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Home > Columns > AaaRk Sensei > November, 2006 - Introduction

Introduction by AaaRk Sensei

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From the National Theatre of Japan:

"Kyogen is a theatre of laughter that is based upon auspicious words, satire, and humor..." While its Edo-period satire and vulgar humor were weakened, its art of witty jokes and tasteful humor was polished, and its move toward becoming an art of gentle humor and auspicious words was strengthened."

Well, I'm about to put an end to all that.

I am AaaRk, Chief Instructor of Antarctica Aikikai. I spent several years as an uchideshi at the Rookery Dojo of Byrd Shihan and waddled my way up along the Nafudakake. After the untimely freezing of Byrd Shihan, I was asked to slide into the position of Chief Instructor and primary preener at Antarctica Aikikai and have held that position for the last 10 hatchings.

I am here to answer your questions.

Q: Do penguins really do Aikido?
Do hairless apes really do Polar research?

Q: How do penguins do shomenuchi?
"What begins with, "How do penguins do shomenuchi?" and ends with "thwack?" "I don't know." "Could you repeat your question?"

Q: Why doesn't your dojo use weapons?
Two words; no thumbs. We do have seveal beak katas, so watch your kneecaps.

Q.What style of Aikido do you teach?
A modified traditional style. We waddle; we can't stand in hanmi; we don't roll very well; we don't do weapons. You can't slide gracefully across the ice; you can't dive naked down to the Arctic depths; you can't stand still for six months; you have wars. All life adapts; all art reflects.

Q. Do you do centering exercises?
Penquins are naturally centered and rather difficult to tip over. I would suggest to my primate friends that they need more krill and beer to get that attractive round bottom that keeps us stable.

Steve from Northampton,England
Q. Brilliant ! And here's me trying to come up with some way of making Aikido sound interesting - I think I'll give up now and try laying on some more blubber. All the best -
Good Man! Blubber is God's gift against the cold (and very attractive to the opposite sex).

Sue Shepard from Cedar Hill, MO
Q. ...I recently heard a question about penguins; do they fall over backwards while watching jets fly overhead? Could make for some interesting ukemi, don't ya think??
Not really. What we actually do is polish the ice in front of us with our feet and watch the jets in the reflection. Generally what we're doing when we're looking down is watching the clouds!

T. Morris from New York
Q. Are you guys serious??
You're writing to a penguin and asking that question?

Do you have a question you would like answered by AaaRk sensei? If so, contact him by e-mail!

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