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Had our first Aikido in the park today on Meetup.com! I was so happy to see everyone that came out to train! Made some new friends and trained with some old. All in all an amazing turn out and time! I am looking forward to our next!

Every one moved well and trained safely! Always remembering that your partner is lending his or her body to you in trust so that you can learn and excel in your art, should always be front of mind. they treated each other with the same level of respect and care as they would for themselves; and they all did that naturally! We had a good bunch show up to train!

We had a nice blend of Aikidoka with different back rounds form; prior Aikido, Judo, Go Ju Ryu, and Krav Maga. this was nice to see! I’ll be using and building upon what they all bring to the table and integrate it with what we do in our Aikido.

We covered a lot of ground and hit many of the key and important points in Aikido from the Aiki Taiso (exercises); Funekogi Undo, Ikkyo Undo, Zengo Undo, and Sayo Undo to Kamae (stances), both Hidari Hanmi (left) and Migi Hanmi (right) to to some advanced concepts in actual engagement of techniques! We learned to hold a bokken properly and to move off the line of attack and capture center. We also learned the two most important moves in Aikido Irimi, entering and Tenkan, yielding, even a combo of Irimi Tenkan! I threw in Shomenuchi Iriminage for their first technique. We even got the chance to do the first Bokken Awase (matched movement sword practice). Much was covered in that short hour and I made sure to instill that NOTHING happens in Aikido without first capturing Kuzushi (balance) and to keep in mind the mantra instilled in me by my late teacher Peter Tamagni Shihan, ” Slow is smooth, smooth is fast” OSSU!

If there is one thing Sensei has taught us it is kuzushi, the initial taking of balance. It is a living mantra here at Vineland Aikikai. Everything begins with kuzushi, no technique can be easily performed without it. You ‘ll know if and when you capture it and when you don’t, you’ll feel it and you’ll either be muscling through a technique or it will seem effortless.

Sensei provided a great analogy in class that is well worth repeating and writing about. Sensei related the body to a window, much like the one you and I have in our homes. Like the quote in the beginning says, if you were to affect the top part of the body, you’d create an unbalancing in the bottom. If you looked at the body like a window, if you were to affect the bottom, you’d raise the window up.

Every window has a locking mechanism that is located across the center of the window; much like your own body, you have a center balancing point that you can unlock and capture balance. What you do with that balance is up to you if you chose to open up or open down. Windows, don’t just open, they close too, so the same strategy can be employed. When to first begin to take balance, you open the lock and whether you are affecting the top window or the bottom one, you must remember that once you capture balance, you own it, it is yours, and you must never give it back.

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