Thursday, April 19, 2018

Dojo Testing

Please join me in congratulating Brian Flaherty on an excellent 6th Kyu test.  Brian has shown a great dedication to the dojo. Just before what was supposed to be his 6th kyu test last summer, he suffered a significant ankle injury in his soccer league.  Despite not being able to practice for over 6 months he came back strong, full of energy and eager to practice.  Congrats again, Brian!.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

AKR Welcomes the M.K. Ghandi Institute for Non Violence

We were happy to host a workshop for members of the M.K. Ghandi Institute for Non Violence.  Senseis Hugh, Marcella, and Kerman shared their experience of Kokikai Aikido and how it uniquely reconciles martial arts and the human need for non-violent resolutions to conflict.

If you would like to learn more constructive ways to resolve conflict come visit us.  Also, check out the good works being done at the Ghandi Institute at

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Aikido Benefits for Veterans

I came across this interesting article on the benefits of Aikido practice, particularly for military veterans.  It's not a difficult read as some scientific papers aspire to be.

Aikido: A Martial Art With Mindfulness, Somatic, Relational, and Spiritual Benefits for Veterans

Not all of us have the honor and privilege of serving, but our dojo would proud to be of service to that that do.  If you or someone you know could benefit from Aikido, we'd be happy to help.  Contact us via email or phone (585-325-9160) or just stop in during any scheduled class time.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Dichotomy of Safe Spaces

By all standards, a Dojo is a safe space to practice martial arts.  It surely beats figuring things out in the middle of a bar room brawl and yet is still far more realistic than watching "kungfu" movies, but that guys is another story...

A dojo needs to strike a balance between simulating the stress of an actual altercation yet remain light, friendly, and welcoming.  It must also provide fair and constructive criticism to yield personal growth and avoid coddling which leads to a dangerously destructive sense of ability beyond truth.  It must provide rigorous practice of potentially devastating techniques while minimizing the risk of injury to the practitioners.

As Nage (the defender) we must remember to not be fooled into thinking we will need our training solely in a wide open, well lit room with endless do-overs.  We must be serious when needed, treat wooden stand-ins as sharp steel, and believe our friends are real attackers.  We must throw the attacker without apology or malice.  We must remember that the real world is not covered in 2" of energy absorbent foam and that what we do is real.

As Uke (the attacker) we must remember our only purpose is to help Nage improve.  We must be honest in our attacks, we must forget that we know what Nage is going to do and provide stress and strength just a smidge above Nage's present capacity.  We must attack without apology or malice.  We must remember that the real world is not covered in 2" of energy absorbent foam and that our response to being thrown should be genuine.

Be safe, be aware, be honest to yourself.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Winter Camp Day 3

Winter Camp has come and gone but not without a tremendous display of experience in senior belt testing, including our own Peter Veazie who calmly and confidently earned his sandan.

Thanks to all those we practiced with, shared, and learned from.  Aikido practice is reliant upon having a variety of training partners spanning all the spectrums of size, energy, flexibility, and strength.  Each bringing a unique feel that hones our senses and builds our library of responsiveness.  We look forward to our next gathering!

I invite you all to come to the Rochester dojo Monday night for belt presentations in the beginning of Hugh's 7pm class.