View Full Version : visited Jason Delucia sensei's dojo
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06-05-2005, 10:51 PM
I just had the pleasure of training with Jason Delucia sensei and Wendy Rowe! Bottom line - it was an all around great experience.
His posture (tsui-getsu area specifically) is impeccable - I couldn't get him to break it no matter how much pressure I applied. He is certainly competent. He worked with me just up to my level and let me work out near maximum and still mangaged to keep things safe. He helped me with some footwork in that format that I found to be very useful and thought provoking. I cannot stress enough how impressed I am with his body skill as well as his ability to teach in the competative model (which was still overall cooperative). At first impression, I found him to be patient and generous with his teaching. I didn't detect a trace of arrogance in him or any of his students. I was blown away by what I have seen of his methology. What he's teaching is valuable for aikido. Also, by the way, in my opinion, Wendy is a wonderful partner and is totally serious about her training. It was a pleasure to work out with her as well.
In the majority of my current aikido experience, we practice symbolic attacks, and work on ideal movement. My experience with Gleason sensei has shown me that "correct" (TM) collaborative practice can lead to some "next level" ability where he somehow manages to bring my attacking power to near zero and get the weight of a building on me without directly pushing, pulling, or lifting. I'm not there, but some of the senior students from his dojo are, so I'm a believer in his methology as well. For me, it just makes sense that in a more realitic situation, the sophistocation of the techniques (manifested principles) would be lower level by necessity until someone gets incredibly proficient. (I would say that Saotome sensei is there and that Gleason sensei is closer than most I've seen.) In this one training session with Jason Delucia sensei, I didn't necessarily experience "next level" type of sophitication in that format, (I think I'm not good enough at attacking to have found out yet!) but regardless, given the full resistance model, it was MUCH higher level ability than I expected. I can see how that type of training might help me make a breakthrough or two. Admittedly, I have been looking to explore taking my training this direction for a while lately but I was (up to know) unable to find anyone who had done some of the groundwork (pun) for me.
To be fair, while my initial opinion of Jason Delucia sensei is that he is the real deal, I am certainly not able to attack him with the ability of a NHB fighter, so take my recomendation with that in consideration.
I can understand why some people who only do tradional aikido would dislike this format. I was amazed that there was really no ill will towards those people in his dojo. I really enjoyed being given the opportunity to test my proficiency under that kind of pressure and I was pleased with the test. I got to fail, compare to what he was doing (and some of his very helpful and serious students). and learn. The experience was incredibly valuable (to me). I would recommend it to anyone, who is more interested in "learning" than "winning". His ground fighting is really fun and interesting. I don't have a whole lot of experience to compare that to so I'll leave it at that for now.
I am becoming more and more convinced that colaborative training with and with out competition is incredibly useful towards getting insight in just how "correct" your practice is.
My hope is to practice with Jason Delucia sensei some more and to try to work it out for him to come share his aikido at one of the friendship seminars (about 5 different martial arts get together and share for a day) we typically do in CT. If we can't work it out for this year, we'll make it a priority for next year.
I personally do not agree with the idea that we want to avoid a direct engagement in aikido. - especially againast multiple attackers. Using developed ki and kokyu skills in that kind of format is useful. I'm unsure how ki and kokyu actually develop in that format, but I only attended one class so far!
In sumary, his class is serious. The students are sincere martial artists. I feel that this is valuable training and I hope to get the opportunity to train with them again soon.
06-06-2005, 12:18 AM
Awesome, I'm glad you had a good time! I've got to make my way over there sometime!
06-06-2005, 02:26 AM
That's really cool.
His website is still gives a really weird impression of aikido though :P
06-06-2005, 06:56 AM
I suppose coming from Saotome sensei's approach where he stresses having the mind of attack, and from within that structure, receiving your partner, this didn't seem all that different from what I think of as aikido. What was difficult for me was that I was a visitor so I was trying to do things more the way I was being shown as opposed to what I might typically do when we have built up some trust. For instance, he started showing me one strategy about starting with an ikkyo type entrance and I was all about being there to learn to I tried to do what I saw and felt. I was thinking after his class that I just don't typically start ikkyo that way and was wondering how it would have been different if I had put a bit more atemi to lead off and as if he were reading my mind, Jason sensei said, something like 'next time you come, we'll work on starting things off with atemi'. He had more to say about it, and named some NHB fighter who apparently does that in the way he feels is best - but I'm terrible at names so you'll have to ask him.
I could really see the size/weight differential aspect playing a major part in the ground work. There are just some situations where if I had been the one with 50 or 60 more pounds, I would have been able to get out of a jam that I was otherwise unable to get myself out of. I think the size aspect is factor in the "tolerance". Like, a heavier relatively unskilled person can make more mistakes and recover than a lighter relatively unskilled person. Other than that, the weight thing wasn't an overwhelming factor in that class (I'm not sure if he just formatted class that way or if this is true in general!).
Anyway the experience inspired me to work on keeping my tsui-getsu area much more open (I think I was getting a little lazy in my posture - that might have been a bit more to do with the fact that I've been stressing about my grand ma in the hospital for a week+ now), but for whatever reason I was more closed down than I wanted to be, and that was highlighted in this wonderful practice. I am very interested in his atemi/technique integration. I think I'll be able to explore that idea of receiving your partner from within the structure created by maintaining the mind of attack in that environment in a way that would be very difficult if not impossible (for me) in a totally cooperative model. I do think that some people could possibly skip this kind of training if they are genius enough to just really get it all, but I'm not that kind of learner. I like to have someone show me, tell me, let me try, show me again, tell me again, let me try, show me their perception of the difference between what I'm doing and they are doing, tell me the difference, show me again. If someone is unwilling, I basically just keep working on that kind of thing and try to teach myself in that way. I'm not one to just see it and say - oh no problem and do it perfectly - much to the dismay of many of my incredibly patient teachers! From there, I need to focus on unifying and separating to find a way to express some of my more sophistocated body skills I work on in traditional class with the ideal symbolic attacks - to start coming out in this venue. Like, keeping my body much more open (like inflating if that makes sense) and finding that Ikeda sensei type of connection with the partner and experimenting with that more. That would be something very valuable (to me).
06-06-2005, 08:45 AM
Nice review, and thanks for the information! Makes me want to get up that way...
06-06-2005, 12:48 PM
Chris and Ron, when either of you guys work out a visit with that dojo, please let me know and I'll ask permission to visit on the same day. I met a Police Seagent in the area, who teaches his own martial arts dojo, and when we got talking he has nothing but wonderful things to say about Jasno Delucia sensei as well. I'm pretty sure that at least one of the guys I worked out with while I was there was a police officer as well. They told me that there were some in the class, but no one specially said who they were or if they were there that day. At least one of the guys, definately had that feeling (in a good martial way). Wrestling with him was like when an adult plays kickball with a 1st grader - I was not the adult! And he was very good at taking me to my limit and stopping the moment I gave up - which was REALLY quick.
(While I really don't like the jerk who gave me a 'failure to completely stop' ticket several years ago and I hope he stubs his toe today - I like policemen very much in general.)
06-07-2005, 09:18 AM
Thanks, Rob, for the nice writeup! We all had a great time training with you and are looking forward to seeing you again. The invitation goes for the rest of you, too, Rob and Chris and anyone else who wants to visit -- it's lots of fun to train with different people so everyone gets to try out their different aikido "dialects" together.
I'm pretty sure that at least one of the guys I worked out with while I was there was a police officer as well. Yes, we do have police in our classes, quite a few on some days. They can't all always make it on Sundays due to their changing schedules, but the "Eric" you worked with was Police Officer Eric Cusson, who posts on Aikiweb sometimes and talked about himself here:
I agree wholeheartedly with your comment about size/strength and groundwork -- at 5' 3" and 130 lbs wearing my gi, my technique has to be a whole lot better than any significantly larger/stronger guy I work with or he wins for sure. That's why Royce Gracie impresses me so much. Still, it's fun doing groundwork with people of all sizes and abilities since each presents a different set of challenges. For me, the best way to improve in every art is to practice the basics over & over but also to challenge myself in a variety of ways to uncover my weaknesses so I can work to correct them.
Mr.Liberti, it was our pleasure training with you. Thank you for making the trip down to visit us. Your balance, movements and calmness was very impressive and shows the time and dedication you put into your training (something I am striving for). I look forward to seeing you and your family again.
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