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Last Saturday I attended a seminar held at the University of Bath, featuring Hiroaki Kobayashi Sensei, 6th Dan Aikikai. Hiroaki Sensei is the son of Yasuo Kobayashi Shihan 8th Dan, and Fuku Dojocho of the Kobasyashi Dojos. The Kobayashi "style" of taijutsu seems to be very orthodox, heavily influenced by Kisshomaru Doshu and Moriteru Doshu. It is powerful, positive and flowing, yet relaxed.
The buki-waza are derived from the Iwama buki-waza of Morihiro Saito Sensei, with the suburi arranged in a logical and easy to learn manner. Also, the techniques are practiced on both left and right sides.
The first session was concentrated on techniques from gyaku-hanmi katatetori. Iriminage, but the opening move was similar to katatetori ikkyo. After picking up the hand, tori moves behind uke and instead of grasping the elbow for ikkyo, grabs uke's neck and does tenkan, before moving in for iriminage.
Next was nikkyo, omote and ura, then shihonage, omote and ura.
The next technique was kote-gaeshi from katatetori using a gyaku kotegaeshi grip.
Then everyone formed groups for zempo ukemi practice with kotegaeshi.
After a break came a session with the jo. Hiroaki Sensei gave a short refresher to those who were not yet familiar with jo techniques. Choku tsuki, kaeshi tsuki, jodan gaeshi, shomen uchi, gedan gaeshi and ushiro tsuki wer all covered. Hiroaki Sensei then taught a short 4 count suburi and awase. He then moved to each of the 8 jo awase.
During awase practice, one of my partners parried away my jo so strongly he broke the end of my jo! Fortunately he brought a spare so I used his spare jo for the rest of the session.
During lunch I talked with a fellow Filipino named Garie Ramos. It was great seeing another Pinoy there.
The last session was very interesting. We started with tai no henka, then moved to katatetori nikkyo ura with a tenkan entry. He then taught kaeshi waza against nikkyo ura, countering with sankyo. He then taught henka waza against the sankyo counter, moving into kote gaeshi.
Katatetori kote gaeshi (the conventional one, not gyaku) was next, then 2 kaeshi waza vs kotegaeshi, ikkyo, then iriminage.
Finally all the previous techniques were chained together, nikkyo -> sankyo -> kotegaeshi -> iriminage.
Although complicated, the mudansha also enjoyed the henka waza. One of the mudansha I paired up with said he could really feel the flow of energy during the techniques.
I had a great time at the seminar and regretted that I could not be back the following day. I look forward to other seminars with Hiroaki Sensei. He's a great teacher, very fluent in English (no interpreter was needed) and tries to get everyone to be his uke, even the mudansha. He even goes so far to be uke while demonstrating the techniques, which is rather rare. I even got to be uke for him a few times.