Load and Unload

Mike Flynn Shihan at Bucks County Aikido, September 2012.

By John McDevitt, Bucks County Aikido

“Nice tooch with the thistle.” – Flynn Shihan

The art of drawing the sword and striking a killing blow is offered, by Flynn Shihan, at Thistle Aikikai in Chryston, Scotland. For a few days in September, it was offered in Bucks County, Penn. In Iaido, students learn to use the sword not merely as a tool for cutting down one’s enemy, but as a method of allowing the mind and body to become more harmonious with nature. When instructed by Flynn Shihan, you also learn a bit about cutting down the Anglish!

While it was evident that Flynn Shihan was a master with the sword, I felt that he did not forget when he was a beginner. In his words : “Like everyone I went through this period of, ‘This is my left hand, this is weapons, this is body art…’ It’s still coming together for me. Nowadays I struggle to see any difference between doing jo work or doing bokken work or doing body art. In those days I struggled like everyone else to see the similarities.” This beginner’s mind approach, by teacher and students, made for some powerful Iaido training.

We are fortunate to have such accomplished instructors to help us along the way. Thank you Lyons Shihan for making such talented teachers available to us. Thank you Flynn Shihan for sharing your expertise and for the joy you bring to your teaching.

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