Likes Likes:  0
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 44

Thread: Film: "Aiki"/ Ole Kingston (Roppokai)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    737
    Likes (received)
    2

    Default DRAJJ hits the big screen

    The Japan Times: Dec. 4, 2002
    (C) All rights reserved

    Review of the movie "Aiki" by Mark Schilling

    What is the baddest martial art on the block? The usual video-game answer is "the one with the coolest-looking punches and kicks," which rules out judo, sumo and most other traditional Japanese schools of unarmed combat.

    Martial arts punchers and kickers can deliver devastating blows in any number of ways, with blinding speed. Sumo wrestlers, who fight according to clearly defined rules at close quarters, wouldn't seem to stand a chance. But how many of you karate brown belts out there would like to get into the ring with Musashimaru?

    Long ago, however, one school changed the terms of the debate. In aiki jujitsu, the predecessor to modern aikido, offense is not an option. Instead, practitioners receive their opponent's attack and use his own strength against him, with circular movements that usually end with a pin or a throw, not a knock-out blow.

    In "Aiki," the new film by Daisuke Tengan, a disabled former boxer becomes an aiki jujitsu expert -- a movie first. As might be expected, though, Tengan had a hard time convincing investors to put their money into a martial arts film whose hero never pounds a bad guy into mochi.

    "Aiki," however, is less a chop-socky-flick-gone-soft than a victory-over-adversity movie. It is the latest in a spate of books and films whose principals range from the severely disabled to Antarctic explorers, but whose common message is: "If these people could live through hell and come out smiling, why can't you?"

    This genre may have its merits, but narrative surprise isn't one of them, especially if the object is inspiration. There is the obligatory false dawn sequence when, after treading the upward path, the hero once again finds himself in the darkness. Then, after a climactic struggle, he ascends to the light. The human spirit triumphs and the credits roll.

    "Aiki" is no exception, but Tengan, who also wrote the script, has made more than just another motivational film with an eye on the box office. A veteran scriptwriter and documentary filmmaker (and the son, it must be mentioned, of director Shohei Imamura), Tengan has long been interested in the problems of the disabled.

    In 1992, he read an article in a Japanese martial arts magazine about a Danish man who, though paralyzed from the waist down, had become a black belt in aiki jujitsu. Intrigued, Tengan met him in Copenhagen and promised to turn his story into a film. After returning to Japan, however, Tengan got sidetracked with other projects, including "Muteki no Handicap (Invincible Handicapped)," (1994), a documentary about disabled men who fight each other in bloody wrestling bouts. The object, said the participants, was to challenge social stereotypes and to break out of the "comfort zone" of their own circumscribed world.

    At the beginning of "Aiki" Taichi (Haruhiko Kato) is a fighter himself -- a young up-and-coming boxer. After winning a tough bout, he is riding on his motorbike with his girlfriend when he is hit sideways by a car. The driver is at fault, but that is small consolation to Taichi, who loses the use of his legs and, as far as he is concerned, his reason for living. Angry at the world, he drives away his girlfriend (a flighty Shibuya Girl type, she is not unhappy to leave) and prepares to commit suicide with sleeping pills when he is stopped by the grizzled Tokonabe (Shohei Hino), a fellow patient and senpai at this business of seeing the world from a wheelchair. "Give it another year," he says. "If you still don't want to live by then, I won't stop you." Taichi reluctantly agrees.

    Unable to get a job and dependent on his older sister Tamiko (Chiaki Hara), Taichi sinks into self-pity and alcoholism. His unlikely rescuer is a curly-haired gangster (Masahiro Kuwana), who saves him from a beating by a trio of street punks and gives him a job running a game stall at a temple festival. Taichi is having a hard time luring customers when a strange woman (Rie Tomosaka) introduces herself as Ikasama no Samako (Samako the Swindler) and shows him a few tricks of the trade. Soon Taichi's stall is thriving and he has found another friend.

    With Samako's support, he begins to dream his old dream of fighting again. But when he returns to his old boxing gym, the manager tells him to "find a sport you can do from a wheelchair." Martial arts dojos are equally unsympathetic. He then goes to a demonstration of traditional martial arts at a temple and sees aiki jujitsu for the first time. The sensei, Hiraishi (Ryo Ishibashi), throws opponents with only the flick of a wrist, the twist of a hip. He can even do it kneeling, with his upper body alone.

    Impressed and inspired, Taichi asks to join Hiraishi's dojo, but Hiraishi hesitates. A straight arrow who hates to promise what he can't deliver, Hiraishi first sees for himself if it is possible to execute throws from a wheelchair. When he finds that he can, he accepts Taichi as a disciple. Overjoyed, Taichi makes rapid progress. Meanwhile his relationship with Samako is transforming from friendship into something more. But the three punks are still gunning for him -- and another crisis of confidence looms.

    This is a story tailor-made for overripe melodrama. True, Tengan pumps audience tear glands -- he has to pay back those investors somehow -- but together with the occasional histrionics, he delivers a clear-sighted, unsparing picture of what it means to be disabled in Japan today, from the social prejudice to the unavoidable realities of personal hygiene. He is aided by Kato, whose performance as Taichi hits the right emotional high and low notes, with nothing held back -- or manufactured.

    Tengan also gets to the heart of a martial art that is little-known and often misunderstood. (Disclosure: I earned an aikido black belt in some of the better-spent hours of my youth.) Aiki jujitsu may look like fakery to the uninitiated -- the throws seems to take too little effort (and require no Bruce Lee-like grunts and groans) -- but as Ishibashi shows with quiet dignity and solid physical skill, effort isn't everything in martial arts -- results are. His stuff works -- and so does "Aiki."
    --
    The gentleman refered to as the inspiration for this is/was( don't know if he is still active) part of the Roppokai. Brently-(or anyone else in the Roppokai) Do you have any more information on him, his name, still active, that type of thing? I remember, Tim, who was one of the uke when Okamoto Sensei did the seminar at Little Tokyo community center, mentioning him and showing us pictures with him.

    Nathan, if this belongs in the media forum, please move it as you see fit.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Posts
    2,570
    Likes (received)
    44

    Default

    [Post deleted by user]
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 10th June 2014 at 23:30.
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    85
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default Aiki Movie

    Gentlemen,

    The Movie "Aiki" is a re-creation of the incredible career of Ole Kingston of Denmark, as previously stated by Nathan.

    Ole is without a doubt a true hero. Anyone who reaches the level of understanding that he has in the martial arts deserves a certain amount of respect, if nothing more then for the years of dedication necessary to reach that level.

    For Mr. Kingston, it is a bit different. Being completely paralyzed from the mid-chest down, achieving this level of competency in an art as complicated as Daitoryu is not only impressive, it's next to impossible. Ole has only done so with tremendous effort and personal sacrifices.

    Okamoto Sensei, the leader of the Roppokai, doesn't treat Ole any differently then any other member. On the contrary, he actually issists that Ole's techniques are of a higher level then others, due to his limited mobility. In addition, Sensei DOES NOT take it easy on Ole. I have personally witnessed Okamoto Sensei launching Ole over the back of his wheechair on numerous occasions, to make sure Ole understood how the technique should feel when done correctly.

    In 1998, I was fortunate enough to have Mr. Kingtson and some of the other members from Denmark attend one of Okamoto Sensei's Seminars here in NY. It was during that time that Ole showed how effective his technique truly is. In fact, many of the current members of the NY branch of the Roppokai are due to the fact that Ole was able to toss them so easily that it was embarrasing to them. Being competent martial artists themselves, it was crazy to believe that a wheelchair bound man could easily defeat them.

    In the past 6 years, I have been fortunate enough to travel to Denmark many times. Each time I grow more and more impressed with Ole. His love of life is only surpassed by his love of Daitoryu Roppokai and his dedication to Okamoto Sensei. I only hope that in some small way, he understands what an inspiration he really is.

    I wake up complaining how my knees hurt, wrists hurt, shoulders hurt, and Ole would say, stop crying, have a beer and get on the mat.

    I am truly honored to call Ole a close personal friend an want to congratulate him on the success of the movie that was modeled after his life. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me @ howardpopkin@yahoo.com.

    Thanks for listening,

    Howard Popkin
    Daitoryu Aikijujutsu Roppokai
    New York

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    85
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default Movie

    Gentlemen,

    Sorry, I left out a few details.

    Many of the people in the movie are Okamoto Sensei's direct Students.

    It was all done under the supervision of top Roppokai practitioners.

    If you need more info, please feel free to ask.

    Thanks again for listening.

    Howard Popkin

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Posts
    2,570
    Likes (received)
    44

    Wink

    [Post deleted by user]
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 10th June 2014 at 23:30.
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    85
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Nathan,

    At this time I know it has been dubbed into Italian, but I don't know about English yet.

    It was at the Film Festival in Italy earlier this year.

    On a side note, Mr. Kingston was just in Japan for the Japanese opening of the film. He was on TV throwing around some people.

    Best part is, he is really funny also.

    Take care,

    Howard

    Howard Popkin
    Daitoryu Aikijujutsu Roppokai
    NY Branch

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    85
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Guys,

    I have received a few e-mails asking about Ole, so here it is:

    Ole Kingston
    Yondan - Jun Kyoju Dairi
    Shibu-cho
    Copenhagen Roppokai

    I believe he began training Roppokai in 1985, but that is approximate.

    If I left anything out, please feel free to e-mail me again.

    Take care,

    Howard

    Howard Popkin
    Daitoryu Aikijujutsu Roppokai
    NY

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Posts
    99
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    I would also be very interested in getting my hands on a copy of this film. I teach Phys Ed at a non-public special education facility. I believe it would be of benefit to my students to see someone with different abilities able to accomplish extraordinary things (provided that adult themes aren't too heavy with regards to the budding relationship). If anyone is able to obtain release information, please share.
    Your's in health,
    Brian Wagner
    Daito-ryu aikijujutsu
    Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu heiho

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Dayton, Ohio
    Posts
    43
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    More reviews of Aiki:

    iofilms
    http://www.iofilm.co.uk/fm/a/aiki_2002.shtml

    Regus London Film Festival
    http://www.rlff.com/db_world02/cinem...s/view_143.htm

    Variety (subscribers only, but they offer a free trial)
    http://www.variety.com/index.asp?lay...117918588&cs=1
    Bill Menker

    "I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance." -Thomas Carlyle

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Posts
    16
    Likes (received)
    3

    Default

    Aiki was screened twice at the Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada) International Film Festival this past September and October. Unfortunately, I missed it but assume it has been subtitled into English. See http://www.viff.org .

    Kevin T. Tanemura

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Colo Spgs, CO USA
    Posts
    377
    Likes (received)
    2

    Default aiki movie

    "The gentleman refered to as the inspiration for this is/was( don't know if he is still active) part of the Roppokai. Brently-(or anyone else in the Roppokai) Do you have any more information on him, his name, still active, that type of thing?"

    I first learned about this movie this summer, but have not posted anything because I haven't been able to see the movie yet. In the last month or so, more reviews have finally been coming out - including the above mentioned showings at the Vancouver Film Festival, so I expect it will become available soon with English subtitles if it's not already.

    The story is based on Ole Kingston's true life story - but having not seen the movie, and only read reviews I don't know how biographical it really is - obviously parts have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. The Ole's character is played by a young Japanese actor, Haruhiko Kato and the aikijujutsu instructor is portrayed by Ryo Ishibashi who is a well known actor in Japan.

    Some movie critics have remarked that the ajj in the movie seems rather fake and far fetched - that is to be expected since ajj often looks fake even to experienced martial artists. Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu (imo) is just not suited for your typical flashy MA flick, it's too minimal motion, too internal to make for great chop socky action. From what I've gathered, the movie is more a "coming of age" type picture that emphasizes the personal struggle of Taichi (H. Kato) to deal with and accept his handicap and eventually triumph in spite of it. Again I've not seen the movie yet - so I can't really comment any further on that.

    As Howard already said, Ole is a Roppokai member, and is active as one of the senior practitioners and leaders of the Denmark Roppokai branch. I first met Ole back in 1995, and not only is he an exceptional martial artist and individual, like Howard said - he is also an inspiring example of how anyone can learn to do extraordinary things with the right teacher, and the dedication and commitment to train and persevere even against seemingly overwhelming odds.

    I also consider Ole a good friend, he truly is a great guy to hang out with. I count it a real priveledge to have trained with him the few times that I have - as my sempai he's always been generous and helpful both on and off the mat.

    I heartily agree with what Howard said both about Ole and Okamoto sensei. Sensei treats everyone more or less equally, however, that is not to say he treats everyone the same - he shares generously, but his generosity seems to increase according to how much you put into your training. The last time I saw Ole in Japan, he talked a lot about the kind of training he received from Sensei, Howards description of Sensei launching Ole over the back of his wheelchair is not exaggerated - and suffice it to say I think what he's accomplished reflects directly on the creative and no nonsense teaching genius of Okamoto sensei, and Ole's hard (or is it soft?) work and dedication.

    It reminds me of how the Yagyu Shinkage-ryu master didn't hesitate to throw the Shogun (who was his student) he showed no partiality at all towards him because of his position - and Okamoto sensei likewise didn't treat Ole any differently because of his condition - but taught him sincerely.

    I was also priveledged to be there in New York in 1998 when Ole came to Okamoto sensei's seminar there, and I witnessed some of the tossing around that took place. In addition to Okamoto sensei and Ole several other Danish members also attended that seminar. Of course, I'd already experienced Ole's technique before, so I didn't need any convincing - but I participated non-the-less in taking the beatings . It was the first time for many of the folks there to ever experience aiki at a higher level, and some of them really seemed to be incredulous, and there was no shortage of skepticism shown at first. However many things we might say about aiki, I think that sincere training in authentic Daito-ryu AJJ is always going to be a humbling experience - we often say how you have to feel it or experience it and it's true. It really was a great time, and Howard and the other folks in NY that I met, were a great group to train with.

    As far as disclosing any additional information about Ole and his real life, I would prefer to respect his privacy, and let him speak for himself and tell his own story on his own terms. The movie will likely draw enough attention his way, and I wouldn't want to add to (or detract from) that without his willing consent.

    My congratulations do go out to both Ole and Okamoto sensei on the release of the movie based in part on their story - as well as to all the other Roppokai members who had a part in it's conception and production. I look forward to seeing it!

    Brently Keen

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    85
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default Movie

    Gentlemen,

    I was asked by Alec Rice, a member of the Roppokai Hombu, to post this reply. I hope this doesn't break posting rules... Sorry Nathan.


    Ole was invited to Japan last week to promote the film. He was interviewed for television, magazines, and newspapers as well as appearing at the official film premiere, where he demonstrated some AIKI techniques for the press. He was also promoted by Okamoto Sensei to 4-dan, and received the Jun-kyoju dairi license. This makes him not only the highest ranking non-Japanese person in the Roppokai, but also the highest ranking non-Tokyo Roppokai member.

    The film "AIKI" is based upon Ole and Seigo Okamoto Sensei. It premiered last Saturday, November 30th in Japan. Its first public unveiling was at the 2002 Venice film festival earlier this year.

    Aside from Haruhiko Kato, who plays the protagonist Taichi, and Ryo Ishibashi, who plays the Aikijujutsu teacher Hiraishi, and one other actor, all of the people who appear in the training sequences are members of the Tokyo Roppokai. Ryo Ishibashi is a professional Japanese actor, and has no formal martial arts training that I know of. He was presented with an award for best supporting actor by the Hoichi Shimbun (newspaper) for his role as Hiraishi in the film. This role is based in part upon Okamoto Sensei.

    Filming was completed about one year ago. Kaoru Kiyota, Roppokai 6 dan and Kyoji Dairi, was in charge of training the actors in a crash course in Aikijujutsu and all of the Aiki choreography in the film. He appears in the film as the character Ochiai.

    For those of you who read Japanese, there was a rather extensive set of articles about Ole, Okamoto Sensei, and the film in the latest issue of Hiden magazine. There is also an interview with the director Daisuke Tengan and Kaoru Kiyota about the film. More articles in a variety of Japanese magazines and newspapers should be available shortly.

    There is also a website with scenes from the film and information. The URL is http://www.Aiki.cc.

    There are no definite plans to release the movie overseas yet as far as I am aware. I am afraid that is all I can say at this time.

    Alec Rice
    Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Roppokai
    3-dan


    Thanks,
    Howard Popkin
    NY Roppokai

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Posts
    2,570
    Likes (received)
    44

    Default Aiki - A Never Ending Journey

    [Post deleted by user]
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 10th June 2014 at 23:31.
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

  14. #14
    Dan Harden Guest

    Default

    Nathan Laments
    Also, I just found that even if you are a paying subscriber, there is no longer a "printer friendlly" version available, and in fact, it seems to be impossible to print the articles anymore. This is really a bummer for me, as I really like to print such things and consolidate them in binders for reference. I waste enough time reading and re-reading things on the net!


    ***************************

    Nathan
    You internet wizard guy!!
    Just right click, copy, open up word, and paste. You will have to do the pictures separately, but they paste just as well in the order you place them.
    I have been doing this for a year.

    Hope this helps
    and happy new year.
    Hey that other stuff we were yaking about privately. I started writing something up- I'll finish it over the weekend
    Dan

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Atlanta - USA
    Posts
    712
    Likes (received)
    6

    Default

    To agree with Dan here, this is also my method. Another plus is control over print size and style and the ability to size any photographs. Minus would be more time consuming.

    And computers used to be such labor saving devices.
    Doug Walker
    Completely cut off both heads,
    Let a single sword stand against the cold sky!

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Roppokai
    By Burt in forum Aikijujutsu
    Replies: 110
    Last Post: 17th November 2007, 15:50
  2. Mel Gibson's Jesus, Mel Gibson's Jews
    By Cady Goldfield in forum Member's Lounge
    Replies: 604
    Last Post: 8th March 2004, 07:57
  3. Star Wars: Episode 3 Spoilers?
    By PHILBERT in forum Member's Lounge
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 2nd September 2003, 05:54

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •