Sayonara Nikkyo

The departure of Frédéric and his family back to France occasioned the need for a party and a sayonara-nikkyo. David Alexander Sensei tells the story of this practice from the Ibaraki Iwama Dojo at his Iwama Monogatari website:

Sayonara Nikkyo 1












Sayonara Nikkyo

There is a tradition in Iwama that whenever someone who trained there for any significant length of time goes back home, a sayonara party is held for him (or her).

A part of the tradition is to treat the person to a sayonara nikkyo, in which two people apply nikkyo to his wrists so that he can’t tap out. Of course, care is taken to make sure that he is not actually injured.

Some people say that I invented the sayonara nikkyo. I don’t clearly remember, but it’s probable that in its basic form it existed before I set foot in Iwama.

But I did invent a humorous twist to it. At one party I was observing someone enjoying their sayonara nikkyo and, on impulse, picked up a bottle of Suntory Red whisky (the official dojo drink which we called “Iwama nectar”), and poured some into the recipient’s mouth. Everyone thought it was very funny, and it caught on and became part of the ritual.

How much better can it get; receiving refreshing stimulation to both wrists while enjoying delicious Iwama nectar?

Derek-double-Nikkyo-Iwama 2000

My own experience parallels this

I first went to Iwama to study in 1980. It was at my own sayonara party at the function centre on Mt. Otago that Saito Sensei personally selected David to be one of the executors of my “double-nikkyo” – I still remember it – fondly!

Here is a later photo (from 2000) recoding the practice in Iwama with Hitohiro Saito Sensei (right), Kenichi Shibata Shihan (left) and with Miles Kessler skilfully handling the genuine Suntory Red whisky bottle.

The practice of nikkyo still holds an important place in my dojo.