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Doka of the Day - August 15, 2020
The Way of the Kami! (kannagara)
The well-practiced sword
Must be made transparent and shining
Through the grace of the divine.

                              - Morihei Ueshiba

AikiWeb Aikido News
It Had to Be Felt #71: Yamada Yoshimitsu
Posted 7/12/2020 8:49pm [from Jun Akiyama]

Here is the latest It Had to Be Felt essay, this time on Yamada Yoshimitsu of the New York Aikikai. This essay was written by David Ross. From the essay: "For those who have never trained under the direction of Yamada Sensei, he is noted for his big and expansive techniques. His emphasis is on the ability to develop kokyu - breath power and extension - but when you grab him it feels like grabbing nothing until he starts his movement. Then things change. He brings his uke into accord with his movement. Technically, this is often referred to as the power of attraction - inryoku. I have often heard him say: 'Aikido has two directions up and down - so Relax!'"

Solidarity with Black Lives Matter Movement
Posted 6/03/2020 8:20am [from Jun Akiyama]

AikiWeb wishes to express our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and protests taking place all across the world. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are but the latest names of countless Black people killed due to systemic racism. Our hearts go out to their families and their communities who are rightfully feeling grief, anger, and more. Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba expressed wishes that his art be used to reconcile the world and to make all human beings one family. And, as Zen teacher Zenju Earthlyn Manuel wrote, “awareness of oneness in life includes difference.” AikiWeb believes this requires speaking up against injustice in all of its forms and is reminded of Desmond Tutu’s quote, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” The Aikido community is not immune to these unjust dynamics. We can always do more and continuously improve ourselves. Please join the movement to bring about a more equitable world through donations, engagement, and advocacy. Thank you.

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USAF "A Message from Yamada Sensei 2020_08_09"
Posted 8/12/2020 5:33pm [from Jun Akiyama]

Yoshimitsu Yamada has posted a message in response to the "complaints on social media by aikido practitioners about how women have been treated unfairly" on the USAF website: "A Message from Yamada Sensei 2020_08_09". From the posting: "Gender discrimination in aikido is something I never believed in. I have tried to remain fair and open minded in my aikido career. I consider people’s rank, experience and integrity to be very important. I personally view my students, women and men, the same and have given equal opportunities to all of them, on the mat, for promotions, to teach class and to open their own dojos. [...] We all should thank Doshu for giving us an opportunity to enjoy aikido equally. I want all of you to concentrate only on practice, not other stuff; just feel lucky to be a part of aikido society."

RIP Peter Gardiner of Iwama Dojo and Scotland
Posted 8/12/2020 5:33pm [from Steve Mallon]

Just heard of Peter's passing at his apartment in Kuramae Tokyo. Condolences have been noted by some fellow students on his Facebook Page. A committed student who settled in Japan in 1984 and kept up his practice until just a few years ago. His second wife Miwa was also an Aikidoka at Iwama

Article: "Great Aikido - Aikido Greats" by Ellis Amdur
Posted 5/27/2020 12:10pm [from Jun Akiyama]

Here is a lovely article from Ellis Amdur on his thoughts on what components constitute a "great" practitioner of classical aikido. From the article: “I wish to tease out the components that I have observed among those who were able to – and did – protect their training hall against dojo breakers or people who challenged them on the mat, striving to embarrass them or worse; those who handled taryujiai; and those who had or have a particular brilliance that has garnered them true respect, not only among other aikidoka, but among practitioners of other martial arts as well. I am making as clear a distinction as I can between the excellent aikido practitioner, whatever their rank and true virtuosos.”

Article: "Moving Off the Line" by Ruth Peyser (6th dan, shidoin)
Posted 4/30/2020 9:50pm [from Jun Akiyama]

Here is an article entitled “Moving Off the Line” from Ruth Peyser (6th dan, shidoin)—her account of what happened to her after she supported a petition “requesting that the governing body of the United States Aikido Federation (USAF) address issues of gender equality in the organization.” From her article: “I’m trying to move on but it’s hard. It’s like losing a loved one. New York Aikikai was a major part of my life for four decades. A friend got my things from New York Aikikai, met me on the northwest corner of Union Square outside Petco and handed me a bag with my hakama, belt and kneepads. And then it was over.” The initial petition and subsequent timeline may be found on Facebook here: Independent Coalition of USAF Women.

Seminar: "Aikido for Tomorrow" Seminar Article on Aikido Journal
Posted 4/09/2020 6:36pm [from Jun Akiyama]

The "Aikido for Tomorrow" seminar took place this past February, 2020, in Colorado, focusing on supporting aikido practitioners 20-40 years of age. The seminar featured a dozen instructors from various aikido lineages and over 50 participants. Évolène Premillieu, the seminar's organizer writes, "My priority was to bring young people together to form a community within the larger aikido community – one that connects young practitioners in a way that spans dojos, styles, and organizational affiliations, centered on our mutual love for aikido." Aikido Journal has more reflections from participants here:

Irvin Faust (7th dan, Albany Aikido) Passes Away
Posted 3/29/2020 3:30pm [from Jun Akiyama]

I just heard from Albany Aikido of the passing of Irvin Faust this morning. He was a 7th dan shihan and trained with Luqman Hakeem and Yoshimitsu Yamada. He had been teaching at Albany Aikido since 1985. My condolences go out to his family, friends, students, and loved ones.

Roy Suenaka Passes Away
Posted 3/28/2020 9:27am [from Jun Akiyama]

I just got word that Roy Suenaka (Wadokai Aikido, Charleston SC) passed away on March 8, 2020. He started aikido in the early 1950's, attending demonstrations by Koichi Tohei and going to Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1960 to study with Morihei Ueshiba (from whom he received menkyo kaiden in 1961). He founded Wadokai Aikido in 1975 and taught Suenaka-ha Tetsugaku-ho Aikido ("Suenaka style, philosophical way"). His obituary may be read here. My condolences go out to his family, friends, students, and loved ones.

"10 Things You Can Do to Support Women in Aikido" by Malory Graham
Posted 3/07/2020 10:14am [from Jun Akiyama]

Here is a great article from Malory Graham (6th dan, Seattle Aikikai) on "10 Things You Can Do to Support Women in Aikido." From the article: "7. Put Women in Leadership Roles. Give women a true place of power at the table in your dojo or organization. Know the difference between having a woman serve in a President position vs. a Secretary or Admin role. We all benefit from the diversity of women’s voices in leadership roles."

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