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Now here's another book I should have read long ago, Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" so I should try to find a copy and finally read it!
But just the title reminded me of my trips to Boston, around 1979-1980 if I remember correctly. I was teaching at the local YMCA here, for those of you who remember me mentioning it in earlier entries. I had an assistant, and he had his own assistant, a rugby player, and they loved to "bash" each other. At least that's what they called it, although I don't think we had any flying breakfalls. The only time anyone from that group got injured was the time the rugby player and one of the young women students got bored in my class and snuck off to the (no doors, so don't get any ideas!) wrestling room that had mats and injured each other. I must have afterwards given them the message, "now you see why we do things the way we do..."
But more on that group later, with Larry in charge I knew I could take off for Boston without any worries. My friend from summer camp 1973 liived in Marblehead, and a former student from the Y lived around Central Square, so I had places to stay and people I really wanted to visit and who really wanted me to visit them!
But now I remember another story, "The Wizard of Oz." Not that it directly relates to my going to Boston, but Kanai Sensei was rather mysterious and fascinating, yet I think, besides the excellent Aikido training, it's what he drew out of people. I got a lot
A one word title. If someone else has used it for his or her blog entry, sorry to "steal it," but then, if I happen to find it later, I will be very interested to read it.
The title just came to me, and reminded me of some concepts. I remember the tide-ebbing jewel and its opposite, though I can't remember the words for that one, from translations of the ancient Japanese books that some call history and some call mythology.
It just occurred to me that it can be quite ordinary, you exert yourself, you are tired, you rest a bit, then you feel better.
When you take ukemi, is it restful while you are in the air? Is it like breathing, when you grab the nage and are thrown, tension and release, is it like the ebb and flow of the ocean?
I like reading the various blogs, the techniques, the personal impressions of people about themselves and other people (so long as it is mostly positive!). Then again if some anonymous error is pointed out, we can learn from that too.
But I also enjoy the poetry and the impressions of nature, and the cultural observations, quotes and references.
I almost remember the title of a book by the Dalai Lama, I think it is called "Ocean of Wisdom." I always thought that was a beautiful title for a book, and a spiritual leader. Plus, I liked the fact that he smiles a lot and stresses the importance of kindness.
But today I wanted to mention boats. Rowboats are nice, you can row to a marshy edge of a pond like the one near our
Not to say I have good timing, but I thought I would share something from years learning Aikido in New York. The teacher was good, the senpai were good, in general the people to practice with were good, we could learn from those junior to us, etc.
But I have to mention one particular practice session where the technique was hanmi handachi ushiro waza, probably kokyu nage. After uke grabs the right hand with his or her right hand he or she then circles around to grab the left wrist of nage, who is still seated. Sorry about the awkward description, but I wanted people to be able to picture what is going on.
The nage was someone probably in her twenties as I was, had joined a few years after myself, and had progressed rapidly. Was good at ukemi, too. Myself, taller and not so naturally coordinated as she. I have hesitated telling this story before, because it might sound like sour grapes! Yes she was very good at Aikido but I did find one thing to correct, although I did it in a rather annoyed way at the time, although I usually didn't like to interrupt people, and I shouldn't have acted annoyed. But I think she was the first to act annoyed.... As I said I was rather young and immature, and she probably thought I was just trying to stop her technique.
She was trying to throw me before I had gone round from her right to her left and so was pulling on my arm before I had arrived.
I don't know if I derived any satisfaction from the thought "Gee, she's not perf
A friend of mine and I were in noon class. We were getting over bronchitis, which I seemed to get frequently while living in New York City. I was a proofreader and would hop on the subway at the western end of Bryant Park in midtown and end up pretty close to the dojo on 18th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenue. Even though it ended up more than a one hour lunch hour, being a proofreader seemed to be justification for doing something totally different for a couple of hours to beat that midafternoon slump so many office workers feel. Oh, correction, class started at one p.m. not literally noon.
"Noon" class was less crowded and sometimes I could call it "easier" but that didn't mean we didn't get exellent teaching. Sometimes it was a tough class, and Sensei often threw whoever was there. But that day I guess I just wanted to blend into the woodwork. It turned out to be not such a good idea, although it was nice to practice while recuperating.... I thought. Sensei didn't throw me after that for many months I seemed to notice. Here's why, I think.
It was kaiten nage, and after the turn , when he threw he gave what I thought was an extra flourish is not the exact word I wanted but pretty close. But wait till you hear the explanation one of the senpais later gave me. All I saw at the time was that people were landing on their backs and my friend elbowed me and she and I kept our heads down as the feet progressed down the line stopped briefly near us th
I have taken class with some of the teachers Ellis Amdur mentioned in his It Had To Be Felt series, which others have joined. These are very interesting and valuable columns. As for myself, however, I was just trying to absorb what was being shown and trying to participate in the class to the best of my ability at the time. That is why I wrote my previous blog entry the way I did. I kept it simple, to what the teacher said, and the effect of that teacher through the years until I was able to attend his class again in New York. The other classes were in Japan.
Some people are interested in the point of view of someone of my level at the time. Maybe they can picture themselves attending the class and later having the feeling, whether by observation or actually taking the ukemi, gradually influence their training throughout some years....
The teacher I am going to mention in this entry was recently described by Ellis, and I looked to see if there was a separate thread re: Kanai Sensei in reference to Ellis' account. I will keep looking, but in the meantime I will tell you that suddenly I remembered that I did indeed take ukemi from Kanai Sensei. It was a few months or one year tops after he arrived in the US. Yamada Sensei, his good friend had invited him to New York, a tradition that continued during Kanai Sensei's years in the US every December for the Christmas Seminar.
So I really did forget that first time for many years. I was really new to Aikido, thoug
I only met the former, if you want to know about the latter, why not ask someone who has taken class with him. It is interesting to find out how a son would be similar to, or different from, his father. Same for mothers and daughters in whatever art or practice, of course.
This post follows very soon after my most recent post about Marianne's afternoon at USAF summer camp. The phrase "passing the torch" must have come from the Olympics, which are going on right now in London. We don't have a TV (never got the box to switch our old ones to the new system). I used to love TV, but hubbie says we get a lot more done since the temptation was removed.
It is great fun, though to hear about them from Ginny by phone as she watches them on TV and to see pictures on my hubbie's Blackberry. While not being able to watch on TV, is too bad in one way, on the other hand it actually adds a dimension when others share with me!
Sure I would love to be practicing again, but it is also great fun to hear about things second hand, to see things through another's eyes, so to speak.
Marianne took Osawa Sensei, junior's class. Sorry, I don't know his first name but you, and I, can look it up. Osawa Sensei , senior, was teaching at Hombu dojo when I was there in the mid seventies. I wasn't able to take everyone's classes, schedule and stamina precluded that, but when I was able to take his classes they were fascinating, a real case of "how did he do that? It looked so simple!"
Hi friends, I just got up and am still excited about last night's news so I will share it with you. Marianne took a bit of time off from work and went to the USAF Summer Camp for an afternoon, accompanied by her husband, who does not do Aikido (prefers golf...) But then Marianne studied jiu jitsu or judo for a while when she was a teenager, so interest in martial arts dates way back.
Some of you may know that I attended New York Aikikai many years ago. So Marianne was trying to describe the class after lunch on Tuesday taught by Ed.... and then she said Peteroy. What? I asked. He was at New York Aikikai when I was! She went on to say how great it was that he prefaced the practice with a sense of humor. That's New York Aikikai, at least back then when there were relatively few people who even knew what Aikido was. Solid technique due to Yamada Sensei and the many senpais, but most people had a sense of humor too. Maybe partly because New York city is famous for theater and comedy, but partly it was because Aikido itself had many surprises.
As mentioned elsewhere, in the early days to make Aikido known, the dojo accepted invitations to give short demonstrations in the intermissions of the local karate tournaments. The Manhattan Center near Madison Square Garden, I think, was one location. Not being in the demo, I was sitting in the audience and heard the people next to me say "look at that, they're flying." I didn't say anything, I just smirked to myself.
For the past few years, I have tried some crossword puzzles in the local papers from time to time when I feel like sitting down to rest during the day.... It's kind of an interesting thing to do which they recommend for older people to exercise their brains! For me, it reminds me of words in English, and the occasional word many Americans know from other languages.
Some phrases are also included, and some were more commonly used a few years or decades ago.
I don't remember seeing "I'll go along with that" in a crossword puzzle, but it might well have appeared when we didn't have a subscription and only occasionally picked up a paper at the local store.
Now we come to the original titles of this week's post:
Aikido, Art, Carpentry. The point of view was to be the loft my husband and I had for a couple of years in the late 1980's. I had originally hurt my knee in 1986, while I wasn't training, and had the bright idea of teaching people with injuries in a spare room at the art loft. Actually it wasn't my bright idea, it was Linda, who had gotten a shoulder injury . Our old loft and other work spaces were in Westchester and she was working at a hospital in Westchester, and was living in the border town of Byram, actually a part of Greenwich CT. So we were in the Byram-Port Chester area pretty frequently, and I think we saw Linda around there a couple of times, and each time she asked about Aikido. She had only Tuesday evenings off from work, and couldn't atte
This isn't exactly Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure or Ferris Bueller's Day Off, just one of those funny memories of New York Aikikai. I mentioned Valerie and Kitsy as swordswomen in my previous entry, Valerie did kendo at the American Buddhist Academy on Riverside Drive, and Kitsy studied iaido somewhere downtown. Valerie liked the spirited competitiveness of kendo, she went to tournaments and was very insistent in demanding rights for women there.... sorry I don't remember the details.
Kitsy was about a decade older than we were and was raising her two youngest children in New York, I'm not sure where the older ones were. Same parents, the kids were just different age groups. She was spirited too, but almost shy in a way, in contrast to Valerie who was as I hinted before, very outspoken in matters of Women's Lib as it was called at the time.
By the way, Valerie took her large white cat Loki to the kendo tournaments because she wasn't sure of Paul giving Loki the insulin shots correctly. That was the first time I heard of diabetic cats and their treatment.
I miss Valerie too, and so does Kitsy. The last I heard Valerie was teaching courses in Medieval History at a college not far from New York City, but when I checked Google there was nothing recent and the email address didn't work. Another notable thing about Valerie is that she had her own column in Black Belt Magazine entitled Fighting Woman, which she later expanded to magazine format as Fighting Wo
Well, that was the best way to attract readers who might be interested in sword, women in martial arts, etc. And all three practiced Aikido.
Add one more, whom I admire greatly, even though I spoke with her only a few words to thank her after seminars at Ray Farinato's dojo here in Stamford. She is Lorraine DiAnne and is well known here on the East Coast. I hope she is my friend! The smile seemed to say so! Often among friends words can be few, but with the other three, there have been many words indeed. I think I will write more about Lorraine in a later blog entry, but for now, I will go back in time for those who enjoy "my memories, as they refer to them...."
The first is Cassandra, one of my senpais at New York Aikikai, starting in the late sixties. She had been an artist, maybe a sculptor before we met her, I and my other friends.... and after she stopped training many years later (pains in feet and hands, maybe arthritis, I hope she's okay now) she took up Japanese paper flower making. What a dedicated art form, the paper is a bit like crepe paper, but stronger, and miniature trees are also made by wrapping , well it is beautiful and I would say indescribable.
Of the many arts she studied, including Japanese classical dance, she practiced kendo, and also iaido at the American Buddhist Academy which also had judo, probably karate and maybe even naginata for a while, on Riverside Drive on the upper west side of Manhattan. In whatever we were discussing