Cartoon courtesy of Jutta, from Gobopictures.
Previously published in Open Engagement on January 20th, 2016 René de Guzman defines power as the ability to make desired results happen.The advantage of using the word ability is that while it can refer to a unilaterally bestowed privilege, it also readily connotes a skill that is developed over time. Aikido embodies a paradox that … [Read more…]
Entering the dojo for the first time was a surreal experience. I walked slowly up a narrow, wooden flight of stairs, the muffled sound of banging echoing from above. When I saw my future classmates training for the first time, I felt almost immediately out of place. They were executing on moves that I now … [Read more…]
There’s a classic Bill Cosby sketch with Noah and the ark. God: Noah, I want you to build an ark. Noah: Right. What’s an ark? This skit captures something about my first year training in aikido. Within the dojo there exists a specialized lexicon; some terms are Japanese and some are English. At the time, … [Read more…]
Previously published in USAF Aikido News on August 10, 2015 The meaning of Aikido varies among the unique and different people who practice it. The meaning changes even for the same person. The reason we start something is often different from the reason we maintain it years later. Our initial purpose evolves and adapts to … [Read more…]
Previously published in USAF Aikido News on May 31, 2015 Ukemi can be many things. It is a way to train and fall safely. It is a sincere and committed attack. And for some people it is even a sub-art within Aikido. Some people like to take high-flying and super soft falls, while others stick … [Read more…]
At the beginning, I didn’t get him. His aikido was different, so different from what I had seen in those early years practicing aikido. And I had barely heard of him. When I took my first class with him, I was there, at the New York Aikikai, to train as an uchi-deshi under Yamada Sensei. Oh, how things … [Read more…]
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…]