From AJ Forums: “My first experience with Kondo Sensei” by Giacomo Merello

The following text is excerpted from a discussion concerning training in Daito-ryu aikijujutsu with Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei in progress on the Aikido Journal Forums:

Dear posters and everybody,

I just got back to Italy after spending one month in Tokyo to practice martial arts. During this month I also spent some time training Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu under Kondo Sensei. I was very lucky, because I received almost everytime direct instruction by him or by Amano Sensei, so I had the chance to practice with the strongest exponent of Mainline Daito-ryu.

At first I only knew by the documents that Tommaso Leonetti gave me, plus the ones that Kondo Sensei himself showed me that Kondo Sensei’s was the real Daito-ryu.

But I have to say, what really astonished me and surprised me, was his technical level and ability!
I practice Kendo five times a week, do bodybuilding and I’ve been training for 10 years almost 3-4 times a week in the ex-Seishinkai Daito-ryu. I think honestly my arms and wrists are pretty strong, and it is very difficult to make techniques work against me, even when I’m just doing passive resistance… BUT Kondo Sensei’s waza and Amano Sensei’s waza always worked against me, regardless of the amount of strength and power I put, and RESISTANCE I put, I was always either clapping for the pain, or powerless, or thrown to the ground. Then they would invite me to do the techniques as I’ve been taught and they would put up resistance, and I could NOT make them work!

After almost ten years, I understood that what I’ve doing up to now was POWER ONLY techniques, that worked based on the pure force and experience I had. And especially I understood that WE HAD NO AIKI understanding at all in the Seishinkai/Daitokai. And I’m not meaning of some spiritual power, it’s a mechanical/practical thing in most cases, that we simply did not have.

And the reason is simple, my ex-teachers did not teach me, because they DO NOT KNOW it.

There were so many small details – but so important – that Kondo Sensei taught me and that no one else ever did, from Aiki to pressure points to more efficient ways of doing the same techniques that left me literally with my mouth open for surprise.

Now I know, that regardless of the documents, recognitions, international and local support, titles and everything that Kondo Sensei has, it is for the TECHNIQUES level of efficacy and detail that he is the true and only successor of mainline Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu!

I have to apologize and say sorry to everybody I sometimes even aggressively attacked in the past, and for helping spread lies that in all good faith I thought were truth.

I have to apologize especially to Kondo Sensei, Amano Sensei and all the exponents of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu for the mistakes I made in the past, even if done because of my inexperience and youngness (I’m still only 28 now!)

Thank to everybody that helped me reach finally, after so many years, the truth, and make me passionate again for this noble and ancient art, like Derek Steel, Ted Howell, Nathan Scott, Brian Wagner, Christopher Covington, of course Tommaso Leonetti and many others that supported me and understood what I went through in this last year.

You can all be sure I will throw myself with redoubled will and passion in spreading and supporting what I finally know is real Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu.

Now more than ever I know that the old saying is true:

“It’s best to spend ten years searching for a good teacher, than a few minutes with a bad one”

With my best regards,

Giacomo Merello

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