Passages

William Reed
Aikido 7th-dan, Shodo Shihan, Nanba Tap Instructor
Nanba is the Art of Physical Finesse. How to be creative in crisis,
based on 3 simple principles: Don’t Force, Don’t Twist, Don’t Disconnect. If you maintain these principles mentally and physically, it will enhance your performance and enjoyment, as well as your ability to find your way out of trouble and into opportunity.

PASSAGES

Born in 1952, I grew up in the 50s and 60s like many in my generation with a feeling that something was not quite right about the way we were taught sports and physical education. Not being particularly athletic or coordinated, sports seemed to me more a field of nightmares than a field of dreams. Our coaches acted like drill sergeants. Although there was talk of sportsmanship, in practice it was more about who had the biggest muscles, could run the fastest, or kick the ball the farthest. We were required to play sports throughout high school, and the pecking order always favored the bigger and the stronger. Apart from its original purpose, physical education became a breeding ground for bullies.

In 1963 at the age of 11, I was easy prey for certain neighborhood bullies, and after getting mugged on the way home from school, I became determined to become stronger and learn self-defense. This kind of thing seldom got reported to parents or teachers, for fear of repeat and revenge when the adults weren’t around. The local bookstore had only 3 choices. I could build a perfect body with the Charles Atlas Ten Step Fitness Program, but more muscles wasn’t what I wanted. I could fight my way with Bruce Tegner’s Complete Method of Self Defense, but I wondered if it would actually work. The third book riveted my attention, The Power of Aikido, by Claude St. Denise. This book had illustrations, intelligent technique, and a philosophy of non-dissension. It was my first exposure to Martial Arts, and led me to a lifelong study of Aikido, beginning in 1972 when I first came to Japan to formally study Aikido.

What began as a skinny kid’s struggle for self defense led over more than 4 decades of intense interest and study of what seemed to me to be a Way of life and practical wisdom through Aikido. I gained an equal interest in Shodo, the Art of Brush Calligraphy, for the way it gave sense and shape to the qualities of balance and the dynamic rhythms I had come to know in Aikido. Feeling in Shodo as if I was playing a kind of visual jazz, I also began studying Rhythm Tap Dance in Tokyo, and have kept up with all of these in an effort to experience the sense of flow and harmony that comes with practice of these arts.

Eager to share this feeling, along with the practical benefits it brings in energy and self-renewal, I wrote a number of books and taught in several countries, only to find a peculiar challenge.

Though many people seem interested, few are actually committed enough to start and stick with an art long enough for it to make a difference in their life.

People today have too little time and too many choices, and these arts do not yield their treasures to people who dabble or treat them lightly.

Though my dedication to learning these arts remains, in recent years I have shifted my search to find a simple way that works for people at any level. A Japanese proverb says that, What you master in one art, you can apply to another. Even though there are no shortcuts to learning the fundamentals of any art, I began to question, what actually are the fundamentals? Was there some basic way of using your mind and body that could enhance performance, accelerate learning, and increase enjoyment not only in the arts, but in daily life?

I now believe there is, and the Way is Nanba, the Art of Physical Finesse. Because there is almost nothing available explaining Nanba in English, I have dedicated this website to sharing insights, media, and methods which can help people access this amazing art and it applications.

My mission is to bring Nanba, the art of physical finesse, to the world so that people may overcome obstacles and live better. Nanba is the art of using your body to be creative in crisis, to do things more easily, to make a better impression, communicate with impact, and have more energy and health to carry out your life aspirations. Nanba is also living on humor and imagination, and helping others to help themselves. But it starts with a set of simple principles and movements which help you learn it with your body, so that it will be there for you any time you need it. This was my passage to Nanba. I hope I can help you discover yours.


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