Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Jan 15 Mon ~ Shomenuchi Ikkyo

108 Tenkans
108 Suwari Waza Shomen Suburi
Happo no Giri
Shomenuchi Ikkyo Omote
Shomenuchi Uchi Kaiten Kokyunage
Suwari Waza Kokyuho

Warm-up drills to establish clear sense of center, posture, and movement. Continued focus on solid basics. After initial partner practice it moved to group practice where groups divided into 8 individuals in the positions of happo no giri and each attacked nage in the center with shomenuchi. Nage completes ikkyo with same footwork (and economy of movement) as happo no giri. Then technique changed to deal with the situation when the attacking arm is received too late for ikkyo. Beginners introduced to Shomenuchi Ikkyo and then joined and blended with the senior students. Class ended with Suwari Waza Kokyuho.

Jan 12 Fri ~ Beginners

Continued practice of Katatetori Ikkyo and Katatetori Shihonage. Introduced Katatetori Ikkyo.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Jan 8 Mon ~ Sho Shin Kihon Waza

Continuing with the “beginner’s mind” theme and clear review of the basics. In order to accentuate the ‘fresh look’
after initiating the typical entry, the entry was changed to “cross under the blade” (an irimi then tenkan in front of uke to receive the yokomenuchi strike as it completes its circular path). This entry was added after the conventional practice of each technique.

Yokomenuchi Shihonage (Omote & Ura)
Yokomenuchi Ude Kime Nage
Yokomenuchi Kotegaeshi

Jan 6 Sat ~ New Look at Ikkyo

New Year and an opportunity for looking at a basic technique with beginner’s mind.

Tsuki Ikkyo
Ikkyo Projection
Irimi Ikkyo Kokyunage

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Jan 5 Fri ~ New Beginner’s Class

Another new beginner’s class that is motivated, excited about starting, listening intently and trying hard. Had the basic introduction of dojo etiquette and history as well as the outline of expected content and purpose of training.

Awareness of the center
Ikkyo Omote

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Sensei Bernie Mulligan - 1/2/07

Sensei Bernie Mulligan demonstrating Aikido Kihon Waza - Tsuki Kotegaeshi in the First Class of 2007 - Michael Donnelly taking ukemi

Jan 2 Tues ~ First Class of the Year

Sensei taught the first class of the new year and talked about “breaking the mirror”. Leave the past behind, forget your preconceptions and look with “Sho Shin” (Beginner’s Mind), which was the calligraphy on the kamiza. He spoke of 26 fundamental techniques (Kihon Waza) that serve as the foundation and the walls of Aikido. All of the ‘fancy’ techniques are built on these and cannot be correctly implemented without mastery of the basics. “You cannot have a roof without walls and you cannot have walls without a foundation.” He asked that even though we have done all the techniques before look at them as if you are seeing them for the first time. He also asked that we concentrate on being a good uke. This means attacking sincerely at the edge of what your partner can handle and resist only just enough. He also said that we should let our partner make mistakes; that to talk and try to correct too much is futile. We each should concentrate on one thing and not expect perfection all at once. Let your partner discover the correction to their own errors… “shut up and train!”

Review of 5th kyu techniques

Dec 29 Wed ~ Last Class of the Year

Discussion about Japanese New Year traditions particularly the idea of “susuharai”, the “soot sweeping” that occurs in order to ‘clean the house’ of grudges and negative things you don’t want to carry into the new year. They should be swept out of your life, settled into the past and left behind.

Tsuki Kotegaeshi
Tsuki Sankyo w/ Projection
Tsuki Tai Otoshi (2 Ways)
Tenkan hooking the arm underneath the striking arm and then pivoting uke for the projection
Entering underneath the striking arm to complete the throw (Kanai style)

Focus on the details of posture, placement of the hands and extending from the center.

Dec 27 Wed ~ Beginners

Katatetori Iriminage
Katatetori Nikkyo

Dec 20 Wed ~ Beginners

Yokomenuchi strike
Yokomenuchi Ude Kime Nage
Katatetori Kaitennage – Soto Mawari

Dec 18 Mon ~ Sword & Body Movement Cont.

Moving in to Strike on the Center Line
Entering under a Shomen Giri (Shinai)
Entering into a Yokomen Giri (Shinai)
Jo Tori / Yokomenuchi Shihonage
Tanto Tori / Yokomenuchi Shihonage

Making the entries and general Aikido practice “crisper and sharper”. Encouraging awareness of an actual defensive situation. Expanding confidence by entering from a greater distance into a more “threatening” situation. Application of weapons movement to regular body movement practice.

Dec 15 Fri ~ Sword & Body Movement Cont.

6th & 7th Suburi
Boken Exercises

Morotetori Kokyunage (4 ways)
Cross step entry to “pick a flower”
Cross step entry to “drop the elbow” and elevate along nage’s central axis
Irimi (while turning hips) entry then extending in an arc towards uke
Hanme change entry along “tangent” of uke’s arms/hands

Dec 13 Wed ~ Beginners

Ushirotekubi Kotegaeshi
Morotetori Kokyuho

Monday, December 18, 2006

Dec 11 Mon ~ Sword Movement & Body Movement

1st Suburi
1st Awase
Tachi Dori

Ryotetori Kokyuho

Maintaining movement along the center line, with upright posture, an open chest and springy knees. Harmonizing with the movement of a partner throughout the entire movement. The harmony allows the opportunity to see where there are openings for entering for tachi dori.

Dec 9 Sat ~ Renraku Waza

Yokomenuchi Shihonage
Yokomenuchi Iriminage
Yokomenuchi Sankyo
Yokomenuchi Kaitenage

Yokomenuchi Shihonage→Iriminage→Sankyo→Kaitennage

Dec 6 Wed ~ Beginners

Rear Roll Outs
Tsuki Kotegaeshi
Ryotetori Tenshinage

Dec 4 Mon ~ Weapons Class

3rd & 4th Suburi

Dec 4 Mon ~ Tanto Tori

Yokomenuchi Shihonage (Tanto Tori)
Yokomenuchi Gokyo
Yokomenuchi Iriminage
(Entering step w/ slip block)

Review of differences between Sankyo & Nikkyo pins.

Nov 29 Wed ~ Promotion Exam

The tests were really good. Clear movements, concise and with awareness. Great posture. Much improvement noted, particularly in the flow of movement. Suwari waza was excellent with good balance and follow through. Everyone passes with room to spare! We look forward to your continued practice and progress.

Nov 29 Wed ~ Beginners

Rear Rollouts
Cross Hand Shihonage

Nov 27 Mon ~ Review

Katatetori Kaitenage
Standing & Hanme Handache
Shomenuchi Iriminage
Standing & Suwari Waza
Ushiro Tekubitori Kotegaeshi
Yokomenuchi Iriminage

Focusing on details to polish the techniques.

Nov 22 Wed ~ Beginners

Tsuki Kotegaeshi
Rear Roll Outs

Concentrating on rolling from the center.

Nov 20 Mon ~ Knee Work

Hanme Handache
Katatetori Kaitennage (Uchi & Soto Mawari)
Katatetori Shihonage (Omote & Ura)
Suwari Waza
Shomenuchi Iriminage

Looking for clarity of movement reflecting the footwork of the technique as it would be done from standing but with more economy.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Nov 15 Wed ~ Beginners

Katatetori Shihonage

Moving from the center, good posture, rotating on the central axis, relationship to sword movement.

Nov 13 Mon ~ Test Review

Tsuki Iriminage
Mae-Geri Tsuki Iriminage
Tsuki Kotegaeshi
Hanme Handache
Katatetori Kaitennage
(Uchi & Soto Muwari)

Exploring tsuki as any strike or kick on a straight line. Reinforcing the clear aspects of the technique that should be evident. Looking at the nature of the lead and the size of that movement in kaitennage.

Nov 11 Sat ~ Mixed Ushiro

Ushiro Ryokatatetori Sankyo (Omote & Ura)
Ushiro Ryokatatori Sankyo (Omote & Ura)
Ushiro Ryokatatori Iriminage
Ushiro Ryokatatori Kotegaeshi

Opportunity to drill a common beginning leading to a variety of conclusions.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Nov 8 Wed ~ Beginners

Katatetori Ikkyo (Omote & Ura)

Another new beginners’ class. Last two groups have been exceptionally motivated and talented, quick learners. It is the same with this class, great! It is the beginning of the curriculum so the focus was on proper posture. Head up, neck and shoulders relaxed, arms relaxed but extending and with the normal curve of the arm evident, knees ‘springy’. Discussion of ‘ki’ and the fact that it can’t ‘flow around corners’.

First centered by aligning the center of weight with the center of height. This is done by bending the knees so the hara / tanden (located approximately a fist width below the navel) then ‘Walked the Line’ with a ‘block on the head’. Keeping good posture tenkan practice came next. Then the principles were applied to katetori ikkyo, omote and ura.

Nov 6 Mon ~ Infrequent Techniques

Yokomenuchi Iriminage (variation)
Yokomenuchi Kube Shime Ude Gatame (2 ways)
Mentsuki Iriminage
Mae-geri (entry)
Ushiro-geri (entry)

Tonight less typical techniques were practiced. In addition the techniques varied from the standard application of Aikido techniques by going against the natural bend of a joint. The entry was practiced by initially doing an iriminage where only the rear hand was utilized to meet the strike and lead uke (as opposed to the typical forward hand leading the hand down to the rear extending hand). Although the completion of the projection is still done in a circular manner the entry to the irimi is more linear and on an angle like the ‘tail on the letter Q’.

This entering body movement continued into a lead as in shihonage but instead the inside hand moved as if to strike uke’s chin with a thrusting back fist. The same arm then continued in a reverse manner to wrap around uke’s neck as nage stepped back with the inside leg into hiza (high kneeling). Uke was brought to the mat in order to apply a choke and an arm bar with the other leading arm across the thigh on nage’s outside ‘upper’ leg. Safety on the neck was stressed with an alternative take down method suggested by placing the palm of the “choking arm” between uke’s shoulder blades (rather than complete the circle for the choke) in order to support uke and place him/her on the mat. A variation was then instructed where uke’s face was turned and pressed to the mat facing away from nage. In this instance the arm bar was completed across nage’s abdomen rather than the thigh.

Then an iriminage was used as a defense against a ‘jab’ to the face. It is similar to yokomenuchi iriminage but is applied while entering toward uke rather than stepping back on the diagonal. The use of a ‘loose fist’ was recommended for safety reasons.

The class closed with only entries to techniques against ushiro-geri (back thrust kick) and mae-geri (front snap kick) because there was not enough time to practice the ukemi required to safely complete this technique.

Nov 5 Sun ~ Gratitude Seminar

Lou Perriello has been a prominent Aikido presence in Massachusetts for decades. As founder and chief instructor of Northeast Aikikai he has taught and promoted scores of aikidoka. Recently Perriello Sensei has had to use his martial art skills to fight a life and death battle against an inoperable brain tumor. It seems he has emerged victorious but not without significant wear and tear to his body which has resulted in the loss of hair, significant weight, and his dojo. He is now in retirement, perhaps quickly becoming semi-retirement to do an occasional seminar.

To bolster his spirits and to wish him a speedy and complete recovery, a number of aikidoka attended a seminar hosted at Methuen Aikikai by John Dore, one of Lou’s senior students. It also hoped to thank other senior instructors who are central to the growth of Aikido in the Northeast but their cranky natures and unshakeable incorrigibility prompted them to refuse to attend unless the event was exclusively for their friend. The organizers knew when to “tap out”.

The seminar was very well attended and full of positive energy. The best part of the training was that Lou himself taught as well as three other very senior instructors. Together they represent the 4 pillars of Aikido in New England. Three of them started as judoka and began their study of Aikido before Kanai Sensei arrived; in fact they were instrumental in bringing him to New England. Bernie Mulligan founded Shodokan Dojo almost 50 years ago. Paul Keelan has been a mainstay of New England Aikikai, Lou founded Northeast Aikikai and Dick Stroud had been an instructor at New England Aikikai but has been the dojo cho of the MIT Aikido Club. There are video clips of the “founding fathers” below.

Sensei Lou Perriello

Sensei Dick Stroud

Sensei Paul Keelan

Sensei Bernie Mulligan