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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!

At the beginning of every class we warm up with stretching, wrist flexibility exercises and movement exercises. These movement exercises are known as the Aiki Taiso or Aiki Exercises. There are 12 Aiki Taiso exercises and each can be found within the Aikido techniques that we practice. One of these exercises is Tai No Henko.

Tai No Henko is done by stepping forward and then doing tenkan on that foot, at the end of the tenkan turn extend your hands forward with palms facing up. How does this stance relate to Aikido techniques? Let’s look at the body position. At the end of Tai No Henko, you are in hanmi, weight down and equal on both legs, the upper body with a slight forward lean and arms extended forward. If you maintain that same position and turn your palms over you are in the stance used for ikkyo after the initial cut down of uke. So for example Shomenuchi Ikkyo Omote. Uke begins to swing shomenuchi, nage blends in and slightly off the line while blending with the raising of uke’s arm. Keeping the forward hand connected to the wrist and the rear hand grabbing the elbow; turn the hips sharply away from uke while cutting down keeping your hands away from your body with good extension. Now stop, turn your hands over so your palms are facing up. What position are you in?

Let’s look at swinging the bokken with first suburi. Start in right hanmi, hands rolled over on top of the sword. Raise the sword up and back while bringing the front foot back, keep the weight down and extend the left arm fully up with elbows in. Back foot stays in the position it started. Step forward with the front foot bringing the sword down, keeping the elbows in as if you are trying to roll them together finishing the cut. Now stop, remove the bokken from your hands and unroll them so that your hands are over and your palms are facing up. What position are you in?

As we perform Tai No Henko, it is not just an exercise to warm the body and practice tenkan movements. This exercise plays an important part in the Aikido techniques we work on each class.

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