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.
Good images of gravity and motion, but its best leave the sound off...
We will be meeting at the dojo Saturday morning at 8am to drive to Oberlin College to train with Bill Gleason Sensei, and everyone is welcome to join in.
The last time Gleason Sensei visited Ohio was at our own very successful Gasshuku back in March. This weekend he returns to the Buckeye State for the gasshuku in Oberlin College. According to Jay Sensei, the dojo will be closed during that weekend so that everybody can have the chance to travel to Oberin and study under Gleason Sensei. Afterwards, both Gleason Sensei and Jay Sensei will be leading another edition of the Okugyo retreats from Nov. 12-16 in Vermont. Gassho.
"When I finally got to see a full-out Zen monastery, I was hooked. It really helped me by providing a specific way of working on this, and working with this whole contemplative intelligence, that I couldn't find in the Western approach."
All of you that I have been able to oversee have shown a terrific effort in preparation for this weekend and I encourage you to prepare right up to the last. Once the time for study has passed and your test time is upon you, it is essential to keep a clear mind, unclouded by judgements about how you are doing. If something doesn't go the way you expect or you make a mistake, don't allow it to show. Just let the thought pass and bring your mind back to your center. This is essential to maintain the martial spirit that will energize and guide you through the experience. I'll see you Saturday, Danny
"First, it was shirtless pics of a ripped Vladimir Putin fishing peacefully. Then, stories emerged of Putin reportedly saving a Russian film crew from certain death by shooting a vicious tiger with a tranquilizer dart. And now this — a judo training video in which Putin flips a guy every which way but loose. If it wasn't official before, it is now: Vladimir Putin is unstoppable."
(For link to entire article, click on above title.)
Lately, my personal practice has really focused on entering with my hips, while at the same time trying to maintain my verticality. This helps. Additionally, I personally have noticed that in the past when I added strength training to supplement my aikido, it didn't help me understand my ki body and its expression in the techniques. Since I hurt my shoulder (for those of you who don't know my name, I'm the guy with the yellow tape on his right shoulder), I have not been doing any extra strength training, and my personal feeling has really changed. I don't rely on muscling through the techniques, er... hopefully not muscling. I don't feel as cumbersome on the mat and this helps my aikido.
I have been on the road with a fabulous chamber orchestra. One week to go. How do you get to Carnegie Hall, practice, practice, practice! We have been practicing and performing and we will be performing in Carnegie Hall on Tuesday which will be exciting. We just arrived in NYC and heard some Zen Humor that I wanted to share.
What did the Zen Master say to the hotdog vendor?
Make me one with everything!
Just wanted to share. Hope to be back on the mat soon. Practice hard and look forward to seeing y'all soon.
Peace to all,
"My Mind is like the Autumn moon
shining clean and clear in the green pool.
No, thats not a good comparison.
Tell me, how shall I explain?"
Please join the Toledo Zen Center for our monthly retreat day this sunday. We will sit zazen from 9am to noon and then look together at the teachings of Han-Shan from 1:30 to 4:30pm. Everyone is welcome to join us for all or any part of the day.
This one shows training on a hardwood floor at (what I'm guessing is) his private dojo where Gleason Sensei used to train.
I've been going through old tablets full of notes from gasshukus, okugyos, mondos, etc. and I notice that my training has been less about adding new things and more about constantly re-examining the basics. A new student enamored by the mystery and wonder of this graceful and dynamic art can easily overlook the essence of the technique in pursuit of something fancier or more complicated. Meanwhile, a master will be fully aware of the simplest of details: the quality of the breath, the position of one's foot, the stillness of the mind... the elements of one's being, not so much doing.
We are in the new season of our training in preparation for test time. Whether we are being formally tested or not, we are all called upon to "check our work" and look more closely at ourselves and our practice so that the art may continue to grow and flourish through our mindful pursuit.
Sensei spoke tonight about the importance of keeping a journal of one's practice, to help with monitoring and increasing one's cognitive/conceptual framework of what we are doing. I know I haven't been keeping one and really need to do so. Seemingly in recent weeks, where I feel my technique is getting better and then at the same sucking to the point where I feel I haven't the faintest idea what the heck I am doing, this would've certainly helped. I try to practice very earnestly and come to class with great frequency, not be negatively critical of what I am doing, and just grow in practice. But this is seemingly not enough. As more and more layers unfold, clarity and refinement are crucial and the way I have been practicing needs to change. I believe that keeping a journal will help that, help me to remember what I need to remember until I can drop the remembering (which probably won't be for another couple dozen or so years.- Andy
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