There are currently openings for Adult and Children students. Interested candidates are invited to observe a class. The dojo is co-located with the Toledo Zen Center at 6537 Angola Road Holland, OH 43558

Aikido is a non-competitive martial art that can be practiced by almost anyone. Aikido techniques do not rely on physical strength but rather develops relaxed power through the focus of intention and Ki. The result is a creative method of non-destructive conflict resolution.

Aikido is practiced on many levels. The first level is includes the development of stamina, flexibility, and learning how to focus one's intention. The second level is built on the first and stresses self-defense techniques that teach the natural order of movement. In this process the students also become adept at ukemi, the art of rolling, falling and protecting oneself. Aikido provides the opportunity for the development of the entire person. It is a workout of the entire body and mind and results in increased strength, overall physically fitness, flexibility and centeredness.

At the third level students are gradually introduced to the secrets of receiving and harnessing the power of ki, they also develop spatial awareness and learn to judge proper timing and distance. During this training the goal is to establish and maintain an energetic connection to your partner and to lead them off balance. This eliminates the need for more destructive means of resolving situations.

The highest level of aikido is mind over matter. This involves the use of visualization techniques, the power of intention and ki, breath control and meditation. Aikido is truly a spiritual martial art that explores themind - body - spirit connection. This advanced level of training at Shobu Aikido reaches a level not easily found elsewhere. The student learns how to manifest power and effectiveness by the focusing of intention alone. This level depends on and can only be reached through the refinement of technique and the students own deepest feeling. For this reason it alternates between the physical and the spiritual.

In the process of practicing aikido, students inevitably find themselves less stressed and more energetic, better equipped to manage life's many conflicts with calm control. Aikido is great for adults and kids alike because practice encourages respect for self and others, self control, cooperation and responsibility.

Gasshuku or weekend long intensive seminars with William Gleason Sensei are available seasonally.

Children's aikido classes provide a friendly, non-competitive environment for students to become more physically fit, agile, flexible, aware, focused, and relaxed. They learn how to safely fall, roll and perform a variety of self-defense techniques in a supportive, comfortable setting, and parents like Aikido because kids learn how to be powerful without becoming destructive.

Musubi and Kokyu Tanden Ho

From The Principles of Aikido by Mitsugi Saotome Shihan:

"Aikido is the study of wisdom. If you cannot control and trust yourself - if you cannot see yourself clearly - you will never have any knowledge or trust of others and you certainly will not be able to conrol them. The purpose of Aikido training is not to create aggressive fighters but to refine wisdom and self-control. As a student of Aikido, you must study to improve and polish yourself, not to compete with others.

"The key to this process - and the heart of Aikido - is musubi. This word translates loosely into English as 'unity,' or 'harmonious interaction.' In practice, musubi means the ability to blend, both physically and mentally, with the movement and energy of your partner. Musubi is the study of good communication. In any interaction between people, communication exists, whether acknowledged or not. It is up to the participants in the interaction to determine whether the communication will be productive or useless, friendly or hostile, true or inaccurate. Musubi, as it is refined, can mean the ability to control and alter interaction, changing a hostile approach to a healthy encounter or an attack into a handshake.

"Musubi is both a method of learning and the goal of study. Musubi, in its ultimate refinement, relates to the achievement of a sense of universal harmony and, in technique, the ability to control encounters for the good. But can such ability be achieved by forcing, coercing, or frightening a person into learning it? No. Musubi must be taught and studied according to the principles it exemplifies so that the Aikido student's consciousness may be refined along with his physical movement. Musubi must be taught through good interaction and firm but kindly guidance.

"Learning to respond to attacks with musubi is a long and difficult process. One cannot strike at a beginner and tell him, 'Don't fight! Blend! Blend!' The beginner will not blend but react with fear and aggression, the instinctive reactions to threat. The beginner will attempt to defend him- or herself by struggling or by hurting the attacker.

"In Aikido the goal is to tame and control these animal instincts, not stimulate them. This is why, especially for beginners, we often use various kinds of grabs as attacks. The beginning student is not equipped to deal with real attacks - like strikes or kicks - with either mental calm or proper physical movement. Grabs allow the beginner to study techniques without fear for physical safety's interfering with learning the correct responses. Instead of engaging in struggle and competition, the student polishes both movement and mind. The student studies control - of him- or herself, of the partner, and of the relationship between them. Grabs have the advantage of providing a physical contact between practice partners so that both may be able to feel what makes a movement work. If there is no physical contact, beginning students will find it hard to explore the mechanics of technique.

"Practice for beginners may often start with static grabs. These allow the study of correct posture, footwork, and body position. Students may then progress to moving grabs, which allow the development of a sense of timing and distance and the exploration of the spatial relationships between them and their partners. Students can begin learning to adjust to various degrees and kinds of force, speed, and direction. They can start to build confidence in their ability to communicate with their partners, to build up their intuitive senses of their partners' movements and intents.

"Cooperation is very important in Aikido training. Almost all practice is done with a partner, and the relationship between partners must be a manifestation of musubi. Both nage and uke bear this responsibility. While nage must train to blend with, rather than struggle against, attacks, uke must learn to attack in a way that is appropriate to the technique being studied and to provide the proper conditions for learning. In a simple example, if the teacher has demonstrated a technique involving a forward throw, it is appropriate for uke to push forward. If instead uke pulls backward, attempting to thwart nage's technique, this will only reduce practice to a struggle and neither student will learn how the technique works. Advanced students can benefit from unexpected attacks, free practice, and attempts at reversals, but this is after years of studying basic techniques and learning what conditions require what actions."

Later on, Saotome Sensei relates the concept of Musubi to Kokyu Tanden Ho, one of the most fundamental techniques in Aikido and a featured technique in the 6th Kyu test.

"...Another important feature of musubi is operating in your encounter on that crowded street. As you meet the pedestrian who is walking toward you, your reactions reflect and respond to the other person's, rather than conflicting with them. The conjunction of you and the other pedestrian represents a continuous and smooth flow of energy, a give and take of force and direction. This is another - and perhaps the most important - element of musubi, namely, learning to feel and use the unity of energy.

"This is why kokyu tanden ho, as O Sensei said, is the most fundamental training in musubi. Kokyu tanden ho is not a fighting technique at all but a study in physical relationship and movement. In this exercise, two partners sit opposite each other in seiza, with uke grabbing nage. Nage, using the whole body as a coordinated unit, attempts to unbalance uke. The purpose of kokyu tanden ho is to discover the principle of circular energy. As uke firmly grasps nage's wrists and provides resistance, nage receives the energy that uke gives him and returns it through uke's center of balance. All parts of nage must act in unity. Nage must meet uke's grab extended, with his arms acting like a spring, so that he can recoil and again extend. He must breathe in as uke grabs and breathe out as he returns uke's force. His mind must remain flexible and receptive.

"Kokyu tanden ho is a noncompetitive exercise, not a contest of strength. Uke provides enough resistance to challenge nage but not so much as to make execution of the technique impossible. Nage does not struggle to throw uke but uses this training to study balance, breathing, and unity of physical and mental energy. However, as your training advances, you will find that your partner's physical strength can work to your advantage. Because kokyu tanden ho works on the principle of musubi, on absorbing and returning energy, the effect is that uke and nage
combine energies. Nage has the use of both his own and uke's strength. The more uke resists and uses his strength, the greater the tool that nage has at his disposal. This circularity of energy is the essence of musubi.

"You should apply the principles of musubi that you learn through practicing kokyu tanden ho to all your Aikido techniques. It is musubi that will allow you to reach the point where physical size and strength make no difference in your ability to execute technique. If you fail to grasp the principles of musubi and to put them into practice, you will always be at the mercy of the strength of others and will always be in danger of reverting to competitive struggle."

I hope this excerpt sheds some light on the mystery surrounding Kokyu Tanden Ho and clears some of the confusion and misconceptions regarding our practice, the way we practice, and the art of Aikido in general. The Principles of Aikido is one of several well written books featured in our dojo store ( So please check it out, and I'll see you all on the mat. Gassho.

-Andre ("Muketsu")

Okugyo Keiko With Jay Sensei 11/07

This is a compilation of Jay Senseis Keiko held at the Shobu Okugyo retreat in Vermont with Bill Gleason Sensei in November of 07. Often, Bill Sensei leads the morning class, and Jay Sensei leads the afternoon class to help us digest and retain what Bill Sensei presented that morning. Enjoy!

Jay Chikyo Weik Sense at shobu aikido of ohio


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