Uechi moves (the sequence from 0:19 to 0:21 coupled with the sequence from 1:06 to 1:12). But Toyama Sensei does the move like that Seichin variant, discarding other possibilities which a more "vanilla" sequence shows.
- Absent in his kata are some transition movements. These transitions both tie sequences together and add dimension to the base movements. He wouldn't be alone in not expressing those in his kata. My tendency to investigate this domain perhaps comes from Tomoyose Ryuko's influence on me. But his sequences look just fine without them. It's as if he doesn't care, and knows his form has plenty without the transitions.
Anyhow... a pleasure to watch and to contemplate.