Featured: “An Aikido Solution to Hamas Rocket Attacks” by Corky Quakenbush

A rocket is fired from Gaza towards Israel Photo Credit: Reuters

A rocket is fired from Gaza towards Israel
Photo Credit: Reuters

As an Aikido practitioner, I always look at conflict from a perspective that includes the principles of aiki.  Of particular interest to me is how the principles of Aikido can be manifested in government and international relations.  One issue that screams out for the principles of nonviolent conflict resolution is the Israel Palestine conflict.Recently, rockets fired from the Palestinian Territories have rained down on Israel.

Aikido is meant to deal with deadly attack so this should be a condition that is ripe for the application of Aikido principles to help bring about a lasting peace. The answer is really quite simple and easy to institute. But for fear, peace could be created in a matter of days, if not hours, after the initial rocket attacks.

To be fair, this solution, though effective and simple and as easy as it really is, may face difficulty in being executed. Most people involved in conflict resolution view the process as achieving peace when the opposition relents and finally agrees with them. The inability or lack of desire of most people to practice an art of conflict resolution in which satisfaction for all parties involved is the main priority, reflects the self-preserving nature of ego, whether expressed by an individual or by a group.  The ego intentions of individuals or groups of like-minded individuals often reflect the desire to win, if not to have more than one’s adversary at the end of the interaction, reflecting a loss of something of the adversary, then to have what one desires despite the desires of the adversary.When an individual or group wants to come out ahead at the expense of the other, it is impossible to operate in a state in which aiki will manifest from the actions of that individual or group.

Aikido requires selflessness to work as it is intended.  For many, this kind of selfless approach is foreign and frightening.

A Palestinian youth walks through a crater after an Israeli air strike in a residential neighborhoos in Gaza. Photo Credit: Getty Images

A Palestinian youth walks through a crater after an Israeli air strike in a residential neighborhood in Gaza. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Reflecting on the requirement of selflessness, the fear of it is largely the idea that selflessness means subjugation to the other party. However, any solution that requires one to “lose” is not a manifestation of aiki, as true aiki never creates a winner and a loser.   Therefore the aiki answer does not include “losing” to create peace.

If Aiki is present, neither party will feel disadvantaged in any way.

This may sound strange when compared to the way Aikido looks when an attacker ends his action on the ground, but when Aikido manifests out of beneficent intention, the attacker does not feel defeated by this path to the floor, but taken care of.  The connective properties of ki expressed to another naturally feel good to both participants, even in the midst of the physical expression of an attack.

In our Aiki-Lab practice, we work from ukemi.  That is, uke’s attack is meant to energetically pierce the central core of nage and continue to do so throughout the interaction.  Practicing this way instead of by technique emulation gives one a wholly different perspective of how much we, as nages, get into the way of aiki manifesting because of our fear responses.

In our Aiki-Lab way of practicing, the only thing that is going to produce an aiki-resolution (what others might call a fall or throw) is if uke continues his authentic attack energy flow to nage’s center and if nage does not counter attack, defend, or withdraw, but rather responds from a place of beneficent intention, thereby creating a flow of energy that supports uke as uke follows his attack’s path to the ground.

One of the things we learn from this kind of practice is that the greatest connective properties of a flood of ki from nage to uke is inclusiveness.  The sincere attitude of “we’re in this together” creates an energetic bond between partners that is deeply satisfying, and it gives the attacker the ability to give up the attack without repercussions.

Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei performing irimi or the principle of "entering".

Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei performing Irimi or the principle of “entering”.

In the practice of Aikido there is also a principle of “entering.”  In one sense it pertains to the movement of irimi, or moving into a close proximity that makes it bio-mechanically impossible for the attack to have an impact.  But in another way it means to take action as soon as the intention to attack is forming in the mind of the attacker.  Since the goal is not to win but to unify, the entering is not about taking an early advantage but about addressing the problem before it develops into something more destructive.

With those two principles in place we can see an instant solution to the rocket attacks.  The rocket attacks from Hamas originate in detectable positions but rain down randomly upon Israel.  Since the Israeli defenses know where the rockets are coming from, Hamas populates the area with civilians, making counter attacks from Israel fall inevitably on non-combatants.

This practice puts Israel in an unfortunate position from a military perspective because it will have to kill innocent civilians in order to take out the rocket launching positions.   The Palestinian death rate is far greater than that of Israel’s thereby making Israel’s response look overbearing and promoting greater animosity toward Israel by the Palestinian populace (outside of Hamas).

If the population of Israel could operate within the principles of Aikido as expressed through the properties of entering and inclusion, they would put an end to the rocket barrage in a day and actually make the steps toward lasting peace from a solid foundation.

The way this would be accomplished is by opening the borders and sincerely welcoming Palestinians into their land, into their homes and businesses, and into their lives.  This cannot work if the attitude motivating this action is anything but inclusiveness, that is, Palestinians must be treated as guests and as family.  When the population of Palestine is completely commingled with Israelis in Israel, any rocket launched by Hamas would be landing on Palestinians as well as Israelis.

With sincere intention that peace be attained without winner or loser, the heartfelt desire to share would bring these so-called Palestinian “human shields” into shields against aggression.  Should Hamas be seen as indiscriminately killing fellow Palestinian countrymen, women and children of their own in their pursuits of an overthrow of Israel, their support among Palestinians would disappear and they would be seen to be ineffective at best and more likely detrimental to the Palestinians as a whole.



From an economical perspective, it is far less costly to host new friends than it is to fund a standing army always ready for battle at moment’s notice.  The social cost of learning to appreciate the differences between cultures is far less than the pain of coping with constant fear of the other.

By transcending fear, trust comes about naturally.

In Aikido we find that entering with an open heart, rather than making one vulnerable, as the ego would have us believe, gives the Aikido practitioner unfathomable power to bring about the nonviolent solution.  This courage, practiced by the good and loving people of Israel, will reverberate throughout the Middle East, and if they can, in the face of onslaught, maintain their openness and inclusive attitude in the hopes that Israelis and Arabs, who share the same basic needs as all human cousins, will be satisfied in equality, they will be loved as brothers and sisters throughout the world, and peace will come quickly and with minimal cost.

This article was submitted exclusively to Aikido no Sekai by Corky Quakenbush Sensei. All rights reserved. You can also submit Aikido or Peace related articles to Aikido no Sekai via email: aikidonosekai@gmail.com.

corky quakenbush aikidoCorky Quakenbush Sensei

In December 14 1983 (O’Sensei’s 100th birthday), Corky Sensei, based in Los Angeles, California, began practicing Aikido. Initially a student in the Mitsugi Saotome Sensei’s lineage (Aikido Schools of Ueshiba) and then in Koichi Tohei’s lineage through Seidokan, Corky Sensei was awarded the rank of Shodan in 1994 by Don O’Bell Sensei.

Corky Sensei  benefitted from training with various teachers, particularly the late Kanshu Sunadomari Shihan before abandoning technique practice in 2004  to develop a martially sound yet truly nonviolent, ukemi based teaching model he calls “Aiki-Lab.”

Using authentic attack energy rather than collusive ukemi, Corky Sensei has designed Aiki-Lab to bring beginners and advanced practitioners to Takemusu Aiki through the embodiment of beneficent intention.  Takemusu Aiki is Aikido that  spontaneously manifests without set forms, and was said by O’Sensei to be the highest ideal of the art of Aikido.

At present, Corky Quakenbush Sensei is the chief instructor of Kakushi Toride Aikido.

(Please also see: “Should Aikido be Effective?“)


“Ssshhh… I will tell you a secret. For me, it’s Shihonage.”

Shihonage by Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu

Shihonage. Tori: Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu

“Slow is good. No need to be fast. The speed will come when you need it.” 

That was what my teacher said. We were practicing Shihonage.

Shihonage is the four-direction throw. It is based on how fighters long ago used to bow toward the East, North, West and South before and after a fight (I think Muay Thai and Sumo arts still bow to the four directions until now).  Sometimes, it is also called the four corner-throw. Everything that Aikido is based on can be found in Shihonage. According to an account written by Gozo Shioda, O’Sensei said that:

Shihonage is the foundation of Aikido. All you ever need to master is Shihonage”.

One of the reasons why Shihonage has a very special place in my heart is because it was the very first technique my teacher taught me. I still remember it very clearly. Katatedori gyaku hanmi Shihonage omote. Looking back at the beginner that I was, we paid close attention to starting out footwork. I got easily lost the minute the hanmi changed. I counted the steps and turned awkwardly. I kept losing my balance and kept getting my face in the way of my partner’s fist. Sometimes, I bumped into him. I couldn’t get it right. Sensei was a patient man. I do not doubt that my clumsy attempts were any good at all. But he was right there along with me guiding me to get it right.

Hanmi-Handachi Shihonage. Tori: Tada Hiroshi shihan

Hanmi-Handachi Shihonage. Tori: Tada Hiroshi Shihan

“Ma-ai.” He says. “You get a fist if you do not understand ma-ai.” Outbalance upon entering.“Maintain your partner’s being off-balance throughout the entire technique.“I can still hear his voice in my mind when I slip up and do not get it right every now and then.“Do not pause when you pivot. One continuous motion from start to finish!”Poor bumbling newbie, I thought would never get the hang of it.

Personally, Shihonage always reminds me of cutting down with a sword. I like to practice with the bokken and cutting in four or eight directions when I am alone and have no partner to practice with. The cutting and turning with the bokken exercise lends itself well to refining most techniques, but the particular one that comes to my mind is Shihonage. Breathing with my sword strokes also helps in keeping me aware of the rising and dropping motions.

Shihonage should not be unreasonable or forced.

I think you have to segue into Shihonage, flow into it from the attack, very much like Kaitenage. When I practice it, I become conscious of where my hips are and to where they are facing. I become aware of a drop in my center when I cut down. In practicing Shihonage, I also become very much aware of Ma-ai, because, yes, I do get a fist in my face or walk into a face slap if I do not pay attention to it.

Shihonage. Tori: Yaushito Irie Sensei, 5th Dan (Photo Credit: Aikido Tada-Juku Irie Dojo)

Shihonage. Tori: Yasuhito Irie Sensei, 5th Dan (Photo Credit: Aikido Tada-Juku Irie Dojo)

Then there is the direction of the throw. When I was starting out, I learned the one where you cut down directly in front of you. As I got more exposed to other versions, I learned them too. Sometimes, one teacher will teach the cutting down version, other times, another teacher will teach throwing your uke away version. I was so confused, because at that time, I thought there was only one correct way to do it! Oh my goodness! Was I totally wrong! There’s a whole lot of Shihonages out there, for as many as there are people practicing them and making it work for them. And, I want to learn them all!

Once, while I was performing Shihonage, I felt my arms were too short. They were already extended, but uke was still there. When my teacher saw the look of confusion on my face, he just said, “Move your body, not your arms. Move as one, every part of you, move forward. Slide.” Ahhh, so that’s how it goes. We throw with our whole body, not just the arms. We move from the center, whole body as one, to throw uke! (Imagine that light bulb going ding-ding-ding in my head.)

One tip I learned from someone close to me is that if you are dizzyingly confused, always go back to the very basic form and the prevailing principles that govern your Aikido and work your way up again. Or you can go back to the weapons where the movement was based.  If you base Shihonage on the sword, you throw uke downward like a sword cut, taking advantage of its cutting edge.  If you base it on the jo, you throw uke out, like the sweeping of the jo, taking advantage of its long reach.

Personally, I believe it is important in Shihonage to consider the quality of the connection you establish between you and your partner; tori and uke as one, bringing each other to the best position to complete the throw. 

Teaching Shihonage. Tori: Hiroshi Tada Shihan (Photo Credit: Aikido Tada-Juku Irie Dojo)

Teaching Shihonage. Tori: Hiroshi Tada Shihan (Photo Credit: Aikido Tada-Juku Irie Dojo)

My teacher also showed me how to take care of my partner who was on the receiving end of the technique. I liked how he emphasized my partner’s safety as well as my own. He said he wanted me to still have partners for the next day, and the next, so I must take good care of them, make sure I do not injure them or wear them out. I thought it was funny, the way he put it like that, but now, ah, I understand, that part of Aikido is respect and loving kindness.

To this day, whenever Shihonage is demonstrated and taught for practice, it always makes me feel like there is something wonderful ahead, just around the four corners. Something new maybe, or an old familiar reliable form? Four directions can easily become eight, and all the eight directions can even become infinite.  In a way, then, Shihonage is limitless.

Students Training Shihonage. Photo Credit: Aikido Tada-Juku Irie Dojo

Students Training Shihonage. Photo Credit: Aikido Tada-Juku Irie Dojo

I like Shihonage. Maybe because it was the very first technique I learned. Maybe because I feel very efficient doing it. Maybe because it was one of the first techniques that really opened up Aikido for me. Or maybe, because it very closely resembles a dance move of which I have no aptitude for.

Do you have a particular technique that is secretly your favorite?


(Please also see: “Should Aikido be Effective?“)

Rollercoaster Sensei

MonksI have a friend who is scared to take Ukemi from a certain instructor. The kind of scared that makes one whisper a prayer of protection, calling forth divine intervention every time he is the uke of this sensei during class.

This teacher’s Aikido is powerful, precise, and cunning; he can deftly keep the uke totally unbalanced throughout the technique from start to finish, and he always finishes with a bang (literally)!I have to admit, I too have my “fear” of being his uke. That feeling when you are excited and nervous at the same time. When being his uke, one has to brace himself for a roller coaster ride, complete with the loops and the twists and the view of the earth, the sky, and the physical world all around; all without a seat belt. He is Rollercoaster Sensei.

Steel Dragon 2000 (Nagashima, Mie, Japan); Photo Source: coastergallery.com

Steel Dragon 2000 (Nagashima, Mie, Japan);
Photo Source: coastergallery.com

I, myself, am not a fan of the roller coaster.

I don’t like the feeling of my center taken from under my control. I don’t like heights. I don’t like the velocity, the acceleration, the turning and the twisting. I don’t like the sudden drop the most. But I can see why roller coasters are very popular, with people waiting in line anywhere between a few minutes to hours just to have a go at the 1 minute ride: Roller coasters are thrilling! They simulate the feeling of plummeting to your death, and living through it. They give you a natural high, an adrenaline rush, with your body failing to understand that you are not going to die in the next few seconds.

And, I am a fan of Rollercoaster Sensei.

I enjoy learning from him, and believe you me, he has a lot to teach. His technique is exhilarating. Taking ukemi from him is a lesson all by itself! He can teach without teaching.

In being his uke however, I believe trust is the most important thing. Trust that Rollercoaster Sensei will not injure or kill me. Trust that even with the inertia of the movement within the technique, Rollercoaster Sensei is still in control and can return me to safety. Trust that I have done enough ukemi training, and that somehow I will survive this. When there is complete trust, you are all set. All that’s left to be done is to  give an honest attack, and do some “Mushin Ukemi”; because you know that  in that split-second after striking, you are in for the ride of your life, guaranteed!

Safety firstTo all Rollercoaster Senseis out there: Safety First.

You’re ukes are people. They have a job, a family, and a life outside the mats. Your ukes are trusting you with their lives and their health. Just be careful and be discriminate with your ukes. Please practice safely and practice safety.There is no other reason for injuries on the mats in an otherwise healthy Aikidoka other than those that result from recklessness, both as uke and tori. As I said in a previous post, prudence is always good practice.

Personally, I enjoy training with Rollercoaster Sensei. Maybe you know a Rollercoaster Sensei yourself! His Aikido is splendid. It gives you the same rush as hanging on for dear life.


(Please also see: Aikido: Reputation and Integrity)

Touching Greatness: The Mark of an Excellent Teacher

teacherRecently, I was fortunate enough to attend an Aikido seminar given by a relatively unknown Aikido teacher. This was his first time to teach outside of Japan. He was not tall, in fact, he may even be considered small even in Japan. I attended this seminar because I did not know this teacher, and I was very curious. When I saw him, he was very calm and relaxed. During the seminar,  he demonstrated a technique, then went around and gave tips to the seminar participants. He let as much people as possible feel his Aikido– as he went around, he partnered with us, he did the technique to us, then he took ukemi for us. When I first saw this I said to myself,

“Wow! This is a teacher who really loves Aikido.”

His teaching style is very honest and down to earth. His Aikido looks very calm,  straightforward, unhurried, centered, with little to no excesses in movement. Looking at his Aikido, I thought to myself, this has to be felt. Then finally he went over to me and my partner. Now I am a big guy and he was small. He told me to grab him firmly and I did. Then in a split second, he had my balance, and he threw me very gently but powerfully, very unhurriedly, and dare I say it, very skillfully. His Aikido was masterful. There was no resistance in his Aikido. He is an excellent teacher.

I have had the privilege of having many teachers in Aikido. All my teachers taught me something valuable. But there were only a few who taught me Aikido in a way that shook the very foundations of how I understand our art with a single touch. This is what I mean by touching greatness. Have you ever had a teacher like this? Have you ever had a teacher who made you realize how wonderful Aikido is, and that you have so much more to learn? I treasure these teachers. Teachers who teach me something revolutionary (at least for me). Teachers who walk the talk. Teachers who share what they know indiscriminately. Teachers who transmit their skill in such a way that leaves you smiling. Teachers who inspire by showing the possibilities. Teachers who, with a single “touch”, leaves you hungry to learn more.

Japanese painting, "Oni-no Kannenbutsu"

Japanese painting, from the story “Oni-no Kannenbutsu”

There are many skilled teachers with unique takes on Aikido. I urge everyone to remain open to learning; always keeping Shoshin. The mark of an excellent teacher is their ability to impart learning in such a way that leaves you wanting to train again and again. These teachers shake the very foundations of your understanding of the art. After training with them, you are once again the beginner, trying to understand something new. They “destroy” your conceptions (or misconceptions) of Aikido, so as to pave the way for you to build something better.

Excellent teachers teach tools through techniques.

They show the steps to help us understand the concepts. They encourage us to think and rethink. They catalyze unlearning and relearning in order for us to learn and progress. Excellent teachers make us realize we still have a long way to go, and guides us well as to how to get there. An excellent teacher shows us the way.

Aikido Acrobatics

Have you ever witnessed an Aikido demonstration where the ukes fly left and right, while the tori is barely moving?  There is soft ukemi used to facilitate learning in the dojo, and there is also “hard” or heavy ukemi used in daily Aikido training. Ukemi is very important.

Ukemi is receiving the technique, the art of falling. Ukemi keeps you safe. Ukemi trains your balance. It is the channel for the physical transmission of technique. It trains connection. I love ukemi.

The ukemi that is most counterproductive is scripted ukemi. I have been to dojos wherein ukemi training are done by the number, following a sequence of steps. They say this is so that Aikidokas can easily adapt with the movement and maintain safety. However, the glaring mistake this way of training has is its failure to consider the tori’s actual movement. In some instances, the uke even moves ahead of tori! In practicing this way, there is no musubi, there is no connection; the movement is disjointed and tori is left with the impression of being bullshitted. I find this kind of training a waste of time.

In the dojo we train to understand how a martial movement works. We train in pairs to understand the invisible part of Aikido: musubi, atari, and kokyu. If ukemi is trained in such a way that it mimics break-dancing, how can there be an understanding of technique? Aikido with this training becomes empty.

Yes, ukemi should be learned through a sequence of movements, but it should not be so constrictive that if tori moves differently, the entire movement is deemed wrong because they cannot do the ukemi they practiced. (this happens..) Is Aikido a martial art or acrobatics?

I practice different kinds of ukemi. I believe in soft ukemi. I believe in “hard” or heavy ukemi. I believe in honest ukemi. I believe in sincere ukemi. What I do not believe in is fake, scripted and flashy ukemi that serves no purpose. Ukemi can be flashy- it looks spectacular! What I don’t like is the doing of this flashy ukemi without reason. I think ukemi should always follow a natural reaction, and being sensitive to tori’s movement.

Morihei Ueshiba throwing  Hiroshi Tada.

Morihei Ueshiba throwing Hiroshi Tada.


In an article by Seki shihan, he said: “Uke cannot exist without Tori’s movement, Uke should move without blocking the movement of Tori. The Uke should adapt his movement every occasion.” (Click this link for the full article: “Body and Soul of Uke“).

The uke should be alive, mobile, responsive.

There should always be an intention toward the tori’s center when being uke. Within the movement, this “being alive” should be maintained, the uke giving the feeling of being like a ball being pushed down in a tub of water. This is maintained until the entire movement is finished. Dead, sloppy and statue-like ukemi is not helpful- it is slow and full of openings. But an auto-pilot uke is even worse. There should be spontaneity in ukemi.

Uke should only move when there is reason to move, otherwise the attack of uke should be followed through.

Although the “scripted” type of ukemi may be beneficial during the early part of training where beginners learn the one, two, threes of any particular movement, as the Aikidoka progresses, I think the level of ukemi should also progress accordingly. Let us remember that ukemi is integral in learning Aikido. I hope ukes learn to be partners in learning waza and not the very walls that stunt the understanding of Aikido.


(Please also see: “The Eternal Allure of Play“)

Aikido: Fall Down Seven, Stand Up Eight

Roberto Martucci Sensei, Photo Source: aikidoroma@wordpress.com

Roberto Martucci Sensei,
Photo Source: aikidoroma.wordpress.com

When we fall down or after we are thrown off balance, we instinctively try to regain balance. In accidents where people fall or have a concussion, it is the natural tendency to try to get up.

In Aikido, knowledge of this instinctive reaction becomes our advantage. We use it when we throw our uke in iriminage. Actually, we use it most of the time in the throwing techniques. That split second where we lose balance and try to regain it? We have to be sensitive to that. Be open. The losing of balance and the return to a stable position is part of the practice. It is all right to fall, as long as you get back up again. And keep moving. Because in movement arises the opportunities to enter, to throw, to regain balance , to shift the control.

In continuing practice, despite feeling that we are in a plateau, we could learn to see more, learn to feel more.

Learn to be more sensitive to the openings in movement.

Sometimes, when you are just watching, you see it. And sometimes, when you are the one doing, you feel it. Sometimes, you get lucky! And when you take it, a little light bulb lights up in your being for a split second, and you learn something exciting and new.

Waste one split second after recognizing that opening, then you lose it. Lose that opening, lose that eureka moment. Just like that, gone, snatched away. You try to recreate it, bring it back, but it doesn’t, and you go back to practice again. You return to that state of being open and sensitive.

It’s all right. Just get on the mats and just train. Your training will not betray you.

(Please also see: “Senshin: The Enlightened Mind“)

Aikido and the Two Faces


Aikido in general has both the seen and unseen qualities. This can be referenced to the Japanese society where it sprung from. In Japan, there is a cultural behavior so enmeshed in their collective psychology that they even have terms uniquely for it: Honne and Tatemae. In Japan, her people have two faces: the Honne ( 本音) and Tatemae (建前). Honne is a person’s true intent/feelings/desires, while Tatemae is the behavior and opinions one displays in public. Honne is what is hidden from the eyes of the society, the inner self, while Tatemae is what is shown, an ideal of a person that is publicly revealed. In western culture, this may be close to the Freudian Psychoanalytic Concept of the Id, Ego and Superego: the id being Honne and a mix of the Ego and the Superego being Tatemae, or the Jungian Archetypes of the Shadow as Honne and the Persona as Tatemae. It is close but not quite. The difference is because the concept of Honne and Tatemae is not purely a result of the psychological faculties alone, but it also encompasses, and to a greater extent, the cultural-anthropological circumstances of the Japanese people. In Japan, there is a saying:


“The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.”


Expounded, this means that the Japanese people function as a collective, as a group, with a group identity. The nails sticking out are criticized, looked down upon, and corrected. (Reference here: Otaku Culture and Wa Principle of Japanese culture). So for a Japanese to function in Japan, that person should act out his respective function in society as society deems it proper for him to act. This is because of the belief that group harmony is of more importance than individual desires. Hence the Tatemae is born: conformist, upright, and sensitive. and from this birth, its twin face, the Honne also comes into light: rebellious, passionate, improper and suppressed. This is truly a wonderful cultural uniqueness.  It is from this cultural trait that they have maintained unity as a people and flourished as a nation. It is because of this that the Japanese are earnest, even-tempered, and harmonious. The trick is to get to understand the Honne beneath the mask of the Tatemae.

images (3)

So it is with Aikido: What is seen is not everything. The rest is buried within the movement, unexpressed, unseen, but is vital. What is the Honne of Aikido that makes this Budo what it is? What in the technique is not being shown explicitly but implicitly? How can we focus on what we can’t see? In my opinion, ukemi may have the key to this. It is true in our art, that what cannot be seen can be felt. In the same manner, to understand Honne is to not only look at the Tatemae, but also to dig at the heart of what is really felt.

(Please also see: “Zen Fable: The Marvelous Techniques of the Old Cat (Neko no Myojutsu)“)