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.
we're having a shobu photo contest to see who was the coolest. anyone interested in participating should either loan us or email a photo (firstname.lastname@example.org) of you from back in the day. we'll be collecting them until august 15th. special prize to be announced. thanks to andre for loaning us the one of him above.
Several months ago I began to write a journal on my computer after every Aikido class to just help me to recall what took place in class and reflect. From time to time I would like to share my reflections with everyone and my thoughts are certainly open for discussion as it will help me to distill my experiences in Aikido. This is the first time I have ever done anything like this so here we go.
I am down in NC right now visiting my folks and conducting some concerts with student orchestras. I always find it refreshing to work with youth because they are so open and free. This element of freedom is something that I struggle with in Aikido. Before I left Toledo on my travels we had an advanced Aikido class that was very intense. Sensei kept saying to me “You need to be willing to die” another words (I hope) that I need to let go. It is hard to find that line. I invariably, would “try harder” but that is not the solution.
The other common thread that came out of the class was that I need to connect better to my partner’s hara and center. I disengage too soon. There were different feelings that were happening that I didn’t know how to stay connected. But that connection point is critical in order for me to stay safe.
It was a hard class because everyone was so skilled at Aikido. There was a certain amount of frustration that was building up for me during the class. I wasn’t “Getting It” but do we ever really get it. This is the path and not a destination.
I have just returned home from a wonderful trip to the ASU Weapons Camp in DC followed by a vacation with my beautiful wife to the serene landscape of Hocking Hills. The travels were full of great study, relaxation and contemplation. Taisho and I had a blast at the camp and learned so much from all of the generous instruction. My ki was so charged after the intense camp (about 41 hours of study) that I had to take the opportunity to try O Sensei's cold water misogi practice during several days of the vacation that followed. I recommend it. See you on the mat. Danny
"What does it mean to be mindful of the body? This is always the entry gate.... Breath is part of the body awareness, cultivating the practice of being awake to this one breath. In many, many lineages of Buddhist practice, not just Zen, the beginning thing you do is sit down and work with the breath. It's no small thing to be able to actually, completely embody that breath... to just completely, fully, be awake and aware and alive to that breath."
Download the Drinking Gourd Podcast on Itunes or Here.
In this talk, I ended up talking about being centered and keeping one point.
"The pure nature exists in the midst of delusions. With correct practice alone, remove the obstacles. If people in this world practice the Way, there is nothing whatsoever to hinder them. If they always make clear the guilt within themselves, then they will accord with the Way." —Hui Neng
The Drinking Gourd Podcast available here or via Itunes.
I am pleased to introduce some new classes into our weekly training schedule:
Gentle Aikido - For those who are at or near retirement age, this class meets every Monday and Friday from 5pm to 6pm.
Advanced Aikido - For Ikkyu and above, this class meets every 3rd monday of the month from 7:15pm to 8:30pm.
Morning Zen Meditation - This newly added Toledo Zen Center practice is each Saturday morning from 8AM to 8:50 AM. It is open to any Toledo Zen Center or Shobu Aikido Dojo member who has learned the practice of Zen meditation at one of the Toledo Zen Center Wednesday evening practices at 7:15PM to 9:15PM. The hoped for $5.00 free will offering to the Zen Center will go into the 'new Zafu fund!'
Misogi (Purification) Keiko - This Saturday Morning class will focus on Kototama chanting, Ki breathing exercises and centering practices. It is open to all Shobu Aikido Dojo and Toledo Zen Center members, and meets from 9AM to 9:45AM.
Sensei helped us to see that when we released our breath completely (in the exercises we we were working on) our conditioning wants us to immediately inhale as much air as we can as fast as we can. So we were instructed to take our time with this experience and inhale while keeping the breath smooth and controlled. We began to research this practice just as we would with any of the techniques we practice on the mat, keeping our mind in our center and maintaining verticality with the relationship between the "third eye" and the "one point". When we took our practice to the mat and applied it in our Ikkyo technique, my experience was unlike any I've had up until now. I was ACTUALLY having an experience of receiving Uke's attack into my center with the breath, my body was moving harmoniously while staying vertical, I could feel Uke's weight in my center as I moved, and I was beginning to understand the space around me.
All in all, I feel Sensei was maintaining his transmission of what Aikido is truly about in "feeling" rather than letting us get tripped up by intellectual conceptions. I am very grateful for my experience and encourage those people who didn't make it to ask Sensei about the breathing exercises, they are helpful. In fact, I am going to go practice right now.
The 6:30am Morning classes are on 'pause' as well. If there is enough interest we will resume them in the fall.
We are looking into adding a 'Seniors Keiko' for our students who have crossed the 50 year old mark, look for updates on this soon. Possible times are Monday at 5pm or perhaps friday either in the late morning or at 5pm. If you have input on this, please leave a comment below.
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