Bell Misogi – Winter retreat 2011
Kumijo Winter retreat 2012
Pre dinner fireside Winter retreat 2013
An open invitation to our 4th Winter retreat. Winter retreat is just a few short weeks away. This year we will have both Andrew Sunter and Jim Nicholls Sensei as guest Instructors. This years retreat will examine the purpose behind Kata, weapons training and the meditation disciplines as well as on Sunday morning a led open discussion on Budo and community in the West
You are welcome to come for the full weekend of a day. Camping should be booked via the Biggriggen website. Bunkrooms through the dojo, Costs are $15/bed/night which you can pay to me on arrival. The Saturday night dinner err.. feast is $25 which i’ll need before so the Naughty Chef can do all the shopping.
I was down in Sydney for the long weekend visiting family and friends. It was very nice time to catchup with a few sisters and the obligatory lounge room tanninzygake err… Rumble with nieces and nephews too. Whilst out for a stroll I spied a beautiful dojo set in the rural environs of Terry Hills. Imagine my surprise to find an aikido seminar underway and none other than Bill Gleason Sensei – who I visited 2 years ago in Boston, leading the instruction. At the half time oranges err… mandarin break I had the good fortune to catch up with what is possibly the broadest cross section of the Australian Aikido community gathered in a single place, well done to Balmain dojo and Seymour Sensei!.
Gleason Sensei, of the Yamaguchi lineage was putting the Aiki back into aikido in what was less about technique and more about the feeling. That is about building Aiki from within rather than through technique. It was for me the next step in following the internal strength movement in aikido circles ( see). Bill sensei speaks highly of Dan Hardens method and brings a translation of it to the aiki arts.
He combined effortlessly the traditional terminalogies like earth, fire and water as analogues for the familiar square trianle and circle. He spoke his own work of tate and yoko combined with spiraling where one must use ‘just eough power but as much as is required’. The vertical and horizontal aspects together with entry resonated strongly with an emerging picture with toppling seen in biomechanics and then some i.e. to freeze the base and topple through up and through. Its a dangerous assumption to make to though fitting everything to an existing paradigm – every the trap of the tyro
I was also reminded of some of the teaching of my former school such as a) Kotai, Jutai and Ryutai levels of practice and the importance and b) insights that can come from the Kashima sword school, really liked the neutral /support points being exlored through the sword.
For an in-depth review this by way of the Aikido Sydney Facebook page from Bill Sensei’s seminar in Auckland
One night I also managed to catch up with some budo buddies too for dinner…it brought out the boof in all of us 🙂
Sadly there wasn’t opportunity to get onto the mat this time, maybe next time
About 2 years ago we read this provocative, yet insightful, post by George Ledyard Sensei, a well known North American aikido practitioner who maintains a strong lineage to aikikai, yet practices widely with daito-ryu influenced people, internal strength, systema and I am sure many others. Read it in full here
Much food for thought and helpful in thinking about our path forward.
“…I have lately had the pleasure of attending and participating in a number of so-called Aikido “Bridge” Seminars. These are events which cross over stylistic and organizational boundaries allowing teachers of very diverse backgrounds, who might otherwise never have encountered each other, to share their Aikido experience with any willing student, regardless of level, style or affiliation.Last year, at one of these events at which I was honored to be invited to participate, I sat after hours with a room full of teachers whose collective Aikido experience was more than three hundred years between us and had the realization that this was really the future, that we were participating in the death of the traditional organization as we have know them….”
Welcome to Great Ocean Aikido. Our name is derived from Koretoshi Maruyama’s doka
Every river has a name. However, these names disappear when they flow into the great ocean. Aikido has many styles, many names, but Aikido is Aikido. It is my vision and hope that, like the rivers, they flow together and unite as one.
Thursday night we had our dojos last Aikido Yuishinkai class. It was a nice time to examine and reminise our journey with the school and all that it had taught us, domo arigato gozai mashita!
Whilst our dojo is only comparatively new, we had the pleasure of hosting Will Reed last year to help us see under the hood a little of what makes Aikido Yuishinkai tick. Prior to these several, who had of us opened dojo and hosted several national and international seminars too.
The school’s syllabus is a fantastic progressive transition from static to movement to high level practice as one progresses in the art. The influences of the internal practices of the Daito-Ryu and several weapons schools help bring alive the kata too. The schools doka of positive mind and ‘aikido without boundaries‘ have been inspirational.
Where to from here? We really like the founders Doka and enjoy a swim or two.
‘Every river has a name. However, these names disappear when they flow into the great ocean. Aikido has many styles, many names, but Aikido is Aikido. It is my vision and hope that, like the rivers, they flow together and unite as one.’
To our Aikido Yuishinkai friends near and far, its been a fun ride, sadly our journey lies elsewhere. We look forward to sharing the path and grabbing wrists again in the near future and the serendipity of visitors on doorsteps.