A Recent Graduate

Sarah's Shodan Test

Getting your Shodan is like being a recent graduate. It is the culmination of a long process of dedicated study. Hours of practice, and lessons learned from your teachers. No wonder we feel so accomplished. The graduate gets a diploma, and a degree. We get a black belt, and a most precious hakama. And, for … [Read more…]

The Perfect Uke

New Paltz Seminar

At some point in my practice I decided I wanted to be the perfect uke. I’m still far from reaching that goal (very far); but, that thought helped me change the way I was training – for the better, I think. Now, it begs the question of what the definition of a perfect uke is. … [Read more…]

Student Etiquette 201

Before Class

This is not your basic level etiquette in Aikido article. There are already many such articles devoted to its basics. I want to go a step deeper, if you will. Consequently, ‘201’. Etiquette is no other thing than manners. Each society has its own rules of propriety. Burping during dinner could be seen as disgusting or … [Read more…]

Deshi Life in Pictures (Part I)

Deshi teaching a beginner

Living as a deshi of a true budo requires dedication. The rewards are immense, though. You can be a live-in deshi (uchi) or a deshi that doesn’t live in the dojo (soto) while you follow this path. Either way, the process doesn’t have to be all sacrifice. You can have fun and camaraderie, too.   (All photographs Copyright … [Read more…]