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, 401-500


December 10, 2019 - class 401 with Roderick Johnson - 2 students. We practiced Shomenuchi Ikkyo Omote and Ura, Shomenuchi Iriminage, and Katatetori Shihonage Omote and Ura. Sadly, today was a one step back day as I kept moving wrong and got hit in my jaw - lower canine piercing into the inside flesh of my cheek and drawing blood - by a hard Iriminage from a new student. I felt she was performing each technique extra hard and extra fast to impress Sensei, similar to how I was when I was training for my 5th kyu.

December 16, 2019 - class 402 with Roderick Johnson - 2 students. We practiced Hanmi Handachi Ushiro Tekubitori Kotegaeshi/Kokyunage/Shihonage and tanto techniques with a backslash and Tsuki Soto (under the arm, rib hit) Kotegaeshi/Shihonage/Shihonage. Sensei said we did well today.

December 17, 2019 - class 403 with Roderick Johnson - 3 students. We practiced all 5th kyu techniques for Jasmine's upcoming test. I practiced with Ed and he showed me ways to deal with taller attackers, praising me when my movements were correct against him. My latest aikido injury is a big purple bruise on the back of my right hand. It was a little bruise yesterday, but was severely aggravated today from all the Shihonage and Kotegaeshi practice. Now I have a bruise that matches the color of my hair.

December 23, 2019 - class 404 with Roderick Johnson - 8 students. We practiced Katamenuchi Ikkyo, Nikyo, Sankyo, Iriminage, Shihonage, Kotegaeshi, Udekeminage, and more. Franco practiced his 3rd kyu exam with Asamina and I as ukes. We had a Jihon Waza at the end, but I wasn't so good in that. There still appears to be a disconnect between what I want to do and what I end up doing. I spoke with Sensei at the end about my performance and he suggested I practice my movements by myself as he had found success in doing so.

December 28, 2019 - class 405 with Roderick Johnson - 9 students. I watched as the students practiced Shomenuchi Sankyo Ura, Ushiro Ryokatotori Sankyo, and Ushiro Ryokatotori Jihon Waza. Frustrated with my own recent performance, I wanted to sit back and watch the techniques from a different perspective. At the end of class, Franco practiced his 3rd kyu exam.

December 30, 2019 - class 406 with Roderick Johnson - 2 students. We practiced Shomenuchi Ikkyo and Yokomenuchi Shihonage. Even though these are low level techniques, I kept getting corrected. At the end of class, I told Sensei, "I don't know why I keep messing up. It's like my feet never go in the right place." "It's not that you're messing up," he said. "Your techniques are fine for 5th or 4th kyu, but when you're approaching black belt level, all of these little mistakes need to be corrected." Ed said this to me at one time, that our 5th kyu techniques are going to look different at higher levels.

January 6, 2019 - class 407 with Roderick Johnson - 4 students. We practiced Tsuki Ikkyo Ura, Tsuki Kokyuho, Tsuki tenkan Kokyunage, and Tsuki Iriminage. I practiced a little ukemi in between classes.

January 13, 2019 - class 408 with Roderick Johnson - 6 students. We practiced Ushiro Kubishme Kaitenage, Ikkyo, Nikkyo, Sankyo, Udekeminage, Kotegaeshi, Shihonage, and Iriminage. I did make some progress during practice, but my two Jihon Waza attempts weren't very good. Keith always likes to practice hard and I really feel it in his Iriminages and Sankyos. I left the dojo in a daze from a bad tweak in my neck. My friend Chris W told me it might be wise to minimize any aikido injuries before the asana championship. I agree.

My aikido journey: classes 1-100, 101-200, 201-300, 301-400, 401-500

All images and work herein © 2007-2020 Clare Din. No reproduction without permission. All rights reserved.