Peter A Goldsbury
There was another ukemi exercise that KS used to have us practice at Ryushinkan that I omitted to mention in the article. So consider this post as an extension of the article.
You stand in the middle of the dojo, with enough space to do ukemi in any direction. The stance should not be in hanmi or kamae, but in a neutral shizentai stance. From where you stand you have the possibility of a forward roll in any one of eight directions: directly to the left, directly to the right, directly forwards, directly backwards, and in one of four diagonal directions. The roll can be done using either arm, and with the legs crossing over during the roll (Yoshinkan style), or not crossing over (Aikikai Hombu style). KS could do this effortlessly in any direction and so gave us a superb model to imitate. I found the exercise was a difficult, but useful, training exercise and when I took ukemi from KS subsequently, I had a greater sense of what I: my body and my mind, was doing at any point during the ukemi.
As I stated in the article, when I trained at Ryushinkan in the late 1970s, Saito Morihiro Sensei was publishing his Traditional Aikido books and KS used these as training texts. Saito Sensei visited the UK once or twice and I believe that on one occasion he was accompanied by Bruce Klickstein, whose ukemi was superb.
EDIT: Ellis, Jun, I was not sure whether to put this here or start a new thread. Move it if necessary.
Not only did Mr K utilise the volumes of Saito Sensei in his courses ,he also used Budo Renshu as a reference.Other stuff was setai/makko ho/macrobiotic cooking[miso soup was good , brown rice UGH -ok with soy sauce , on its own ,worse than haggis].We also endured lying on our backs with knees secured by our obi [Aikido bondage anyone???]Also during a ZaZen session Mr K ,whapped me with the stick on both shoulders.I nearly cried with the pain.Sure made me an enthusiast for Za Zen.
Training at the Ryushinkan sometimes included the whacking of the big rubber tyre , enclosed in concrete. Pummeling this object with the heavy bokken.Oh what joy.Just as well there were sedatives [in beer bottles] to keep me going.