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responsibility and opportunity they have been handed.


Roger began his own martial arts training with karate, which was all that was available at the time. He believes in fi nding the right discipline for each person rather than fi tting the individual to the discipline, which is too apparent at many commercially run schools. MSMAS is not run for profi t; the rent for the Dojo is met by a very reasonable subscription for senior members of £35 per month for one discipline (further disciplines only cost £5 per month extra). Any money left over is spent on training the youngsters and any excess goes to the Help for Heroes charity. I was lucky enough to see all four disciplines in action. Aikido (The Way of Spritual Harmony) is proving particularly popular in the West and


is seen as the art of self-defence. A wooden sword called a bokken and a 5 foot wooden staff, or Jo, are used to complement the traditional movements. Aikido is a discipline for mind and body and while watching, I could feel the concentration required to achieve the successful coordination of hand, eye and weapon. I began to understand the fascination of learning; there is so much to discover about one’s self when in opposition to another within these very different disciplines. Iaido (The Way of the Sword) is the art of drawing and cutting with the Samurai sword, or Katana, a means of fi ghting that reaches back to the feudal history of Japan: entrancing to watch and I suspect even more engrossing to learn. The sword movements can be traced to specifi c tactics that were used in battle.


Roger explained each one as I saw it demonstrated. It brought the original purpose of the discipline to life and I could imagine battle weary warriors fi ghting to the death in another time and place.


The fourth discipline, Kendo


(The Way of the Sword) is highly challenging and spectacular to watch. Even the dressing is highly ritualised; the protective armour and headgear are modern equivalents of the original warrior attire and one or two bamboo swords called shinai are used in athletic sparring in which participants shout out, reminiscent of the martial arts fi lms we all recognise. Every gesture embodies a meaning and the theatrical nature of the movements implies an art instead of a sport, with roots in ancient tradition.


“Roger Payne believes in fi nding the right discipline for each person.”


Above: Thomas Thain throws Gus O’Grady with Judo.


Right: Bibi Bohorquez practices Musō Jikiden Eishin-ryū Iaido (Japanese Swordwork).


36


SUSSEX LIVING March 2012


www.sussexliving.com





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