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Aikido got into competition at WASEDA
With the pride and mission of the team

Mr. Shunsuke Nakamura / Mr. Yuki Motosaka

Of the many martial arts, Aikido is characterized by shutting down an opponent's offense without hurting him or her. By falling correctly, it is not necessary to feel pain, making the sport peaceful in a sense. For this reason, there is no competition in Aikido in general. On the contrary, Kendo and Judo have "forums for competition," and through competing with each other, they can improve their skills. Mr. Kenji Tomiki who was our academic staff therefore founded the WASEDA University Aikido Club 54 years ago to get Aikido into competition for the first time in the world. Ex-members of our Aikido Club introduced Aikido as a sport to Europe and America, and it is now popular around the world.

"As Aikido as a sport started in WASEDA, we have strong pride as club members," says Motosaka, the captain. "We feel we should be the champions." As he says, WASEDA's name is always ranked high in competitions. In the summer of 2011, Motosaka and Nakamura, appointed the next captain, contributed to win second place in the group tournament in an international event in which they joined with alumni of the club.

Though the WASEDA University Aikido Club is known around the world, most members are beginners who started the sport after entering university, and Motosaka is one of them. "I wanted to do a martial art, and I got interested in Aikido because I didn't have to hit or kick and its purpose was not hurting the opponent. Even starting in university, you have a chance to participate in an international competition." The peaceful aspect of Aikido also attracts Nakamura. "Gozo Shioda, the master of Aikido, said, 'The strongest technique is to become friends with the person who has come to kill you.' That sounds cool, doesn't it?"

Compete with "timing" and "sharpness," not "power"

When a technique is executed superbly, the attacker goes under control like a pinned insect

Reaching second place against physically stronger overseas players

In Aikido, you basically do not offend the opponent. For this reason, in the competition, the attacker is appointed beforehand, and this person starts attacking the receiver with a rubber-made dagger that doesn't hurt when used. The receiver is in a disadvantageous position because he or she doesn't have any weapon. As there is no class by weight, you often compete against people with more developed physiques. Still, if you calmly make a judgment and apply your technique, you can shut down the opponent's offense. Instead of strength, you need to be clever.

"As you start the game in a disadvantageous position, of course you will lose if you get excited or strain yourself. I was a type who got excited rather easily, but after starting Aikido, I became able to keep calm even in an adverse position," Nakamura says. On the other hand, Motosaka says, "I'm the opposite and was rather indifferent. That's why I was attracted by Aikido with no offense, but as I became aware of competition in daily life, I feel I have become a keener person."

Nakamura who received the baton of the captain expresses his aspiration: "I want to successfully continue the history of the club and make myself better. I belong to the School of Sport Sciences, and at the seminar of Professor Yasuo Kawakami, I study the principles of Aikido techniques from the viewpoint of biomechanics. I want to take advantage of my studies to improve my techniques and hope to elucidate the principles and apply them to other sports."

Motosaka nods to show his agreement with the words of his junior. "I want to spread Aikido across Japan. Aikido is a martial art that offers different ways of enjoyment. You may compete against many people for victory or brush up your skills as a martial art by practicing forms. I want to do the sport all through my life, too."

The two have steadily succeeded the tradition of Aikido started in WASEDA and have a sense of mission about its further development. Aikido has seen an increase in the number of players around the world, thanks to its evolution through its establishment as a sport. The pride in the fact that its starting point was WASEDA stirs them up.

"Shomen Ate," a killer technique of Motosaka executed!

Controlling excitement before a match

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Mr. Shunsuke Nakamura (left)

Born in Kumamoto in 1990. Graduated from Kumamoto Marist Senior High School. 3rd year, School of Sport Sciences. Has recently fallen in love with AKB48. He said he felt like he was in heaven when he saw a live performance at Waseda Festival 2011. "At training right after the gig, I reoriented myself psychologically and concentrated upon it, but once training was over, I went back to the world of dreams (laugh.)" His favorite member of AKB48 is Haruka Nakagawa.

Mr. Yuki Motosaka (right)

Born in Fukuoka in 1988. Graduated from Fukuoka Prefectural Miyako High School. 4th year, School of Commerce. As he practice Aikido from Monday to Saturday and teaches the sport to children at WASEDA Club, he cannot find any time for other hobbies apart from Aikido. His pastime is cycling and playing baseball on holidays.