For new visitors, this is primarily a working site to let students know what we covered if they have to miss a class. If you scroll through the posts, you will see that they are all class summaries, most of which include a video …

Thursday Evening November 20th: Shiho-nage, Ikkyo

Warm-ups

We now know:
5 wrist stretches
Arm swinging (shoulder warm-ups)
Raising and cutting (vertical balance)
Front and rear (horizontal balance combined with a pivot)
8 way (Aikido stance in any direction)
2 Step turn (turning footwork )
Back Pivot (turning footwork)

We added:
Left-Right Exercise (left-right balance with stepping behind footwork)

Aikido Instruction and Practice

We now know:
Ude-nage A (arm throw, cutting like a sword)
Shiho-nage (4 way throw)
'Partial' Ikkyo (1st option)

We reviewed: Shiho-nage (4 way throw)

We finished: Ikkyo (1st option)

In any martial arts, self-defense situation knowing how to pin an attacker is vital. Sometimes it's not simply a matter of making a throw and escaping - you may have to hold the attacker until others arrive, or restrain them until they cool down.

For the Ikkyo pin, remember that it is a '5 points' pin
1.) Knee to the lower ribs
2.) One Hand controlling the elbow
3.) One Hand controlling the wrist
4, 5.) On both toes

Zen Instruction and Practice

Continue to experiment with your sitting posture until you find the right combination. It is seldom that you find it in the first sitting or two.

Again your options:
Skinny round cushion
Fat round cushion
Skinny crescent
Fat crescent
Sitting seiza on a fat round cushion
Sitting seiza on a fat crescent cushion
Sitting seiza on a bench.

Everything is about getting your lower legs and knees to the mat so that there is no strain on the tendons in the groin and that your lower legs are not actually resting on your ankles.

Class Video

Special Thanks To …

Mial, Junji, Rick, Brian, Rich, Lochlin, Simon, Paul R, Crystal, Chris, Lam

Tuesday Evening, November 18th: Ude-nage A, Ikkyo, Shiho-nage

Warm-ups

We now know:
5 wrist stretches
Arm swinging (shoulder warm-ups)
Raising and cutting (vertical balance)
Front and rear (horizontal balance combined with a pivot)
8 way (Aikido stance in any direction)
2 Step turn (turning footwork )

Added
Back Pivot (turning footwork)

Aikido Instruction and Practice

We now know:
Ude-nage A (arm throw, cutting like a sword)
Shiho-nage (4 way throw)

We added:
Ikkyo (1st option)

Ikkyo literally means '1st principle' or '1st lesson', often meaning that it was the first throw that new students were taught. I prefer to think of it as '1st option', meaning that it is the first throw in a throwing 'decision tree.' Decision trees as often used to work through complex problems, where you start with one question and then work your way through various alternatives.

In building a self-defense, martial arts toolbox, it is normal to have one or two reliable throws (throws that will work for the majority of cases) and then study options off of that throw. Ikkyo is one of those throws ... a throw that offers many options in the case where you try it first and then move to some variation.

Zen Instruction and Practice

We have the 3 pillars of zazen:
1.) Solid base (knees on the floor, able to rock side to side, back and forth without tipping)
2.) Elongated torso (holding up the ceiling with the head)
3.) Energized hands and arms (full mudra, forearms rotated forward, elbows held naturally away from the body)

We have a couple checkpoints:
1.) Soft gaze (directed slightly downward to a point on the mat 4 or 5 feet in front of you)
2.) Returning to your breath. (having drifted off into thought, come back to your breath - not controlling, just observing)

Class Video

Special Thanks To …-

Our regular students:
Mial, Ken, Junji, Mark, Rick, Lochlin, Rich, Simon, Rich, Paul V, Paul R, Lam, Brian

A warm welcome to the last of the new students:
Chris

Thursday Evening, November 13th: Ude-nage A, Shiho-nage

Warm-ups

We now know:
5 wrist stretches
Arm swinging (circles and side-to-side)
Raising and cutting (vertical balance)
Front and rear (horizontal balance combined with a pivot)
8 way (Aikido stance in any direction)

Added
2 Step turn

Aikido Instruction and Practice

We now know:
Ude-nage A (arm throw, cutting like a sword)

We added:
Shiho-nage (4 way throw)

Recognize that shiho-nage is quintessential Aikido throw. In every Aikido throw you need two things: 1.) Create a banana (partner is bent forward or backward) 2.) Generate the down direction. By rolling the hand and wrist, we can create enough stress to where our partner will bend backward to alleviate it. The down direction is then very natural.

Note: Instead of creating a direction straight down, we often extend a shiho-nage out a bit to make it easier on our partner to roll. Also, for safety, only throw when you partner's wrist is close to his/her shoulder.

Zen Instruction and Practice

We now have the 3 pillars of zazen:
1.) Solid base
2.) Elongated torso
3.) Energized hands and arms (full mudra, forearms rotated forward, elbows held naturally away from the body.

We added:
1.) Soft gaze directed slightly downward to a point on the mat 4 or 5 feet in front of you. (Each mat is 3 feet wide.)
2.) Returning to your breath. Anytime you catch yourself having drifted off into thought, come back to your breath. Not controlling, just observing. Is it an inhale or exhale? Is it a long breath or short breath? Is it deep of shallow?

Special Thanks To …

From our regular crew:
Mial, Ken, Junji, Mark, Rick, Paul M, Brian, Lochlin, Simon, Rich, Paul V, Lam and Crystal

Just starting tonight (a warm welcome):
Noah

And observing:
Chris

Tuesday Evening, November 11th: Ude-nage A (Arm Throw, Cutting Like a Sword)

Warm-ups

The first day of the new session, covered the following:
  • Rolling back and forth (and standing)
  • 5 wrist stretches
  • Raising and cutting

Aikido Instruction and Practice

Learned and practiced our first throw ... Ude-nage A (Arm Throw, Cutting Like a Sword)

Zen Instruction and Practice

Creating a stable base, an elongated torso and an energized middle (mudra, forearms and elbows)

Sat zazen for 5 minutes

Special Thanks To …

Our returning students:
Mial, Ken, Dale, Junji, Rick, Paul M, Lochlin, Paul V, Paul R, Simon, Rich

And our new students:
Lam, Crystal, Mark and Brian

Monday Noon, November 10th: Ude-nage A (Arm Throw, Cutting Like a Sword)

Warm-ups

The first day of the new session, covered the following:

  • Rolling back and forth (and standing)
  • 5 wrist stretches

Aikido Instruction and Practice

Very few martial arts and self-defense situations start with punching and kicking. Grabbing a victim's jacket or shirt near the shoulder is often the first move to intimidate, punch, kick or choke. In the first class, we learned and practiced the actual attack of grabbing the shoulder and the first, most natural response.

Learned and practiced our first throw ... Ude-nage A (Arm Throw, Cutting Like a Sword)

Zen Instruction and Practice

Experimented with creating a stable base, an elongated torso and an energized middle

Special Thanks To …

Satya, Harriet, Fernando

Thursday Evening, November 6th: Final Class Demos

Final Class Demonstrations

Congratulations to:

  • Paul V
  • Paul R
  • Simon
  • Cecil
  • Rich
  • Lochlin
  • Rick
  • Paul M
  • Ken
  • Dale
  • Mial

Tuesday Evening, October 7th: Free Practice

Warm-ups

Introduced rolling 'flat' in preparation for breakfalls.

Aikido Instruction and Practice

Free practice
We have one week of free practice as a natural transition into our 3 weeks of randori (free style attacks). Free practice is a collaborative training session, with small groups (3 or 4 students) that get together, agree on a few techniques to practice, and the try to maximize the number of throws.

In any self-defense situation, you must feel free to do what techniques make sense at the time. There will be no one there to help you. In randori, again, you must feel free to do what techniques seem right at the time. Again, there will be no one there to tell you which throw to make. So, free practice is the start of taking responsibility for your training, taking responsibility for maximizing your practice time, getting the most throws that you want to practice.

Zen Instruction and Practice

3 Bells, 20 minutes zazen, 1 Bell - Timekeeper: Lochlin

Special thanks to …

Ken, Paul M, Rick, Simon, Lochlin, Rich, Paul V, Paul R and Cecil

Monday Noon, October 6th: Free Practice – Irimi-nage, Sayu-nage

Warm-ups

Started with the last skill - breakfalls (always onto a soft mat). Learning breakfalls is very important in the Both Hands Clapping curriculum.

First, it teaches you to relax, relax, relax.

Second, it is a vital throwing skill should you go to an Aikido seminar and your partner wants to do breakfalls. You should know how to throw him / her safely.

Last it is a handy 'life' skill. Invariably, outside the dojo, we will take a tumble, and it's nice to some instincts on landing safely. (You can't always roll out of every fall.)

Aikido Instruction and Practice

Week 9 is always an independent practice in groups of 3 or 4. In preparation for weeks 10, 11 and 12 which is freestyle practice (randori), students get to focus on some of the techniques that they may have questions about.

Irrespective of what some Aikido instructors may want you to believe, Aikido is something you must teach yourself, something that you have to take personal responsibility. No one has the same combination of height, weight, strength, flexibility and life experience as you. Here is your chance to figure a few things out.

In a self-defense, martial art situation there will be no one to turn to. From the very beginning of your training at BHC, you will be required to take care of things for yourself.

Zen Practice and Instruction

3 Bells, 20 minutes zazen, 1 Bell - Timekeeper: Jim

Special thanks to …

Casey

Thursday Evening, October 2nd: Review Kote-kaeshi, Nikyo

Warm-ups

Warm-up instruction is complete, rolling instruction is complete.

Aikido Instruction and Practice

In any 13 week session, we can only cover a few variations on any given technique. So for certain attacks we will focus on one variation, for another attack we may focus on a different variation. It will then be up to you to mix and match variations as your skill level grows, as your experience increases. Ultimately, in an self-defense martial arts encounter, there are no rules. But it is up to you to come to this realization about Aikido techniques.

Two common variations might be thought of as 'front side' and 'back side'. We showed a back side variation for ikkyo in this class

Kote-kaeshi (wrist turnout)
Don't forget that the footwork for the throw is identical to irimi-nage. That is why they are considered sister techniques. Remember to control the elbow as your partner is headed toward the ground.

Ikkyo (1st option)
We have been practicing the 'car crash' version of this technique. Realize that it is only when you become perfectly comfortable with close quarters, bumping and turning that you can fully appreciate what it means to evade your partner completely.

Zen Instruction and Practice

3 Bells, 20 minutes zazen, 1 Bell - Timekeeper: Ken

You all know the one constant of Aikido - relax! But what does it mean to relax. In Aikido, we are asked to relax in the midst of moving and throwing. What does that mean? Through zazen you should really investigate relaxation. When you understand relaxation - when relaxation is in your bones, then Aikido becomes trivial.

Special thanks to …

Paul R, Mial, Dale, Ken, Simon, Rich, Cecil, Rick