Monday, November 11, 2019
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Sunday, November 3, 2019
Friday, October 25, 2019
Thursday, October 24, 2019
In Aikido Kokikai® we strive to make the attacker fall. If we throw them, we may need to continue to do so until they land. If we bring them to the point of zero balance and let go, they will continue to fall whether we are there or not. We are free to leave or deal with the next attacker.
Saturday, October 19, 2019
How often does this happen to us? How literal do we take instruction? When we hear instruction like "pull your foot back" are we trapped into imagining our foot can move on its own and therefore draw back? We need to challenge ourselves to break free of the trap. When we here foot or hand we can't focus all our thoughts on that. We must instead think about what it means and what are all the ways we could move our bodies to effect such a change. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to rank those ways by how much adjusting our center is involved in each option.
As instructors, we need to choose our words carefully and be willing to change them if the point is not being understood. I had a boss who was quite adamant at one point that myself and my colleague understood the point he was making despite both of us being quite clear that we didn't follow his reasoning. He refused to consider that we could possibly not understand his point and flat out declared loudly that we did in fact understand his point. You can imagine how much that helped the situation.
When it comes to describing technique and movement we should frame our words from the vantage point of how we want center (One Point) to be affected. As students, we should be comfortable in asking for clarification and try to think about how posture and center affect what we hear.
Saturday, October 12, 2019
We are proud of our service to our community and of the family that we have built. More over, we would love to have you help us write our next chapter.
#aikido #aikidoroc #kokikai #rochesterny #rochester #monroecounty #RIT
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
To celebrate we are having a seminar on Saturday, October 12, 2019 with Rick Goodman Sensei, 8th Dan.
To kick things off, a representative from City Hall will be at the dojo at 10:00 am to present the "Aikido Kokikai of Rochester Day" proclamation to us.
Please join us for the presentation and/or the seminar!
One of the things I am forcing myself as a teacher to consider more often of late is footwork. One of our dojo sayings is "Don't fix with your hands what you should fix with your feet." But that requires to teach what or feet are doing and more importantly how. Our traditional garb, the hakama, actually obscures details of our movement, no doubt a tactical consideration in the evolution of the garment. As instructors we need to remove barriers to learning such that our students can not only replace us, but exceed us and elevate the art.
Here's an exercise to play with for the initial movement in response to a shomen attack. In the case we were playing with at the moment of realization, was bokken tori, so consider that distance in the description. Begin in hanmi, assume left for the discussion. The desire is to move slightly offline to the left, avoiding the downward slice of the weapon. Rather than stepping, which disrupts the alignment of the hips and pelvis, we want to slide the forward foot over while doing about an quarter to half tenkan turn. If we slide by telling to forward foot to move, it will have similar effects on balance to stepping. Solution? Lighten the weight on the forward foot, leaving the only contact at the ball of the foot. Now push off with turn back (right) foot, allowing some "stickiness" of the ball of the forward foot to cause drag and therefore turn the foot, allowing the heel to swing out. The heel position dictates the distance the body moves off line. The push from the opposite foot produces a slide that doesn't upset the hips and therefore helping maintain balance and posture. The push also create a spring loading effect that can be used for a forward 3rd foot kote gaeshi.
Try it. Like it, keep it. Hate it, improve it!
Saturday, August 24, 2019
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?