Sunday, December 7, 2014

Another Great Regional Practice!

Another very successful regional practice is under our collective obi.  We had students from Rochester, Eastern Sky, Webster, and RIT dojos sharing ideas while having a lot of fun.  There were 17 students in the kids class followed by 29 students in the adult class, 16 of which ranked shodan or higher!  In addition to that we had 3 more students who came out to support the event despite feeling a bit under the weather and a former student who stopped in to visit. (good to see you Michael)  There were no lions or tigers but we did have two small bears!

We were also treated to three great tests, so please join me in congratualting:

5th Kyu
Michael Donatelli (Webster)

2nd Kyu
Ayano Ninomiya (Rochester)

1st Kyu
Samantha Newmark (Rochester)

The class went for 2 and half hours, more than 1/2 survived:

See more pics via our Google+ Page:

Friday, December 5, 2014

Reminder: Saturday Dec 6th is Regional Practice

Practice is open to all Kokikai students.  There is no mat fee.  The regional practices are great opportunities to share experiences between dojos in an informal setting.  We will also have some testing so please come and support your fellow students.  We will start at 10AM and go until at least 12:30 but come for what you can.  Tests will be mixed in throughout the class.

See you there!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Week Dojo Update

Happy Halloween!

We had a really great class with some remarkable tests last Thursday night.  We had 21 people on the mat to aide and enjoy the testing process.  Thanks to all who perseverance make this dojo what it is, a haven for personal growth and development.

Congratulations to:

Talip Eroglu, 6th Kyu

Aidan McNulty, 5th Kyu

William (Bill) Bechdel, 4th Kyu
Matt McNulty, 4th Kyu

Looking forward...

Thursday night we will be watching more of the Seven Samurai after class.  Relax, bring a beverage and a snack.

This Saturday, November 1st, we will have testing in our kids class.  Please come and show your support for the next generation of Aikidoka!

Keep your schedule clear for Saturday, December 6th, for a regional practice.

Sensei is coming back to the states.  He will be in Boston, Rhode Island, and San Francisco to name a few.  Check the dojo or the Kokikai Facebook page for details.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dojo News

Dojo Testing:

We will be having testing in the 7pm class on Thursday, October 23rd.  Please come and participate in your dojos progress!  Following testing, we will have a social event.  We will watch the movie classic, Seven Samurai.  To make it more interesting, we found a crossword puzzle based on the movie to work on while we watch so we can be uber geeky.  It's a long movie and peope have to work Fridays, so we might do the second half the next week.  The mat will be open, but no formal class at 8pm.

Regional Practice:

Preliminary date is Saturday, December 6th, from 10:15-1:00pm.  There will be some upper kyu rank testing!!! We will be inviting Ithaca, Eastern Sky, and Albany dojos (and anyone else in Kokikai is welcome, too!)

Traffic Alert:

There will be new traffic patterns near the dojo.  St. Paul and Clinton will be converted to 2-way traffic.  Read more about the changes here.

  • Saint Paul Street — between Cumberland Street and Main Street — will be converted from one-way to two-way throughout the day on Thursday, October 16.
  • North Clinton Avenue — between Cumberland Street and Main Street — will be converted from one-way to two-way throughout the day on Friday, October 17

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A throw by an other name...

The Mask of Zorro (1998)

Don Diego de la Vega [indicating sword]: Do you know how to use that thing?

Alejandro Murrieta: Yes! The pointy end goes into the other man.

So simple.  So wrong. But Funny.

In recent classes we have touched on what it means to "throw" an attacker.  So what is the big question. Well, words mean things and they precondition the mind.  What does "to throw" mean to most people?  Well, let's start with the dictionary. (I think I just got points from Sam).

  1. propel (something) with force through the air by a movement of the arm and hand.
  2. push or force (someone or something) violently and suddenly into a particular physical position or state.

I'd venture to bet that the image that most people conjure when they picture "throwing" is a ball. That's definition 1.  But that's not at all what we do.  In our context, one might fall to definition 2.  But anyone who has been in the dojo for any amount of time has heard us talk in terms completely opposite to pushing and forcing violently.  Thinking in these terms, force, violence, movement of the arm, is contrary in every way to what we aspire to in Aikido.  However, the dictionary leaves us one more meaning of "throw" that brings hope to our discussion

 3. cause to enter suddenly a particular state or condition.

Here lies some level of redemption for this word.  A meaning devoid of conflict but still of intent and action.  We can work with this "throw".

Now that we have dispensed with our boring romp through some until now suppressed memory of a grade school English class, on to the show. 

I have always likened throwing in Aikido to the art of persuasion made physical.  We don't make (force) our attackers into falling down, we somehow convince them to through physical trickery.  Herein lies a trap for us as practitioners.  We, when playing the role of an attacker (uke), can't do so thinking or knowing that we are about to get thrown.  If we do, then we have resigned ourselves to the outcome and have robbed the nage (good guy) of the opportunity to make his case (throw).  As uke, it is not our job to fall.  Neither is it our job to go all Watergate and cheat the nage of his argument.  As uke, it is our job to attack, genuinely, even with some degree of ferocity (as appropriate for the level of nage).  Then and only then, can nage (the good guy) apply their tricks (read techniques) to cause uke to suddenly enter a state of falling on our heads.

What was the point of all this... just like sticking the pointy end in the other man is hardly a complete treatise on swordsmanship, we must be aware of how we describe what we do so that we don't unwittingly bring baggage from colloquial or cultural expectations into our learning process.  They can lead us to ideas that lead us astray from the principles of Aikido and significantly delay our journey up the mountain.

Spend a few moments and rethink how you describe what you do in Aikido.  It might just help your practice.