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This year we were fortunate to have John Stevens Sensei for four days of training, lectures, and informal sessions. Once again, he impressed me with his knowledge of aikido, his practice of Rinjiro Shirata's waza, and his poise. His topics ranged from Aikido's philosophy and history, to Aikido's techniques. We were fortunate this year to be able to share Stevens Sensei with the Aikido Schools of New Jersey (under Rick Stickles Sensei). Stevens Sensei lectured, gave a demo, answered questions, and signed books for over 70 students of aikido, in an absolutely wonderful venue provided by Stickles Sensei. I would be remiss if I did not thank Stickles Sensei for his hospitality. It is our sincere hope to continue to provide greater exposure of Stevens Sensei's Classical Aikido throughout the North East in the coming years.
One of the most interesting facets of Classical Aikido to me is the fusion of Rinjiro Shirata's early training at the Kobukan, and the philosophy of Ueshiba Sensei's later years. While many schools whose lineage springs from the Kobukan days eschew Kotodama and any connections with the Omoto-kyo religion, I find that Classical Aikido has a good link to those traditions, and that Stevens Sensei is able to express that in his classes and lectures. The Kotodama sessions before practice helped me to relax and to focus, enabling me to train with a renewed energy each day, and strengthening the feeling of connection with the founder of Aikido. The pract
I'm not really sure how to express this recent experience, but I'll give it a shot. I have an 80 something year old great aunt who lives in North Philly (about 20 blocks west of Broad street). Its a neighborhood that has been in great distress, but it is slowly comming back due to improved housing efforts by developers and the city. The kind of lawlessness you regularly see there is armed gangs riding three wheeled off road vehicles down the streets at all times of the night and day, popping wheelies. Somehow, they evade any cops interested in stopping them .
I was taking my aunt back home after dark on the forth (she's always either in a wheel chair or walking for *very* brief periods with a cane on one side and me on the other). While I was helping her out of my car, about 3 to 4 thugs began to approach us from the other side of the street. She started to get upset, so I propped her up against the car, and started telling her it was ok, there was no problem. I continued to help her, while angling my body so that I could watch the leader without looking directly at him. Just enough so he knew I could see him, but not enough to confront him. He got to within about 4 or 5 feet, then veered off and went on past us down the street with his buddies. I told my aunt "see, its just attitude", and took her on inside.
I never really considered the opponant defeated...I considered us safer once he made clear by his change in direction that he had reconsidered his choice. I cons