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Since my last 'bloggy' post a great deal has happened. I went to Nottingham directly after the last post proper and learned how to do things back of house a lot more effficiently.
Sensei Ken Robson welcomed me into his Dojo and home for a whole inspirational week that has given me momentum by which I feel I am still being carried.
Basically as a teacher I am very confident, as a student I am also confident, in both cases more because I am not afraid of failing. As a Manager however, failure simply is not an option. The fate of the Shudokan Dojo depends on my ability to manage and grow the school.
The week I spent in Nottingham really gave me the tools to do that effectively. In fact just by the internal changes I made on returning the school started to grow exceptionally fast.
It occurred to me that, not having staff like Nottingham Dojo, i would have to emulate the systems of management some other way. Most obviously as an example the team in Nottingham have a daily brief, or meeting in the morning where they rate how they're feeling and the order of business for that day. So I simply emulated that ritual but on my own, or by skype with other Dojo owners/managers.
It's still hard sometimes to motivate oneself.
I am constantly at odds with my own pathological lethargy and a little bit of 'lonely soldier' feeling which can become quite daunting.
The other counter productive emotion I struggle with is the old school martial artist unwilling to tout our
When you begin training, the role of Uke is purely functional and deliberately contrived. It has simple and pragmatic meaning. You push so that Sh'te may practice from a push. You continue to push because this must be followed to fruition in order to really learn the principles of dealing with a push.
For me personally the role of Uke is much more than that and I would like to explain a little of how this often overshadowed part of Aikido training is having a huge affect on my entire life.
Writings on Uke are not so prolific as that of the role of Tori, or Sh(i)te. I think this is because understanding of it is difficult to explain, especially in western culture. In its pure form it can seem sub-servant to an onlooker. Which is unattractive even amongst martial artists. Especially when martial arts (including ourselves) boast the growth of your self esteem and confidence as a pinnacle selling point.
The cultivation of a correct internal state as uke is vital for your long term education in Aikido. It is the key to becoming powerful, controlled and fast. It is the secret to learning true honesty and sensitivity in a moral, tactile, kinesthetic, combat effective, and spiritual sense.
I get upset sometimes when people assume certain things of me. Students at our Dojo sometimes think I am not afraid of falling because I find it easy. Others think that I'm not afraid to give myself because I am tough and hard to hurt. None of this actually holds any truth. I am often
Since November of 2008 I have been working full time in charge of the running and growth of a full time Aikido Dojo.
So I've decided to keep a journal on the subject. I don't know how religously I will keep to it but I hope to keep a useful account for anyone hoping to dedicate themselves more fully to their art.
The first 2 months
November was difficult. I was enjoying it a lot because I got to train every day. I was philosophical in that I knew that it was going to be hard and that the money would not be good (at first) but I didn't care because I was confident I would get the hang of it in good time.
I was also very concerned because I've decided to go against everyones financial advice and get a job that is not secure.
My closest friends will know, however, that it is not money that drives me. Here are some of my reasons for taking the plunge:
: I have spent too many years spreading myself across many disciplines (not always martial) and I really think its time to focus.
: I've put 12 years of my life into this art. It IS the thing I'm best at. Whether or not I'm good is another matter...
: I want our school to be strong.
: I think the people who come to us get a lot from our training.
: I want to be the best Aikidoka I can.
So although not monetarily sound, I am getting a lot from this.
I was recently instructed by a very kind man to explain on 'Aikiweb' that the soft stuff rocks..
I practice Shudokan Aikido, which is of Yoshinkan lineage. Often referred to as the 'hard style'. That doesn't mean we are all brutes with no sense of the subtlety of Aikido.
That also doesn't mean I believe in the force and remote technique and ringing bells with kiai!! The more I learn about Ki in fact the less I believe in it. I think this is because all the things that are commonly associated with Ki are to often steeped in a hocus pocus that they do not deserve and does not do them justice. Ki is not a superstitious word. It describes the correct application of technique. When you don't understand the technique, don't put it down to magic. Because one day you will understand.
This was written by request for Sensei Ken Robson upon completing my 3rd Dan test. I thought it was a crap idea until I started writing.
‘No matter what it is, there is nothing that cannot be done. If one manifests the determination, he can move heaven and earth if he pleases. But because man is pluckless, he cannot set his mind to it. Moving heaven and earth without putting forth effort is simply a matter of concentration'
In this paper I intend to discuss Aikido in terms of many different criteria. Aikido has become the hub of my wheel (as per the instructions of Soke Stratton) and has shown me a discipline that has empowered me in my daily life. Technique has made thought patterns in my head that have proven their worth physically and mentally, in dealing with an ever more vulgar society. Bushido has taught me a great deal about how to conduct myself on and off the mat.
I remember watching my first class in castle hall in August 1997. I was a school leaver and going through a great deal of changes. I remember taking my first class there and meeting Soke Stratton. I remember making a decision to train with commitment from the start. Aikido had a worth that was obvious to me consciously. Physically and mentally it would make me a better person. There was also worth that was attractive to me subconsciously. The root of Aikido was benevolence, and humility. That is how I want to live my life. I have a long way to go.
The practice of Aikido, in the Shudokan, is b
The Concepts involved in Aikido training are so intrinsically intertwined, and the Japanese names attributed to these concepts are so massively rife with alternate and broader meaning, that it makes writing an article of this type extremely easy in one sense. In the sense that, I can elaborate into other areas of my life and training as an Aikidoist without fear of veering off topic (Like now for instance).
In another sense it becomes ludicrously difficult to pin down exact English translations for just about any of these concepts. What constitutes an adequate synonym for a word in Japanese may well be totally off track when directly translated back to English. By no means am I implying that the English language is less poetic or profound. What I am iterating is that our languages grew up a world apart and associations between objects, feelings and concepts mapped themselves differently. Differences, at a glance, that are astoundingly slight, however during close inspection of philosophy and mindset, drift apart the further you travel. Like two blind men given the same directions to a tree in the woods. Both men make it to a tree. Who knows which tree is the correct one?
Given all of the above, ‘Kimai' translates loosely as focus. I'm going to discuss the implications of, and cultivation of focus.
The good student should practice Aikido always with the focus of a swordsman. This is the crux of our practice of focus. This is also a principle motive
My name is Andrew Medland. I am a 3rd degree black belt in Aikido. Its possible I should have started this journal a little earlier. I just checked the last time i visited this site was back in 2003. I think I am going to have to frequent more often if this is going to be interesting reading.
who knows? Next time I might actually post something Aiki related