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It’s always a pleasure to introduce someone to Aikido.  It’s not often someone takes that extra step and come onto the mat to train, going from an idea or wish to an actual action.  The eagerness and curiosity that a new student wears is a reminder of how we should continue to approach daily training, like that of a new born, full of wonder and curiosity, of life and vitality, of an empty cup, and an open mind.  I consider it an honor and a privilege to be able to teach; never a burden nor chore.  We emphasized the trust between Uke and Nage, the relationship we have in Aikido, the harmonizing with instead of confronting and fighting.  And of coarse, safety first!  Aikido, though its origins in Daito Ryu and Aikijutsu along with the many other influences O’ Sensei had, is a formidable and deadly ask whose values and moral high ground take precedence over the violence and death the martial art ‘s origins.  We blend, harmonize, cooperate.  We do not fight, do harm, but command and control a situation as we would ourselves.  Self discipline is the best discipline.  Is there any other?  No.  If it were other discipline, it would be a punishment!  Our new student picked up the dojo etiquette that was taught as we went along.  It was a small class, so I was less formal than usual and as was her first encounter with the art, I took the time to explain the history, ideals, manners, and training practices we take for granted.  We began with seiza, bowing in, and went to warm ups.  I explained how there is a martial application to all we do, every action, has meaning and application.  We went on to a few Aiki Taiso; Funakogi undo, Jote undo, and Tai No Henko.  We focused on hanmi, posture, and correct movement.  Start them correctly and introduce key concepts early on I believe.  Some dojo’s are happy there is a body there and heaven forbid they make it a little difficult or push the student some by making them repeat until the correct posture or movement is made.  Will it be perfect, by no means, is it ever?  At any level?  All I have found is a greater degree of polish.  We are all still working on the same things we did on day one when I first put a foot on the mat.  It never changes, the attitude anyway.  Of coarse new things come along and we work on that, but the core attitude remains, distilled down to its essence is that of humility and gratitude.  We then moved on to tsuki into a kotegaeshi, showing movement of line, and incorporating Tai No Henko.  Naturally we worked on ukemi as that is paramount to any progress or future learning!  A bow and a sit out to a back roll, not bad, not bad at all.  I find that it’s all in the mind, that initial fear, that throwing yourself when you are always upright that needs to be let go.  It is said that walking is a constant stay of falling, if we look at it that way, taking ukemi would be it’s natural end or state of rest/peace!  We closed the class with a short review and demonstrations of other techniques in a more spirited fashion with a more experienced student to show that thought we took things slow and smooth, it can also be smooth and fast!  Something ot look forward and aspire to.  A few wow’s and smiles made the evening! We bowed out with a bell, centered, and at peace. Grateful for our new student. Ossu!

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