Iaido Journal Jan 2005
Nodan Budo: A Review
copyright © 2005 Paul Schweer, all rights reserved
Just prior to our Monday night class, my teacher handed me a copy of
Centering In The Martial Arts: The Power Of The Way. It had
arrived, unsolicited, in the dojo mail. From reading the blurbs
on the DVD cover, I gathered he was wondering if it was for real.
And curious, but too cowardly to view it for himself, he asked me to
watch it for him.
Since I figure this must be some sort of perverse right of passage, I
am not bitter. Thank you, may I have another.
Centering In The Martial Arts is a forty-two minute demonstration of
board breaking, self-defense forms and techniques, and an exploration
of the "one-two" principle. From what I can surmise, the one-two
principle consists of leading the upper body's movement with a
preceding turn of one's hips, instead of turning the hips and upper
body as one unit. I would try to explain more in depth, but I
think that is pretty much as deep as it gets.
The instructor/narrator/demonstrator (and, if I had to guess, also the
producer, director, cameraman, lighting man, soundman and gofer) is a
fellow who calls himself Nodan. The presentation begins with four
disclaimers of danger and liability, but omits Nodan's background and
qualifications. And fails to provide his full name.
Nodan describes himself as an old man "twenty years past his
prime." He wears big black spectacles, as seen in Bugs Bunny Nips
The Nips. He speaks in accented, sometimes broken English, and
refers to himself in the third person: "Nodan will use bent wrist
strike." (Nodan hurt wrist, but bow anyway.) He repeats
phrases such as "appearances can be deceiving" and "picture worth a
After a particularly difficult break of no fewer than five boards,
Nodan tells a cautionary tale: "Now listen carefully please.
Nodan is using only his own natural strength to do these breaking
demonstrations. But beware. It is possible through occult
practices to channel other spiritual powers, which by comparison make
Nodan's breaking mere child's play. "
In conclusion, just prior to the "Final Slow Motion Review", Nodan
summarizes: "The wise man learns to fight so he will not have to
Following the conclusion and final review... Nodan demonstrates,
with the assistance of Yakov (The Hammer), centered stance. Yakov
is "big and very powerful". And appears to be wearing an eye
patch. And a floppy toupee. Yakov grunts, but cannot "push
an old man over".
Nodan then does a solo form to demonstrate "moving in center".
Then brutalizes Yakov in a series of techniques against machete and
knife. Followed by a slow motion review.
Then another solo form.
Then a postscript, that begins "For Nodan, Centering In The Martial
Arts was a natural outgrowth of his training in aikido...." The
postscript includes Nodan's description of his own enlightenment:
Into the void
he blindly goes,
now he knows...
in second death
A fitting postscript, I suppose.
[Ed. note: We believe this video was
intended as a parody. ]