View Full Version : Kenji Ushiro Sensei Seminar - May 2008

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Marc Abrams
01-17-2008, 08:52 AM
Kenji Ushiro Sensei was introduced to the U.S. Aikido world by Stanley Pranin and was featured at both Aiki Expos. He has been a featured, guest instructor at the Boulder Aikikai Summer Camps for the last several years. He was the subject of an episode of the popular tv program "Mind Body & Kickass Moves." (a clip of this show can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRlf_RXrqRQ ). Ushiro Sensei teaches an Okinawan style of Karate that emphasizes "Zero Power." His utilization of Ki in his budo is at a level rarely seen. This seminar is a rare opportunity for Aikidokas to work on increasing the ability to generate and use internal power in the execution of our art. This seminar will also help Aikidokas learn to effectively apply Aikido with karate style attacks. His appearances in the United States have been limited to large venues, up until now!

I will be hosting Ushiro Sensei at my school in May of this year. This will be a SMALL VENUE so that the training experience will be personal and intense for all of the participants. Pre-registration is required, and I fully expect that this seminar will fill-up quickly.

Where: Aikido Arts of Shin-Budo Kai
185 Adams Street
Bedford Hills, New York 10507
914 - 242 - 3636

When: Saturday, May 3, 2008: 9am. - Noon & 2:30pm. - 4:30pm.
Sunday, May 4, 2008: 9am. - Noon & 2:30pm. - 4:30pm.

Costs: Both days: $200
One day: $125
*Preference will be given to both day participants so as to allow for continuity in the training experience*

Special Opportunity: If somebody wants to serve as an interpreter during Ushiro Sensei's stay, please contact Marc Abrams (host of the seminar) directly. Contact information has been listed above.

Marc Abrams

Marc Abrams
01-23-2008, 07:58 PM
Due to logistic difficulties in Japan, the seminar is being re-scheduled. I will post the new date as soon as the dates are truly secured. I apologize for the unanticipated difficulties.

Marc Abrams

Marc Abrams
01-28-2008, 07:56 AM
The seminar has been rescheduled for Saturday, May 10 and
Sunday May 11.

I apologize for the changes, but transportation logistics out of Japan (due to Golden Week travel) necessitated the change. I look forward to seeing some of you on the mat for this special event.

Marc Abrams

Marc Abrams
05-13-2008, 08:37 AM
I would like to offer the following THANK YOU:

1) Jun:- For allowing me to "advertise" this seminar on his bulletin board.

2) Aikidokas in attendance: I hope that everybody enjoyed this intense and unique training experience.

3) Ikuko Kimura: Her wonderful translations, chronicling of this event and most importantly, her presence.

4) Ushiro Sensei: His presence at Aikido Arts of Shin-Budo Kai was a remarkable gift that I will always cherish. I hope that his teachings and guidance were as invaluable to all of the participants as they were to me.

Ushiro Sensei has graciously agreed to allow me to host him for another seminar in New York on October 25 & 26, 2008. If anybody is interested in attending, please send me an e-mail so that I can begin the reservation list.

Marc Abrams

05-13-2008, 09:44 AM
Hey Marc,

Thanks for the invite and I am sorry I could not make it. I would love to hear more about the New York Seminar. I am going to try like heck to make that one

If you get a chance perhaps you could write an "after action report"

Ushiro Shihan along with Nishio Shihan are two folks whose "Internal Power" I have personally experianced. Heck just the other night I was showing some folks a few "internal power punch" Atemi for Iriminage.

I hope you get a chance to share your experiances with us.:)

William Hazen

Ron Tisdale
05-13-2008, 10:15 AM
Sorry I couldn't make it, and may be able to try for October. Glad it went well, and please, write a review if you can!


Marc Abrams
05-13-2008, 01:24 PM
After-Action Report
This seminar was over-sold with a waiting list! A large majority of the attendees were Karatekas that ranged from 7th dan to beginners. The Aikidoka in attendance ranged from 5th Dan to beginners.

Day One: Ushiro Sensei focused on helping people learn to feel and generate ki from within ourselves and to perceive ki from others. Ushiro Sensei talked about a person that can access and feel ki, should aim to be able to move "faster" than feeling a person's intention and be able to feel the energy from a person as that person develops intention. Watching Ushiro Sensei move, visibly demonstrated that ability. His movements were not only perfectly harmonized with the attacker, but ahead of the attacker (regardless of what the attacker wanted to, or tried to do). Ushiro Sensei talked about learning to feel these experiences. He stated that if we try to use our conscious minds to do this, we will never develop that ability.

Day Two: Ushiro Sensei spent the day teaching us to be able to enter into an attack by using ki. All of us experienced how difficult it was be truly be able to achieve this goal. Ushiro Sensei allowed us to realize that it was easier for children to achieve this ability, rather than adults. We were able to see how our own egos and thoughts prevented us from moving naturally with powerful ki. The highlight of the day, was that the student with the highest ability to achieve this type of movement was a thirteen year-old boy who attended the seminar!

Overall Observations
Ushiro Sensei has a uncanny ability to be able to selectively project his ki so that people could experience their own movement that had been "energized" with ki (albeit Ushiro Sensei's Ki, rather than our own!). Sensei explained that this was an important training tool because the body "unconsciously" learns how to move with Ki when movement results from powerful ki.

Ushiro Sensei's powerful, positive ki brought smiles to the faces of all. For people who had never had the opportunity to train with him, it was an overwhelming and even befuddling experience to experience the effects of Sensei's ki on the participant. Ushiro Sensei left us with very lofty goals to try and achieve. His willingness to help those who wanted to reach for those goals was truly humbling. Ushiro Sensei's expressed desire is to help us develop powerful, positive ki inside ourselves so that we can make our world/planet a healthier and more positive place to live. From a martial arts perspective, Sensei wanted us to learn to realize that true and absolutely effective techniques, regardless of the art and style, can never be achieved without being able to develop and use powerful ki from within us.

October 2008 Seminar
Ushiro Sensei hopes that the VERY BASIC building blocks that were were given will be worked on diligentl so that the October seminar can be used to move us ahead further in our development.

I truly look forward to the Boulder Summer Camp and October 2008. The developing friendships that have emerged through our training under Ushiro Sensei have genuinely enriched my life. These type of life experiences are beyond any monetary value!

Marc Abrams

Ron Tisdale
05-13-2008, 01:33 PM
Very nice review, thanks!

Were there specific exercises that he used to build these experiences? Could you speak specifically to how he tried to instill things like "enter[ing] into an attack by using ki"?


05-13-2008, 01:36 PM
To second Ron's question - a general question I'd have were as to what kind of physical mechanics were used to explain some of the basics of moving with ki?

Marc Abrams
05-13-2008, 02:02 PM

Ushiro Sensei stated that everything evolves from PROPER kata. Sitting Seiza is KATA. When sitting seiza and rei is done correctly, a person can stand on your back with you lifting both hands off of the mat.

I am simply unqualified to accurately describe his movements and katas. Sanchin kata is the first kata that is learned. Sensei stated that this kata (IF DONE PROPERLY), develops kokyu and then ki power within us.

I am simply unqualified to describe the "physical mechanics" to develop and move ki. It starts with proper posture. This might sound easy, but I am still learning proper posture.

I apologize for not being able to "shed some light" on those questions. I do not want to say things about which I am not qualified to comment on. Ushiro Sensei strongly believed that we had to allow our bodies to "experience" these things so that we can learn properly. He stated that conscious thought interfered in the learning process. All I can say is that you really have to experience the training with Ushiro Sensei to believe it. Understanding it is a whole other "ball of wax." I am simply blissfully ignorant. Ignorant, in that I am the most basic of beginners. Blissful, in that I have an opportunity to learn.

Marc Abrams

Ron Tisdale
05-13-2008, 02:39 PM
Don't worry! I get being a newbie to some of this stuff. People ask me to describe what Mike and Dan and Akuzawa do...yeah right! I make a few fumbling attempts, and then give up.

But the Sanchin kata is actually something I can look up and then try to apply the principles I see Akuzawa and others using. Then maybe I can find out how far off base I am if I get my butt up there in October! :D


05-13-2008, 03:21 PM
Don't worry! I get being a newbie to some of this stuff. People ask me to describe what Mike and Dan and Akuzawa do...yeah right! I make a few fumbling attempts, and then give up.

But the Sanchin kata is actually something I can look up and then try to apply the principles I see Akuzawa and others using. Then maybe I can find out how far off base I am if I get my butt up there in October! :D


Its funny you say that Ron, after meeting Akuzawa, my understanding of sanchin has completely changed 180. No longer am I preforming sanchin with every muscle tensed and extremely heavy breathing. I began to understand why (in the isshinryu version at least), the feet are in the position you are in (spiraling outwards), and why the arms spiral inwards, why the hips are tucked in forwards etc, and why you have an opponent testing your structure via strikes and pressure.