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Old 01-05-2007, 04:20 PM   #50
Dojo: UBC Okanagan Aikido Club
Location: Kelowna
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 94
Re: Crazy Ki demonstration by Barrish Sensei

I teach up in the BC interior, and I get the chance to train at Barrish sensei's dojo about three-four times a year. This does not make me any kind of expert on him or his aikido, but at least my misconceptions are reasonably up to date .

Some true things from above -

The dojo is beautiful, as are the grounds
Barrish sensei's sense of timing is exquisite
Barrish sensei is very strong
The ukemi bothered me
Barrish sensei really does do an awful lot of sword cuts, as well as misogi in one of the colder bits of water I've set a toe into, all the way through the winter, regularly breaking ice to do it.
His aikido is different in many ways than one would find in a typical aikikai dojo, but interesting and powerful.

Some things that I see differently than what was stated above

He is still teaching very regularly
If he's part African-American, it's not obvious to me, though I wonder why that would matter
He does not expect or need uke to be compliant. I am strong, in shape, and take people seriously when they ask me to attack them. I feel solidly thrown by him, and more than solidly pinned at the end of the throw.
I have not run into an ego problem with him. He is always friendly, welcoming, and humble when we are chatting.

These are all my personal experiences only, and I'm staying away from any conjecture about things that I haven't experienced myself.

I will say that I have a great deal of respect for Barrish sensei as a martial artist, and I look forward to visiting every time that I get a chance. I've been lucky in that I have been able to train seriously with a number of different instructors from a number of different lineages due to a few moves over the years, and I've gotten peripheral looks at many more through seminars and visiting schools when I'm traveling. I've enjoyed all of those, and gotten a lot from all of them, and have learned to love the diversity that aikido presents.

Barrish sensei's aikido is very strong, and very different. I struggle each time I'm there to figure out what is going on, and take home a fairly diluted version of what was presented. He has a very regular group of people who train there who train seriously, and who are very helpful as well. He also, to my observations anyhow, actively models his life after O'Sensei's, trains hard, and imparts what he's learned to his students well.

My sensei (the sensei that I started training under, and still consider my sensei) is one of Barrish sensei's students, though with a background in Tomiki aikido before then. Barrish sensei awarded me one of my promotions personally. I say this as a disclaimer so you do not accept my statements as unbiased. As many have said before, drop by and train there sometime to make your own opinion. People visit there regularly and Barrish sensei and his students are a very nice bunch, and quite welcoming.

I've thought a long time before posting this, and I hope it was, to some degree anyhow, helpful.


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