Interview with Ryuji Shirakawa Shihan


Shirakawa Ryuji 01

Dear aikidoka friends, it’s with great pleasure that we present you latest Ovo San interview in its classic format (5 questions – 5 answers). Let’s thank Ryuji Shirakawa Shihan, dynamic Sensei, talented Aikidoka, for kindly giving offering us a bit of “Aikido Time”

by OSVALDO RIGHETTO

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OVO SAN
Sensei , you are very young, but have already had great success all over in the world, what is your secret?

SHIRAKAWA
There are two things that I always keep in mind. The first is valuing daily Aikido practice, and the second is flexible thinking. I am an Aikido instructor and teaching every day, but at the same time I take Ukemi and practice a lot with my students. It’s not just about showing and explaining techniques. I throw and take the same amount of Ukemi with the students. Ukemi is very important in Aikido. I think that taking Aikido Ukemi makes a strong and soft body and develops the senses. However, if your body is stiff, your sensation will not improve even if you take a Ukemi. It is important to keep the central axis firmly, stabilize the body, and take a Ukemi softly.
I also practice more after the regular class. After all, people who are good at any Budo, martial arts and sports,not limited to Aikido, practice a lot. In addition to that, it is even better if you can practice with high level. A flexible way of thinking is also important.
Aikido has many styles and many techniques and ideas. I think it is important to look at Budo and martial arts from various perspectives with a wide perspective, and to think and see Aikido. If your thinking is thick headed or inflexible, your body and aikido will become stiff.

Shirakawa Ryuji 04OVO SAN
do you practice different martial arts, do you find there are more affinities with Aikido or many differences or basically Budo is one?

SHIRAKAWA
Yes. I am currently doing Yoga and Tai chi. I also used to practice Judo and Kendo. I think the strong contact and sensation of Judo and Jiu Jitsu is similar to Aikido. But there is no game in Aikido. That’s a huge difference. Usually, the concept of Ukemi is very different from martial arts where there is a game. If you take a Ukemi completely in judo, you will lose the game. Aikido attaches great importance to Ukemi, there is no strong resistance from the opponent. Aikido emphasizes the flow of energy. In addition, Aikido use Atemi(strikes to the body) when you do a techniques. Strikes are prohibited in Judo and Jiu-Jitsu games. The game has rules.
In addition, Aikido practice a variety of situations (such as Morote-dori, Ryōte-dori, Ushiro-dori,Suwari waza, etc…). If you have a game, you will only practice efficient techniques that you can use in the game. The training system is different between those with a game and those with no game, and their purposes also is different greatly.
In Tai chi, flow and soft movement are important. I think that the flow of energy can be utilized in Aikido. Each Budo and martial art has advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to know each one well. And to know what to practice for. I think there is an efficient way to move the body that is common to all martial arts and sports. It is to improve the body’s senses and to make the strong center axis and to use your body softly.

OVO SAN
Apart from your honorable father , wich other teacher has influenced your Dynamic style?

SHIRAKAWA
It’s Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu sensei. Doshu sensei’s movement is very precise, clear and beautiful. Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu sensei’s Aikido influenced me.

Shirakawa Ryuji 02OVO SAN
I met you in Caserta and then in Monaco. How did you like Italy?

SHIRAKAWA
Aikido in Italy has a long history because of the achievements of Tada shihan. It’s great to have history because it is very difficult to understand about Aikido. The Italians also practice very hard. I think they are really great.

OVO SAN
Sensei, Aikido is also a lot of philosophy, if it were compared to a trip, would be a trip around the world or towards the borders of the universe or within the spirit of man?

SHIRAKAWA
That is a very difficult question. I don’t know the answer. As a personal thought,
I think it is within human spirit. However, I believe that the spirit is actually being refined by interacting with people in various worlds, and ultimately those experiences will grow the human spirit.

A great emotion to have listined to Sesnsei’s words. I thank him from the bottom of my heart and hope to meet him on the tatami soon.

Read interview in Italian Language

 

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