Shukan News 27th February

Griffith Aikido Brisbane – learn Aikido in a friendly supportive environment

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1. Reminder – AGM & Committee nominations

Just a reminder that the Griffith Aikido AGM will be held at 8pm on Thursday 15th March 2012 at Nathan dojo. You must be a member to nominate for the Committee or to vote at the AGM.

2. An interesting article from William Reed

reed_sensei1What sort of things in life leave a deep impression? Things which are out of the ordinary, a great movie, a special meal, sensational news. What sort of things fail to leave an impression? Information, school work, fast food.

In most cases it is the extraordinary things which stick in our memory and leave an impression, often deep enough to be able to recall in detail many years or decades later. Go back and listen to the music that you listened to in high school or college, and you experience a slip in time.

We leave impressions in memory, impressions on people, on paper, and to seal our agreements. The character for Impression 印 contains all of these meanings, as well as that of the carved signature seal, and the mudra or iconic hand gesture in Buddhist statuary.

To read the entire article, go to:

3. Wrap-up of the recent seminar with Peter Kelly and Alistair Williams

about griffithOn Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 February a number of us were lucky enough to attend a seminar conducted by Peter Kelly and Alistair Williams from Tasmania. The seminar was organised by Andy Defrancis and held at the Onami dojo at Capalaba. Andy hosted the guests and did everything to ensure a successful event.

The Onami dojo is small in size but big in heart and as usual John Sensei and the other members of the dojo made everyone feel welcome and included. Students from various dojos attended and John commented on the enthusiastic spirit of participation. He specifically noted that all the attendees were a credit to their dojo’s and practised with the sense of enjoyment and fun that is a cornerstone of Aikido Yuishinkai.

Griffith Aikido members in attendance included Paul, Michael, Emile, Michelle and David.

The guest teachers provided a fascinating and thought provoking insight into the application of aikido principles in a practical and (without doubt) effective way.

Sylvie1The nice flowing and big movements we are familiar with and see in techniques such as shomenuchi iriminage and munetski kotegaeshi were often described as “noise”. There were no wrist manipulations and flourishing arm movements. One way of describing what was happening is that you replaced your attacker in the space they occupied.

The focus was on a number of ideas which when combined provided a devastating response to any attack while maintaining control without inflicting great harm.

Just a few of the matters stressed by Sensei Kelly included;

  • always engage your attacker. Move in with a view to collapsing their structure;
  • maintain correct posture with the three tandens aligned.
  • there is no retreat in aikido. You may have to move backwards at times but you have to remain engaged, balanced and able to move forward.
  • always attack their centreline from your centreline,
  • and perhaps most importantly as Aikido is based on the sword the two things you need to do most are cut and thrust.

This is just paraphrasing which probably doesn’t do justice to what Sensei was teaching us. It all felt new but on reflection was really a way of looking at things from a slightly different angle. It was more than just a learning experience but a re-learning exercise. The principles highlighted fitted in well with the observation made in the article seen in the 13 Feb edition of the Shukan news namely,

Aikido is generally believed to represent circular movements. Contrary to such belief, however, Aikido, in its true Ki form, is a fierce art piercing straight through the center of opposition.

Despite the obvious size and power of Sensei, when an opportunity came to have him demonstrate a technique, or part of a technique, on you there was a gentleness and a ready smile.

Alistair Williams, a fantastic aikidoka and teacher in his own right, provided some valuable insight into ukemi. He highlighted that ukemi is not just rolling or breakfalling (in the context of this seminar it more often than not involved no more than splatting at the feet of nage). Ukemi is important in 3 parts, the need for a proper and committed attack (appropriate to the level of your training partner), the process and feel of going through the technique (which might in some cases involve assisting nage to feel the technique) and the outcome, whether that is a rollaway, a breakfall or a splat on the ground. Being able to do all these parts not only assists nage but helps you to learn. As he pointed out, not doing ukemi properly means you are really only doing half a lesson.

If you ever get the opportunity to attend a seminar conducted by either of them take it up. It was a fantastic experience. Again thanks to John Gam, Andy Defrancis and the other members of the Onami dojo for the opportunity to attend and for their infectious enthusiasm in the practice of Aikido.

4. Thought for the week

“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” Albert Einstein