What is self defence?

martial-arts-brisbane-what-is-self-defenceAfter being involved with Aikido for some years and running associated self defence courses from time to time, it has become clear to me that the term ‘self defence’ has different meanings to different people.

When standing on the outside looking in, many younger males interpret the term ‘self defence’ as learning to fight. Some want to look cool, some want revenge, while others simply want to avoid bullying and intimidation.

Many females see it as a way to empower themselves and fend off harassment, bullying and other inappropriate behaviour. Older people just want to feel safe as they go about their daily lives.

Regardless of original perception, I believe that part of the reason people of all ages want to learn self defence, is to reduce fear and boost self confidence, through increased capability.

Fear is a common feeling, even in seemingly confident people. People can harbour many fears and they are not necessarily linked to any specific or readily identifiable threat. Learning self defence is a way of learning to conquer fear within, and thus reduce stress and anxiety.

Self confidence plays a big part in self defence. It is natural that self confidence and self esteem grow with increased self defence capability. This applies to learning any skill. The more we practice the skill, the more we feel comfortable doing it, the more confident we become, and the more we feel good about ourselves.

After a while, self confidence and self esteem start to shine on through. The extension of that positive energy becomes a major self defence mechanism in itself. But to be effective, it must come without arrogance. That is a problem for some!

Arguably the most important learning outcome of self defence is the learning of self control. This is not so obvious to beginners just starting out, but self control is the key element of self defence.

It takes two to fight – usually one to confront and the other to react and escalate. If everyone learned how to exercise control over their ego and emotions, fighting and verbal assault as a knee-jerk reaction could be replaced by more reasoned options.

So while self defence skills are handy to fend off occasional unwanted physical attention, the real value of self defence is in self development. Aikido is designed to do just that.

It is no accident that Aikido is known all over the world as ‘the art of peace’.

Photo courtesy of Spiral Photography. For action photography and to preserve all of your special memories talk to Dean at http://www.spiralphotography.com.au

Upcoming news!

Byron Bay Aikido Club is hosting a weekend seminar with Michael Williams Sensei, on 26th & 27th March 2011. For details see ‘Announcements’ at http://www.griffithaikido.com or read next week’s edition of Shukan News.

March Beginner’s Course starts Tues 1st


If you are looking for martial arts Brisbane, then give Aikido a try at Griffith Aikido.

Arrive at 6.30pm next Tuesday evening at our NATHAN dojo

Enjoy your 4-week introduction to the Art of Peace. Quiet location, plenty of parking! For directions go to http://www.griffithaikido.com.au/locations/

What is Aikido? Check out the action videos on this site. For everything you need to know to start, download “A Beginner’s Guide” on the right hand side panel of this page.

ENROLL BY PAYING ONLINE AT http://www.griffithaikido.com.au/payments/

We are a big club with plenty of friendly instructors. We are open to everyone and encourage females and older people to learn Aikido.

Shukan News 21st Feb

Monday 21st February 2011

If you have a contribution for the Shukan News (story, photograph, video), please send it via email to gary@garyweigh.com

1. Interesting translation in Japan

martial-arts-brisbanefunny-sign1Here is an interesting English translated sign posted on the door of a Japanese restaurant in Kyoto.

2. The thrill and excitement of Sumo Wrestling

aikido-in-brisbane-power-of-the-groupWhen I visited Japan recently, one event that was on the top of my to-do list was Sumo wrestling. The current Sumo stadium is the Kokugikan in the Ryogoku district. It is 2-3 minutes walk from Ryogoku Station on the JR Sobu Line and can be seen from the station platform.

Sumo is an ancient sport steeped heavily in Shinto tradition. Most of the Shinto that can be seen occurs symbolically. The sand that covers the clay of the ring (dohyo) is itself a symbol of purity in the Shinto religion. The canopy above the ring (yakata) is made in the style of the roof of a Shinto shrine ……

To read the full article, visit the Aikido Secrets blog site at: http://www.aikido-secrets-to-calm-success.com/martial-arts-spirit-the-thrill-and-excitement-of-sumo-wrestling.html Gary

3. Hate to sound like a broken record but we still need help

We still need one (1) more person to help out from 10am-2pm on Thursday 3rd March at Griffith University (Nathan Campus). It is simply a matter of sitting on a chair at our stall (a table with our sign on it), talking about Aikido and hand out a few brochures. And that’s it!! There is no selling involved. Students circulate the market and a few approach the table. They know little or nothing about Aikido so it doesn’t matter what rank you are. All you need to do is speak about your own experiences. Pleeeease …. we don’t ask much of our members but we need you now! If you can spare two hours between 10am -2pm contact Chris Cobban at chris.cobbo@hotmail.com

4. Ki demonstration

This is a great Ki demonstration by Kashiwaya Sensei, Chief Instructor for Ki Society USA. Sensei is one of the very few Aikido professionals in the United States and travels extensively throughout America, Canada, and South America teaching Aikido and Ki Development.

5. Cheese and crackers for the soul

“He who knows others, is clever; but he who knows himself, is enlightened. He who overcomes others is strong; but he who overcomes himself is mightier still.” Lao Tzu

Aikido etiquette – self respect and self control

aikido-brisbane-etiquette-self-controlThe previous article about etiquette was largely concerned with respect for the dojo and the instructor. Now I would like to extend the concept of etiquette to the arguably the most important concept of all. That is respect for your self!

Self respect, self control and humility are characteristics that partly define bushido – the way of the warrior. In Aikido, these concepts lead to the development of a non-fighting mind.



7 points of etiquette:

  1. Pay close attention to your personal hygiene. That includes body cleanliness, use of deodorant if necessary, restricted use of perfumes, good mouth (breath) hygiene and keeping your fingernails and toenails cut short
  2. Keep your training uniform clean, in good shape, and free of offensive odors. Holes in your uniform should be patched and sewn. Males are not permitted to wear any garment under their Gi jacket. Females may wear a white T-shirt.
  3. You may bring a water bottle into the dojo but do not bring food or other beverages. Do not chew gum during class as you may accidentally inhale it and choke.
  4. Remove watches, piercings, rings and other jewelry before practice.
  5. Be alert at all times. Please keep talking during class to a minimum. What conversation there is should be restricted to Aikido.
  6. Do not engage in rough-housing or needless contests of strength during class. Growth in Aikido relies on cooperative practice.
  7. Please pay your membership and training fees promptly. If, for any reason, you are unable to pay on time, talk with the person in charge.

Learning and embracing dojo etiquette is also showing your willingness to receive instruction. It is about respect for your instructor who gives his or her time free, and it is about respect for your self and fellow students.

Beginners are not expected to learn the etiquette of Aikido straight away. You will soon pick it up by following the example of others in the dojo, particularly senior students.

Etiquette is of great value outside the dojo as well. It is a form of social lubricant that makes personal interactions proceed smoothly. Scrupulously polite people make few enemies, an obviously desirable trait for martial arts exponents.

Come train Aikido in Brisbane. Check out our convenient locations at: http://www.griffithaikido.com.au/locations

Shukan News 14th Feb

Valentines Day edition Monday 14th February 2011

If you have any contribution for the Shukan News (story, photograph, video), please send it via email to gary@garyweigh.com

1. Did you know?

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is observed by females who present chocolate gifts (either store-bought or handmade), usually to a male, as an expression of love, courtesy or social obligation. A handmade chocolate is usually preferred by the receiver, because it is a sign that the receiving male is the girl’s “only one”.

On White Day, celebrated one month later on 14th March, the converse happens: males who received a honmei-choco (本命チョコ, “chocolate of love”) or giri-choco (義理チョコ, “courtesy chocolate”) on Valentine’s Day are expected to return the favor by giving gifts, usually more expensive. Traditionally, popular White Day gifts are cookies, jewellery, white chocolate, white lingerie and marshmallows. (From Wikipedia)

2. New additions to the Club Library

The Griffith Aikido club library is available for members 5th Kyu & above. Please take the opportunity to utilise this valuable resource; we have an array of Aikido & Martial Arts Books and DVD’s waiting to be read. Remember our training doesn’t stop once we step out of dojo and we should look to further enhance our knowledge & understanding of Aikido through books & other resources.

We have some new additions to the library which are well worth the read, otherwise ask one of the seniors or myself for a recommendation – Narelle

  • Enlightenment Through Aikido by Kanshu Sunadomari

Prior to World War II, Kanshu Sunadomari was a direct live-in student of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. A valuable historical reference for Aikido enthusiasts, this book collects short articles drawing on 60 years of study. Focusing on the heart and spirit of Aikido, quotes from the founder are featured along with the author’s personal interpretations of how Aikido can provide lessons about inner tranquility, focus on life’s journey, and help foster world peace.

  • Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa

The classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman – Miyamoto Musashi.

Miyomato Musashi was the child of an era when Japan was emerging from decades of civil strife. Lured to the great Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 by the hope of becoming a samurai – without really knowing what it meant – he regains consciousness after the battle to find himself lying defeated, dazed and wounded among thousands of the dead and dying. On his way home, he commits a rash act, becomes a fugitive and brings life in his own village to a standstill – until he is captured by a weaponless Zen monk.

  • Aikido Shugyo: Harmony in Confrontation by Gozo Shioda

(As recommended by Michael Williams Sensei)

The publication of “Aikido Shugyo” in the English language is a watershed event for Aikido enthusiasts everywhere. Gozo Shioda, one of the most talented students of the art’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba, is the author of this fascinating tome that recounts his career and philosophy as an aikido teacher. Besides describing the events of his exciting life as an early pupil of Ueshiba in the 1930’s and his wartime and postwar experiences, Shioda offers a host of insights into the psychology of the fighting arts and survival in a world of conflict.

3. Real nature of martial arts and their benefits

Aran drew our attention to this interesting article from the Aikido Journal, written by Stanley Pranin. He questions the definition of modern budo and argues that “budo arts were thus far removed from the martial systems developed by the samurai of an earlier era having been devised in a peaceful age.”

On the subject of comparing martial arts and determining which martial art would prevail in the event of a match up, Stanley Pranin writes:

“My view is that an attempt to test one’s martial ability in a match increases the risk of serious injury and therefore defeats the purpose of martial arts training entirely. Why learn to defend yourself against bodily harm by studying a martial art and then willingly subject yourself to a situation where you run a high risk of injury?”

On the subject of the real value of martial arts in today’s society, he writes:

“I sincerely believe that the real value of a martial art in our modern world lies not in the specifics of techniques taught in a particular school. These will vary greatly from style to style. Their importance as life tools lies rather in their usefulness in developing calm, fit, and alert people, keenly aware of their surroundings and capable of adapting to the presence of threats to their health and well-being.

Read the full article at http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=696

4. Please help us out at Griffith Uni market stall on Thur 3rd March

Please show your Aussie volunteer spirit by helping us out on our ‘Griffith Aikido’ club stall at the Griffith University market day on Thursday 3rd march 2011. The university asks us to do this 2-3 times a year as part of being a registered university club. In return, we as a group, receive significant concessions. The purpose is to actively promote club activity on campus to new students. We only need 4 hours of your time on that day and it would help your club enormously. Contact Chris Cobban (our aiki-teens instructor) at chris.cobbo@hotmail.com

5. Pay Pal – page redirection problem fixed

Members who have paid via Pay Pal over the past week have reported an error message after completing their Pay Pal payments. We can assure you that your payment was processed successfully. We have now put in place a redirection to a Thank You page after you complete your payment. If you cancel your transaction before completing it, you should be redirected back to the Payments page. If you experience any further problems please let us know.

6. Cheese and crackers for the soul

“If you would contract, you must first expand. If you would weaken, you must first strengthen.” Lao Tzu

Aikido etiquette and tradition

aikido-brisbane-etiquetteThe moment you bow into our dojo you enter a different world with its own set of rules. It is no longer your everyday world of home, business, problems and stress.

The dojo is a place of peace, calm and cleanliness where you come to train. Aikido training is for both body and mind so the dojo is a place free of everyday life distractions.

Aikido etiquette is one of the cornerstones of proper dojo behavior. Many misunderstand the importance of the formalities of the dojo. Etiquette should not be thought of as servility or kowtow.

The customs observed before, during, and after training are designed to establish a controlled setting where dangerous techniques can be practiced safely.

So please do not dismiss dojo etiquette as a set of empty rituals performed merely out of habit. Here are 7 very important points of etiquette you should incorporate into your dojo life:

1. You are not permitted to train under the influence of alcohol or drugs, even with a hangover. It endangers everyone. Similarly, you should train if you are sick (e.g. cold or flu) or if you are injured in any way.

2. When entering or leaving the dojo, it is proper to bow in the direction of O Sensei’s picture, Kamiza, or the front of the dojo. You should also bow when entering or leaving the mat, and after Sensei has given you instruction. You should always bow to each partner when pairing up for practice and when ceasing practice. Finally, you should bow weapons onto the mat before use and off the mat after use.

3. Please leave your shoes at the door. You should never walk on the mat with anything other than bare feet. You should not change your clothes or even adjust your Gi on the mat.

4. Be early for class so that you can help put down the mats and vacuum them. If you do happen to arrive late, sit quietly in seiza on the edge of the mat until the instructor grants permission to join practice.

5. If you should have to leave the mat or dojo for any reason during class, approach the instructor and ask permission.

6. Sit quietly in seiza or cross-legged while the instructor is giving you instruction. Avoid sitting on the mat with your back to the picture of O Sensei or Kamiza and never sit with your legs stretched out. It is impolite to show the soles of your feet to the picture of O Sensei or Kamiza. Also never lean (sitting or standing) against a wall.

7. At the conclusion of class it is polite to offer to fold the instructor’s hakama. It is a mark of respect, plus a gesture of humility and thanks for the previous two hours or so of instruction, which in our dojo is provided on a volunteer basis.

Occasionally, people try to cherry pick Aikido etiquette. In other words, they will only do the things they approve of or feel comfortable with. There are some things they will not do because they consider it to be nothing more than servility.

There are many lessons to be learnt, including respect, humility and of course safe practice. So, either you learn Aikido with all of its lessons and traditions, or you don’t.

If you accept and follow only those traditions you approve of, you risk passing on your biased and very limited version of Aikido to those students coming behind you.

Looking for Aikido in Brisbane? Come train at Griffith Aikido. Check out class times at http://www.griffithaikido.com.au/class-times

See the new video of O Sensei added at http://www.griffithaikido.com.au/about/aikido

See Maruyama Sensei demonstrating the second Jo kata – Butterfly

at http://www.griffithaikido.com.au/about/lineage

Shukan News 7th Feb

Monday 7th February 2011

1. Welcome to your club’s new website

We are pleased to announce the arrival of our brand new club website http://www.griffithaikido.com.au. It first burst into cyberspace in December and since then we have been filling it with content and posting some interesting articles for you.

The new site opens at the Blog page. That way, you will see new content (including the Shukan News) every 2-3 days when you visit the site. Also note on the right hand side of the site there are free downloads ‘A parent’s Guide’ and ‘A Beginner’s Guide’. Please don’t hesitate to send the link to your friends. Below the free downloads, you will see Club Notices – for anything really important that we need to tell you.

You can now pay your membership and monthly training fees from the Payments page http://www.griffithaikido.com.au/payments. You can also continue to pay from the old site for the time being. However, we will be putting a redirection on the old site so that if you click on its address, you will arrive at the new site.

Please take some time to explore the site. One page that continues to grow is the About / Resources page. http://www.griffithaikido.com.au/about/resources There are links here to some very interesting places. The latest is Nanba Walking with William Reed Sensei.

2. Your Membership in 2011

Just a reminder from Jutta that a few people haven’t paid their 2011 membership yet. Please be respectful and do it early. Go to the Payments page of our new website http://www.griffithaikido.com.au/payments and help us keep the admin simple.

3. Volunteers needed for Griffith Uni week-1 market stall

Please show your Aussie volunteer spirit by helping us out on our ‘Griffith Aikido’ club stall at the Griffith University market day at Nathan Campus on Thursday 3rd march 2011. The university asks us to do this 2-3 times a year as part of being a registered university club. In return, we as a group, receive significant concessions. The purpose is to actively promote club activity on campus to new students. We only need 4 hours of your time on that day and it would help your club enormously. Contact Chris Cobban (our aiki-teens instructor) at chris.cobbo@hotmail.com

4. Annual General meeting

Our annual general meeting (AGM) is coming up in mid-March. This is your opportunity to hear about the progress of your club. We will advise the date soon. We are currently waiting for the audit report of our 2010 financial statements. As an incorporated association, we require an external audit each year.

The AGM is usually held on a Tuesday or Thursday evening during class time to make it easy for most members to attend. When the AGM is announced, members will also have the opportunity to nominate for the committee of Griffith Aikido. So if you are thinking of staying with Griffith Aikido for a while, please give it some thought.

5. Coping with hot training sessions

Training in the middle of an Australian summer is challenging, particularly during this current heat wave where temperatures are well over 30 degrees. You will notice that instructors are providing many more drink breaks through class.

Mike sent in this interesting article on the importance of hydration before, during and after exercise. It highlights some very important points about when to drink, what to drink, and how much to drink.

Importance of Hydration for an Athlete:


6. Cheese and crackers for the soul

“When opposing warriors join in battle, he who has pity conquers.” Lao Tzu

Aikikan Kids in Israel

When I saw this video on You Tube, I just had to share it with you. Aikido is universal and kids are kids all over the world. If you are looking for a quality kids activity in Brisbane, and a positive, life changing experience for your child, you can’t go past Aikido.


Why Aikido should be taught to every child!

Why Aikido should be taught to every child!

martial-arts-in-brisbane-lachlanAikido should be taught to every child in every school simply because ‘the art of peace’ develops a non-fighting mind. In 20 years time, we would have a generation of non-fighting young adults.

Bullying is a fact of life in school. It has always been there and shows no signs of abating. Governments try to formulate policy and legislation but it is difficult to control human behaviour this way.

School administration and teachers are charged with responsibility of keeping children safe on school grounds. What about bullying outside school grounds? What about cyber-bullying that simply transcends school grounds? What about silent intimidation? There are so many aspects to bullying that adults simply can’t control.

All school children benefit from Aikido. We teach the art in a fun way. It is an early lesson in taking responsibility for their own safety, rather than transferring all of the responsibility to adults.

Aikido is about living a peaceful life with self confidence and restoring peace in a non-violent way when someone breaks the rules. As mentioned above, it instills a non-fighting mind – a valuable asset for life.

Here are just some of the ways in which Aikido can help children at school:

  • Aikido is a non-aggressive martial art. You can’t start a fight with Aikido but you can stop one quite easily without injury to the participants.
  • Aikido teaches conflict resolution skills without the need to fight. The many self defence techniques are very effective but they are designed to restore peace, not escalate violence.
  • Aikido works for smaller children. Aikido does not rely on size, strength, speed, weight, or reach. Therefore, it is affective for everyone; girls and boys alike.
  • Aikido does not require athletic ability. In fact, that can sometimes get in the way. The key to making progress in Aikido is simply to persevere and have a positive attitude. What better lesson could we teach children?
  • Aikido teaches self control. With improved Aikido skills and confidence it is a lot easier to stay calm and maintain self control. It is the bully who suffers a contentious mind and loses self control.
  • Aikido helps a child’s mind development at school. By training in Aikido, children develop calm, clear minds. As a result, they absorb knowledge easier, and think with greater clarity.
  • Aikido training develops self confidence and brings back self esteem to children who have been bullied. That is a big positive step forward in the transition from childhood to healthy adulthood.

For more information about Aikido for children go to our Aikikids page on this website http://www.griffithaikido.com.au/aikikids/ and download the free booklet ‘A Parent’s Guide’ on the right hand panel of this page. To enroll your child in Griffith Aikikids call Steve Mitchell on 0413 664 611 or simply come to one of our two dojos.

Class times at http://www.griffithaikido.com.au/class-times/

For martial arts in Brisbane, call Griffith Aikido!

The magic of aikido

martial-arts-brisbane-the-magic-of-aikidoThe concept of Ki is important to the practice of Aikido. Specific warm-up exercises and practice of Aikido techniques improve the flow of Ki within our bodies. An increase of inner strength is a major benefit of constant practice.

As Aikido practice continues, most people notice improvements in health, balance, flexibility, and self confidence. The body and mind become more coordinated and move as one.

At a basic level, fundamental body movements are taught. Although the movements are simple in their concept, a lot of practice is needed to coordinate correct distance, movement and limbs, all at the same time.

In the early days of training, students begin to learn the outer forms of basic techniques. Most techniques follow the body’s natural movement. Students begin to understand the importance of getting of the line of the attack, leading and blending.

One of the first skills to be learnt in Aikido is how to fall safely. The aim is to prevent injury during practice. If forward and backwards rolling techniques weren’t taught early, there would be a lot of awkward and dangerous falling.

Advanced practice means learning fewer new techniques but improving awareness, perception, anticipation and intuition. The concept of Ki extension plays a much bigger role as time goes on. Movements also tend to become smaller as perception and judgment are refined.

Aikido is a sophisticated martial art which requires a great deal of practice to become skillful. In the early days of training Aikido can be frustrating and a little overwhelming. There appears to be so much to learn. But before long, students realize that there are seemingly countless techniques. There is a certain familiarity when first seen, because they are variations and combinations of basic movements.

Aikido movements usually conclude with a throw or an immobilization technique applied to the shoulder joint, elbow joint or the hand. While the application of some techniques can be painful, they are not designed to cause permanent injury.

Aikido appears to be a soft martial art in training, but this is due to the control exercised during the practice of techniques. At full power (Ki power) with the addition of Atemi (striking) and wrist locks, Aikido can be performed with devastating effectiveness if necessary.

Check out this week’s feature on William ReedNanba; walking in step, on our resources page


Thank you to Dean Miscamble for the brilliant action photography. Visit http://www.spiralphotography.com.au