Aikido is a Japanese martial art founded by Morehei Ueshiba ("O Sensei"). Its roots stem from the brutal art of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. As with all Aikido techniques, we blend with our partner's energy and redirect that combined energy in a circular motion around our center. There is great emphasis devoted to learning how to roll and fall properly and an even greater emphasis on feeling the effects of techniques through repetitive practice. In a typical class, you will practice Aikido techniques with random partners over a hundred times. You will fall and roll at least that many times. Every roll or fall toughens your body to the point that you will eventually be able to roll or fall on almost any surface. Every bruise is a badge of honor. Every step towards progress is a victory. The beginning techniques are very simple and demonstrate basic movements. As you progress up the ranks, you will work on more sophisticated techniques, some combining more than one technique or giving you choices to deal with any situation. You will have many questions about Aikido and you will discover that the more you learn, the more questions you will have.

My Aikido journey: classes 1-100, 101-200, 201-300, 301-400


May 7, 2018 - classes 301 and 302 with Roderick Johnson - 7 students. We practiced Suwari Waza Yokomenuchi Kotegaeshi Ura, Yokomenuchi Kotegaeshi Ura, Yokomenuchi Kotegaeshi Ura with a tanto, and Yokomenuchi grab under wrist, spin uke around, atemi to the face, atemi to the ribs Sankyo with a tanto. In the black belt class, we practiced Yokomenuchi Udekeminage, Yokomenuchi Kaiten Shihonage, Yokomenuchi Kaiten Udekeminage, and Yokomenuchi Kaiten Kokyunage wrap around Ikkyo (an "Irv Faust special"). I have a theory that the reason why I'm getting all the bruises I have on my hands and wrists after an Aikido class is because I'm resisting strongly and that causes blood restriction at the point of contact.

May 14, 2018 - classes 303 with Roderick Johnson - 9 students. We practiced Kosadori Kotegaeshi, Ushiro Tekubitori Kotegaeshi, Ushiro Tekubitori Ikkyo Nikyo Omote (Ikkyo up and step back to bring uke's arms above and in front of you), Ushiro Tekubitori Ikkyo Nikkyo Sankyo, Ushiro Tekubitori Ikkyo Nikyo Sankyo Iriminage, and Morotetori Kotegaeshi.

May 15, 2018 - classes 304 with Ken Harris - 5 students. We practiced Tai No Henko, Katatetori Ikkyo, Katetori tenkan Shihonage, Katatetori tenkan Shihonage Iriminage, Morotetori Kotegaeshi, Morotetori Iriminage, and Kokyudosa.

May 21, 2018 - classes 305 with Roderick Johnson - 10 students. We practiced Suwari Waza Katatetori Shihonage Ura, Katatetori Shihonage Ura and Omote with and without a jo, and Katatetori Kokyunage with a jo. Rather than turn and circle the hand inward, we were taught to sink the hand down with a tenkan to break uke's balance. I practiced the final jo variation with the two daredevils in the dojo, Keith and John.

May 26, 2018 - classes 306 with Roderick Johnson - 13 students. We practiced Suwari Waza Shomenuchi Ikkyo Omote (Carlton), Shomenuchi Sankyo Omote, Tsuki Kotegaeshi Omote (Ed, Garland), and Tsuki Iriminage 3 ways (John). I have to keep uke's head pinned to my shoulder when I move him.

May 29, 2018 - classes 307 with Roderick Johnson - 9 students. We practiced Katatetori Iriminage, Ryotetori Tenchinage Omote and Ura, Morotetori Kokyuho, and Morotetori Ikkyo Ura (Ed). I practiced pretty intensely the past few classes, which resulted in the elbow bruises you see here. There is a third bruise on the other side of my elbow.

June 4, 2018 - classes 308 and 309 with Roderick Johnson - 8 students. We practiced Shomenuchi Nikyo Omote, Yokomenuchi Kotegaeshi Omote, and reversal techniques on a Yokomenuchi Kotegaeshi attack that led to Iriminage, Kokyuho, Kotegaeshi, Shihonage, and more. In the advanced class, we continued our practice of reversals on Yokomenuchi Kotegaeshi.

June 5, 2018 - classes 310 with Roderick Johnson - 8 students. We practiced Ushiro Tekubitori Kotegaeshi, Ushiro Ryokakatori Kotegaeshi, and Katatetori reverse Kotegaeshi. Ramla was my practice partner for all of these techniques.

June 9, 2018 - classes 311 and 312 with John Holt and Roderick Johnson - 11 students. My kids earned their orange belts today. Jim and I sat with their teacher, John, as we watched the four kids test for their next rank. Matthew was a little superstar demonstrating the subtle nuances of various techniques. He even showed the six-step jo sequence! Brandon showed confidence and form that had been missing in his recent classes. I recently studied a yoga hand gesture that had two names for it, one signifying a kind, considerate approach and the other a fiery, powerful approach. Both approaches led to the same result: releasing negativity. My kids are like this yoga hand gesture. Each kid uses a different approach to achieve the same result. In my class, we practiced Kosadori Iriminage and Katatetori Kotegaeshi Ura. John encouraged Brandon to join the adult class to learn some techniques.

June 11, 2018 - classes 313 with Roderick Johnson - 9 students. We practiced Katatetori Tenkan palm to the face, elbow to the ribs Kaitenage Omote and Katatetori tenkan palm to the face, elbow to the ribs Nikkyo Ura.

June 12, 2018 - classes 314 with Roderick Johnson - 5 students. We practiced Yokomenuchi Gokyo Ura, Yokomenuchi Shihonage Omote, and Yokomenuchi Gokyo Ura to Sankyo. After class, Ken2 practiced his Yokomenuchi techniques in a Jihon Waza practice.

June 19, 2018 - observed class 23 with Roderick Johnson - 3 students. I watched as the students practiced Katatetori Ikkyo Omote and Ura.

June 23, 2018 - observed class 24 with Roderick Johnson - 8 students. I watched as the students practiced Morotetori Ikkyo Omote and Ura and Shomenuchi Iriminage. Mark and Michelle practiced their 5th kyu exams and Jim practiced and passed his 4th kyu exam.

June 25, 2018 - observed class 25 with Roderick Johnson - 10 students. I watched as the students practiced Katamenuchi Ikkyo Omote, Katamenuchi Jujinage Omote, Katamenuchi Iriminage, and Katamenuchi Ikkyo to Kokyuho.

June 26, 2018 - observed class 26 with Roderick Johnson - 5 students. I watched as the students practiced Irimi Tenkan Kokyunage, Irimi Tenkan Shihonage Omote and Ura, and Irimi Tenkan Iriminage with bokken. We learned how to enter (irimi) in to disarm a bokken. As you approach your opponent, make a note of how he is holding his sword. Enter on the side where you can grab the bokkken between his hands. Cut the lower wrist and then grab the bokken and turn the hand inward. Get in a good position and throw. You can also enter on the outside for a different throw, but do not enter the wrong side and then irimi tenkan, otherwise you will be cut. The class ended with a spirited Jihon Waza practice.

July 2, 2018 - observed class 27 with Roderick Johnson - 7 students. I watched as the students practiced Katatetori Nikkyo Omote, Shomenuchi Nikyo Ura, and the Nikyo techniques with a bokken. Make sure your body lean is slightly forward when you apply Nikyo. It is safer to be closer to your opponent than farther away when you apply Nikyo. Sadly, I thought I'd be ready to train today, but the doctor said to wait another week if I want my scars to heal properly.

July 7, 2018 - observed class 28 with Roderick Johnson - 10 students. I watched as the students practiced Suwari Waza Katatori Nikyo Ura, Katatori Nikyo Ura, and Katatori Udekeminage Ura.

July 9, 2018 - classes 315 with Roderick Johnson - 8 students. We practiced Katatetori Tenkan Kokyunage, Tsuki Iriminage, and Shomenuchi Kotegaeshi Ura (slip, elbow to the chin).

July 10, 2018 - classes 316 with Roderick Johnson - 8 students. We practiced Shomenuchi Ikkyo Omote, Shomenuchi Sankyo Omote, Suwari Waza Shomenuchi Nikyo Omote, and Suwari Waza Shomenuchi Sankyo Omote.

My Aikido journey: classes 1-100, 101-200, 201-300, 301-400

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