Wanomichi : Voie de l’Harmonie, Voie de la Paix
Wanomichi takes its roots in the teaching of Morihiro Saito Sensei in Iwama (Japan), one of the closest students of Master Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido. It is thus a method offering a new approach of this teaching.
*Daniel Toutain initiated Wanomichi after practicing Aikido for 50 years.
Student of Master Saito, he decided to develop this new approach of the teaching he received in Iwama with the goal of improving the understanding and the practice of these fundamental principles that shape this transmission of knowledge.
La pratique d’Iwama
The practice of the Founder of Aikido has been perpetuated by Morihiro Saito Sensei who lived on his side and received his teaching during 23 years in his personal Dojo in Iwama. After his Master’s passing, Professor Morihiro Saito took the responsibility of this Dojo where, under the designations of “Iwama Takemusu Aiki” and later “Iwama Ryu”, he faithfully preserved the authentic art of origin he has inherited. It is in this historical place in Japan that Daniel Toutain received the teaching of Morihiro Saito Sensei.
L’art du créateur de l’Aikido comportait des différences significatives par rapport à l’Aikido plus largement diffusé aujourd’hui. Il est en effet reconnu officiellement que Kishomaru Ueshiba Sensei, premier Doshu et fils du Maître Ueshiba, a apporté des modifications afin de faciliter la diffusion de l’Aikido auprès du plus grand nombre. C’est incontestablement ce qui a contribué au développement de cet art dans le monde entier. C’est pourquoi il existe des divergences techniques subtiles entre l’Aikido officiellement représenté dans le monde entier par l’Aikikai de Tokyo et l’art qui fût préservé de façon plus confidentielle à Iwama par Saito Sensei. De plus, l’enseignement qui était dispensé à Iwama comportait la pratique du sabre et du bâton telle qu’elle avait été personnalisée par le Fondateur à partir d’écoles traditionnelles dont il avait lui-même atteint les plus hauts niveaux de maîtrise. Le Maître considérait en effet que le maniement de ces armes devait refléter les mouvements du corps et inversement, d’où cette relation directe qu’il avait su adapter entre les techniques d’armes et les techniques à mains nues. Ces deux aspects constituaient une seule et même chose dans son art. Cependant il ne dispensait son enseignement du sabre et du bâton que de manière privée dans son Dojo personnel à Iwama.
Qu’est-ce-que Wanomichi ?
Rooted in Iwama’s practice, Wanomichi has for specific feature a method allowing to deal with its founding principles and mastery in depth following a particular program of
improvement. This program is nourished with other practices sharing a common ground. With more than 40 years of teaching experience in Aikido and also with experience in other arts, Daniel Toutain noticed that, in first place, practitioners need to control their body in order to reach their objectives while applying the techniques with a partner.
Thus, he created a particular method called Kaizen Dosa. The aim is to perceive one’s body as a whole and to refine the relation between movement and breathing.
As a result, movements are more stable and smoother as well as an essential handle on space thanks to exercises highlighting fundamental principles used in Iwama’s martial techniques. It involves movements to accomplish either alone or with a
partner, with a Jo (staff) used as a mean to perceive the axis of the lever system or with empty hands.
Kaizen Dosa alongside includes the study of Ashtanga Yoga in a way that has been
especially designed for Wanomichi students. This additional teaching is part of training and allows to develop suppleness with a positive impact on health, but also a greater control over one’s own body. This field is supervised by Sonia Tomioka Toutain, an Ashtanga Yoga. Professor with Japanese origin, she is also experienced in the practice of Iwama where she spent several years beside Master Morihiro Saito.
Kaizen Dosa, as an integrated program in the study of Iwama’s techniques, is the specific feature of Wanomichi. It is an open door to the broadest public to improve in a global practice whose fundamental principles match with the traditional teaching of
Iwama. Saito Sensei, while staying true to his Master, also made improvements in his teaching method to better adapt it. Thus, the use of the name Wanomichi has been
decided by Daniel Toutain to perpetuate this state of mind, especially as Saito Sensei himself told him about this possibility if it was needed to preserve the origin art. This choice has been guided in the interests of clarity regarding the official Aikido and other schools coming from Iwama and created after Saito Sensei’s demise.
Wanomichi enters into the French poet Jean Cocteau’s definition of Tradition :
« Tradition is, drawing on certitudes of the past, what evolves continuously »
Through this physical and technical experience, Wanomichi has for purpose to allow each one to discover their potential so they can gain greater self-confidence.
It is the first step to a better understanding of the self, source of inner Peace and thus better relations with the outside world.
WANOMICHI ART OF PEACE IN THE BUDO TRADITION
As a Budo, Wanomichi technically relies on the Japanese martial tradition as it has been transmitted in Iwama by the Founder of Aikido. According to his message, the goal is not to dominate one’s opponent, but to reach harmony and to bind oneself to the laws of the Universe. It is an essential element in the physical relation that exists during the
execution of techniques. Through this relation with the partner, it is possible to discover more about oneself and one’s reactions to continuously improve. Reaching this harmony with someone else certainly asks to master the techniques but more importantly to be in harmony with oneself. It has inevitably repercussions in daily life, and it might permit to get to spiritual maturity, the ultimate goal that Master Morihei Ueshiba gave to his art. This is why special attention is given to respect, togetherness, and kindness during the sessions. Indeed, the Ego has no place in Budo.
Practice of Wanomichi first has for effect to obtain a good physical and emotional balance. It contributes also to maintain a good health which it is recognized today that it
depends on several factors.
Wanomichi can be practiced by all, adult females or males with no age restriction, and children starting at 6.
PRACTICE OF WANOMICHI
Preparatory training exercises created by Daniel Toutain to learn the fundamental principles constituting Iwama techniques. Bare hands or Jo techniques, alone or with a partner.
Physical preparation and development from Ashtanga Yoga suited for Wanomichi practitioners.
All empty hands techniques, with one or multiple partners, from Iwama’s teaching
Ken (wooden sword) and Jo (staff of about 5’9” or more, depending on the size of the
practitioner) with one or multiple partners. These techniques were taught in Iwama (Japan) only and can be supplemented with numerous possible versions.
Mixed empty hands techniques to control Ken, Jo or Tanken attacks. (a kind of dagger). With one or multiple partners. Taught on the basis of the Iwama program with various addons.
The teaching is divided in 3 progressive steps
Kaizen Dosa + Kihon
In-depth study of the fundamental principles and basic techniques.
Kaizen Dosa + Ki no nagare
Fluid forms of the basic program.
Kaizen Dosa + Takemusu
More free and creative application of the fundamental principles of the techniques.
Wanomichi is practiced with an outfit inspired by the classical uniform used in the Japanese Budo, but with a more contemporary attention on comfort. It is composed of black loose pants with a wide elastic belt and two straps allowing adjustments to fit the waist. Pants are worn as usual pants are and include the koshi ita in the back as for the traditional hakama. Practitioners wear a white vest with wide sleeves and a semi rigid V-neck collar. The cloth must be flexible and solid enough for strong
grasps. All practitioners wear the same outfit whatever their level of
training. To maintain hygiene, it is recommended to use tabis (traditional Japanese socks).
WANOMICHI INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION
Wanomichi is represented in numerous countries part of the Wanomichi International Association (WIA) whose headquarters are in the United States.
The Association gathers together the Wanomichi Instructors from 16 countries :
United States – Colombia – Peru – Chili – Algeria –Morocco – Spain – France – England – Scotland – Germany – Italy – Bosnia – Slovenia – Croatia – Romania..
*Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) Founder of Aikido
*Morihiro Saito (1928-2002) Considered as the technical heir of the Founder, guardian of his Dojo in Iwama
(Japan) until 2002
*Nobuyoshi Tamura (1933-2010)
*Masamichi Noro (1935-2013) Founder of Kinomichi
*Kaizen Dosa: The word “kaizen” comes from the merging of the two Japanese words “kai” and “zen”, meaning
“change” and “best”. The common translation is “continuous improvement” or “analyze to improve”. This term is
used in various fields.
*Ashtanga Yoga: It is a dynamic Yoga with postures and stretches to develop energy with positions to
accumulate vital breath in the deep parts of the body tissues through synchronization of movements with
breathing. Some postures considerably favor the "sheathing" of the body. The body center guides all
movements as in the Japanese Budo arts. Yoga means Union.
For 30 years, Daniel Toutain was successively a student of three famous Japanese experts, all disciples of the great master Morihei Ueshiba the Founder of Aikido :
- Masamichi Noro Sensei from 1968 to 1978
- Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei from 1978 to 1988
- Morihiro Saito Sensei from 1992 to 2002 of which he received directly the rank of 6th Dan in March 2002 as well as the highest level of education of Ken and Jo.
Apart from a short experience in Judo and Karate, he practiced for a few years Wing Chun with a Chinese Master of international reputation and Iaï for a longer period. Since 2015 he has been involved in Ashtanga Yoga, which has given him a new perspective in his practice. He started his research on Wanomichi from 2015 and officially used this name in 2018.
In 1975 Daniel Toutain holds the official diploma of Aikido teacher from the French Ministry of Youth and Sports. He once held the position of Regional Technical Delegate within the UNA (Aikido National Union). At the beginning of the 1980s he was a National Technical Manager within the FFLAB (Free French Federation of Aikido and Budo) technically led by Tamura Sensei.
Wanomichi is the result of the teaching of his Masters for thirty years and more than fifty years of practice, forty of them as teacher at different levels. The comprehensive teaching he received from Master Saito Sensei is the backbone of Wanomichi, adapted to the needs of today's world.
Sonia Tomioka Toutain
Graduated from the University of Sao Paolo (USP - Brazil) in Physical and Sports Education - Psychology and Physiotherapy. As a teacher of Ashtanga Yoga, she guides this part of the program which also includes Meditation. In the 90s Sonia spent more than 4 years in the Aikido Founder's Dojo in Iwama, Japan with Saito Sensei, whom she was very close to. Being of Japanese descent, she was responsible for transmitting Japanese culture to practitioners from around the world to stay in the Iwama Dojo. Holder of the 3rd Dan Iwama, her
experience allows her to adapt in a specific and very progressive way the exercises of Ashtanga Yoga in the program Wanomichi in which she participates.