Monday, April 12, 2010

The 2010 Cherry Blossom Festival Southern California Part 5: The Art of Peace-Back to the Martial Arts Stage

The funny thing about the Cherry Blossom Festival was that there weren't really any cherry blossoms near any of the stages or booths. The only one I found was on the top of a mochi cake booth.

But back to guys handing out the hurt...On the second day, I brought another non-anime friend to Little Tokyo. However, he had a Ducks game to get to, so the day was short, but I really wasn't planning much.

Anyway, we started with the martial arts stage where the Aikido Center of Los Angeles kicked things off with an Iaido (sword drawing) demonstration. Like many martial arts, this one is all about skill (again, more exciting when you're in the first row within inches of the blade)...

There were more examples of sword drawing, but the pics came out blurry. Anyway, I wanted to see the aikido since I've only studied Yoshinkan aikido. Judging by their belts, I think these guys were Aikikai.

Entering throw (irimi nage):

Looks like a reverse hand throw (kote gaeshi):

Something from a two-hand grasp. I can't remember (breath throw, kokyu nage? leave a comment if you can figure it out):

A form of second control (nikajo):

Side entering throw (sokumen irimi nage):

And one of my favorite techniques, first control (ikkajo):

Again the difference between Yoshinkan, Aikikai, Judo, etc... for a technique that looks the same is how it feels. And there's really no substitute for feeling it first-hand.

Next was more Filipino stick fighting from NNG Balintawak International:

With a short demonstration between a balintawak practitioner and a practitioner of Russian systema:

Since neither of us wanted to watch the karate since they were mainly children in that demo, I showed him around the two Jungle locations where he learned quickly how expensive an otaku lifestyle can be with figures that can cost in the hundreds of dollars. However, when we stopped at the Kinokuniya bookstore before hitting the martial arts stage, he was contemplating dropping $50 on an art book that required ID to purchase until I suggested he get a t-shirt if he wanted a Little Tokyo souvenir.

When we returned to the martial arts stage, we were treated to a demonstration of training by the California Sumo Association.

It's amazing how far they can stretch. I heard the guy in the blue shorts actually ran the L.A. Marathon. It's also amazing how much weight they can take.

Now in sumo, you can push the opponent off or throw him down to win.

You can't punch or kick in sumo, but you can push with flat palms.

You can lift your opponent out:

You can even throw your opponent out:

There was more, but it looks a lot better in video...I'll probably edit this post later once my friend posts his videos up.

Coming up, catching the lolita fashion show before rushing back to Honda Center...

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