Thursday, August 15, 2019
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
One of the few highlights of work travel is that occasionally it brings me the opportunity to practice with one of our sister dojos. I have been welcomed into many dojo across the country. Tonight I had my first practice at our dojo in Ellicott City, Maryland. Not only were they welcoming, they all rearranged their schedules to hold class an hour early so that I had plenty of time to catch my flight afterwards. Thank you to Brian Kantsiper Sensei and Louis Ibarra Sensei for being such great hosts and sharing your insights. It was a pleasure and I hope my travels take me back there again.
If you live in the Ellicott City area, I highly recommend you check out their dojo.
Saturday, July 27, 2019
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Saturday, July 20, 2019
Earlier this month we were treated to a fine 6th kyu test by Konner Oakes. Don't forget to complement him on how good an orange belt looks on him! After which we enjoyed celebratory ice-pops. #simplejoys
Picnic! Don't forget out summer picnic on August 10th from 10-4 at Ellison Park. We will have outdoor (plain clothes) practice sessions as well as have offered to the public demos between 1:30 to 2:30pm. Please come and have some off the mat fun, bring a dish to pass and your favorite beverage.
Keep cool, keep practicing, and enjoy the summer!
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Sensei Maruyama has always stressed natural movement. Until recently I innocently thought he was just talking about how Nage (the person throwing) is moving in calm, relaxed states, without stylized deep stances or awkward poses. In our last camp where Kokikai students from all over the US congregated to learn from Sensei, he exposed us to what, at least to my ears, was a new term, “jun/順”. He had one of the bilingual students help him articulate the Japanese idea into words we all could (begin to) understand.
Many martial arts take advantage of this. Joint locks and breaks are a staple among many "real" looking martial arts. Particularly those used in military and police contexts where the snapping joints by young practitioners in their physical prime who need not worry about civil liability.
However, Aikido, and in particular Aikido Kokikai®, relies on manipulating Uke (our attacker) in ways that go with the natural, or “jun/順” movements of their body. On the surface this would seem, well not all that "martial arty". And it would if it stopped there, but using natural movements is a multi-faceted strategy. We could attack individual joints and break them, but one must generally be at least as big as the attacker and fairly fit. Aikido needs to work for every one so it relies on movements that the attackers mind won't resist and brace against. Subtle movements that lead the attacker to a position to which all but one natural movement remains - falling. We use Aikido Kokikai® to remove all potential natural movements of our attackers but the one we want. Uke is left not with a choice but an eventuality of falling.
One might be quick to point out that we still have small joint locks like Nikyo and Sankyo which certainly have the appearance (and the feel, oh the feel...) of painful counter joint movement. Again, look a little deeper. Our goal in Nikyo or Sankyo is never to confine uke in a puddle of pain, ok we *can*, but, it is really to entrap a single joint and make it such that any further advancement toward us is impossible without the assistance of massive amounts of drugs.
Off the mat:
This simple concept, “jun/順”, is really a powerful and fundamental to a way of life. Consider this concept the next time you are in a "discussion" at the office. Rather than verbally clobber your coworker into submission or at least tolerance, or worse yet, get their way. Can you craft the argument to make the only natural, reasonable conclusion to do what you need done?