The Path of Harmony, The Way of Peace
Daniel Toutain has initiated Wanomichi after fifty years of Aikido practice. As a student of Master Saito, he wanted to bring a new approach to teaching received at Iwama with the goal of improving the understanding and application of the fundamental principles that motivate its transmission.
The practice of the Founder of Aikido has been perpetuated by Morihiro Saito Sensei, who lived by his side and followed his teaching for twenty three years in his personal dojo in Iwama. After the death of his Master, the teacher Morihiro Saito was in charge of this dojo where, under the name "Iwama Takemusu Aiki" and later "Iwama Ryu", he faithfully preserved the authentic original art, which he had inherited. It is in this historic place in Japan that Daniel Toutain received training from Morihiro Saito Sensei. The art of the Founder of Aikido featured some significant differences from the Aikido that is more widely taught today. Indeed, it is officially recognized that his son, Master Kishomaru Ueshiba, made some modifications in order to facilitate its dissemination to the largest number of students. Undoubtedly, this has contributed to the development of this art throughout the world. So, although part of the same family, subtle technical differences exist between the Aikido that is officially represented globally by the Aikikai of Tokyo and the art that was preserved in Iwama by Saito Sensei. Moreover, the training at Iwama featured the practice of the sword and the Jo (short staff) as it was personalized by the Founder from traditional schools, in which he himself had attained the highest levels of mastery. Indeed, the Master considered that the handling of these weapons have to reflect the movements of the body and vice versa, hence he was able to demonstrate this direct relationship between weapons techniques and empty -handed techniques. These two aspects were one and the same thing in his art. However, he gave this sword and jo training only in his personal dojo at Iwama.
What is Wanomichi?
Rooted in the practice of Iwama, Wanomichi proposes to deepen the fundamentals through a special development program and the contribution of other practices that share common points. With more than forty years of teaching and also with experience of arts other than Aikido, Daniel Toutain noticed that practitioners first need to control their own bodies better, so that practice with a partner leads to the desired result. For that purpose, he has created a special method called Kaizen Dosa. This method guides the practitioner to better perceive the whole body while refining the relationship between movement and breathing. It results in a greater stability, more fluidity in movement, and above all, an essential mastery of space through exercises that highlight the principles of the martial techniques of Iwama. This involves movements to be executed alone or with a partner, either with bare hand or with a Jo, used as an axis or to illustrate the lever system. In addition, Kaizen Dosa includes partial practice of Ashtanga Yoga, which has been specially adapted to the needs of Wanomichi followers. It is an excellent way of acquiring not only greater suppleness with an obvious benefit to health, but also a greater mastery of the body. This part is supervised by Sonia Tomioka Toutain, a teacher of Ashtanga Yoga, who is also experienced in Iwama practice. Kaizen Dosa is unique to Wanomichi as a complementary program to the study of Iwama techniques. It is an open door for a greater number of students to progress in a whole practice, whose fundamentals correspond to the traditional training of Iwama.
Saito Sensei, although remaining totally faithful to his Master, was able to evolve his teaching to adapt to each period and situation. Therefore, the name Wanomichi has been decided upon by Daniel Toutain in this spirit, especially as Saito Sensei himself suggested this possibility, if the need arose one day. This choice has also been guided by the concern for clarity with respect to official Aikido and to the diverse schools of Iwama, which have been created since the death of Saito Sensei.
Wanomichi fits perfectly into this definition of tradition, given by Jean Cocteau, the French poet: "Tradition is that which, based on the certainties of the past, constantly evolves".
Through this physical and technical experience, Wanomichi aims to bring each one to discover their own potential in order to gain greater self-confidence. It is the first step towards a better knowledge of oneself, a source of interior peace, and so a better relations to the outside world.
Wanomichi: an Art of Peace in the Tradition of Budo.
As a Budo, Wanomichi technically remains in the Japanese martial tradition, as it was passed on by the Founder of Aikido in Iwama. According to his message, the goal is not to dominate an enemy, but to achieve harmony and to connect to the laws of the Universe. This is the essential point in the physical relationship that exists when one performs the techniques. Through this relationship with one's partner, it is possible to discover more about oneself and one's reactions, in order to constantly improve. Reaching this harmony with another certainly requires a search for technical mastery, but above all to be in harmony with oneself. This inevitably has repercussions in everyday life and eventually leads to a spiritual maturity, which is the ultimate goal given to the art by Master Morihei Ueshiba. This is why special attention is given to maintaining an attitude of respect, friendliness, and kindness during the sessions. Indeed ego has no place in the budo.
The practice of Wanomichi first has the effect of reaching a good physical and emotional balance. It also helps to maintain good health which, it is now recognized, depends on many factors. Wanomichi can be practiced by all - adult men or women of all ages and children of six years and older.
Wanomichi is represented in many countries within the International Association "IWA"