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This past weekend I had the great pleasure of attending an Aikido seminar at Bucks County Aikido with George Lyons Sensei (Bucks County Aikido), Juba Nour Sensei (Aikido of Manhattan), and Michael Sidebottom Sensei (Connecticut Aikikai). It was an all day Saturday seminar, and there was a fantastic (and large) group of students to train with from all three locations, plus some others as well, I believe. All three teachers are members of the USAF Western Region, and all are students of T.K. Chiba Shihan. I believe that Chiba Shihan is often mentioned as an Aikido instructor who emphasizes the martial aspects of Aikido, and that is certainly what I experienced Saturday. While the practice was very safe (I am unaware of any real injuries), it was certainly very vigorous, correct, and martial. Having heard so much on the net about Chiba Shihan and his students, I had been very eager to have an opportunity to train with them.
George Lyons Sensei opened with warm-ups that concentrated on more stretching than I'm used to (but not quite as much as I remember with Donovan Waite Sensei). Since I haven't been able to train as much lately, due to a knee injury, the extra stretching was much appreciated. Many of Aikido's standards were part of his sessions that day, including Ikkyo, Nikyo, Shiho and Irimi. The Tenkan exercises that he started off with gave me a little of the feeling of the differences between the USAF West, East, and the Yoshinkan style that I am used to. I w
Well, after close to six months of pain, rehab, no practice...I think I'm ready for some steady mat time. I'm starting off with one practice per week, then building up from there. I trained before the new year at the Boulder Aikikai (that was a great time), at the Doshinkan Hombu New Year's celebration (got to teach a little and do a little free-style demo) and did a thousand sword cuts last night to open the New Year at the Homeikan. So far, the knee gets better every time I practice, so I think its ready for some more sustained exercise.
Did some freestyle after class last night with one of the strong karate guys...now that was fun! Miss training with my buds there. The training in Boulder was great, but my smokey lungs had trouble the last hour and a half handling the thin air. whew! But I had great partners, and would love to train there again. I'm really looking forward to training there again sometime. If any of the folks I trained with there see me online, I hope they'll drop an email so we can get to know each other better. Thanks to Jun for getting me situated!
Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy New Year!