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  • Writer's pictureSensei Jay

A Football by Any Other Name

May 17, 2021

More Hellos

I want to welcome back Al Young to the dojo. One of the best days for me is when someone returns from being inactive, whether from Covid or any other reason. This always gives me a smile.

Wanna Do a Mitzvah

Want to help the dojo? Give us a Google review, hopefully a positive one. Here is the link.

To Do’s

žASNJ’s Women’s group will host their 2nd woman-only event on Saturday May 22nd at 6:00 pm. This is open to any female member age 11 or older and any female family member or significant other of an ASNJ student. The program is approximately 90 minutes and refreshments will be served.

žWe are having our Hakama Class (3rd kyu and above) on Sunday, May 30 during the rotating teacher’s class time: 11:30-12:30.

žKids and Youth Tests will be on Saturday, June 5. Please see your instructor if your child will be testing. You will need to fill out the test form.

žAdaptive Aikido class for kids with special needs will start on Monday, June 7. If any parents wish to enroll their child, let me know and I will send you the form.

Yo Mama

We had a great Mother’s Day celebration last Saturday. The Bloody Mary’s were free flowing. The meat and cheese platter were decimated and, believe it or not, there were no leftover spicy shrimp. Food aside, it was a big hit and our way at ASNJ to say thanks to all moms and all you do. If you do not hear it from your kids enough, you can hear it from me. Thank you.

Adaptive Aikido

Adaptive Aikido will be starting on June 7 at 6:00 pm. It is a class for school-age kids with special needs to learn Aikido in an environment tailored to their needs. We are presently going to cap enrollment at 10 students. We ran our third practice class and are really putting together a great program. I am more and more inspired by the amazing people we have assembled for this program. If any instructors at ASNJ want to be involved, your time is welcome. There is pre-class training that will be required.

Reach Out and Throw Someone

We are starting an outreach program. Zachary will be teaching three back-to-back classes, eight-week sessions for the Wallington Recreation Center starting later this month. The center has 34 children pre-registered between the three classes.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Second

How many of y’all would do your homework the night before it was due? Me too. Not anymore but I was bad. I have since learned to move. This is an important theme in Aikido. It is not really about procrastination but about being in the moment but there is a point to this that I will eventually get to. (Good thing I do not procrastinate, huh?).

I took Barry’s class on Sunday (I love taking classes). I think most people do not like it when I take class. The instructor is scared I will not approve of the techniques and my partner/uke is terrified I may break them. But I just like to do Aikido. Kinda of why I am the Sensei: I really enjoy this stuff. I digress again (quickly becoming a motif of this letter). Barry asked me about a technique and why it felt like he was getting sucked into a hole when I did it to him. “Because I am sucking you into a hole,” I answered. I explained he was waiting until too late (procrastinating?) and he and uke were in conflict. He was not allowing them to enter his “space.” He just needs to turn his waist. You cannot wait until the last second. Then, it happened, the perfect analogy (My wife says my leadership skills rest in my use of analogies. That is why we are married.): Olga said it was like catching a ball. You start when it is thrown, not when it is in your face. By the time you catch it, you are already moving together.

So, next class, I grabbed the dojo football (Don’t all dojos have a football? Come on, this is important.) and threw it to my son (and launched into an analogy). You feel and see where the football is going, you take off in that direction, not exactly where the football will be because then it will only bounce off your chest, but slightly off the line (exciting Aikido reference). The football touches your hands as they are moving in a circle (Aikido reference alert) to match the speed of the football and then it comes into your chest. Everything done in perfect sync. The football “feels” nothing, not because it is a football but because of your incredible skill. You started ‘catching’ the ball as the QB (uke?) starts to move. You did not wait until it is in front of you. That is too late and why you were never picked on any team, standing alone and dejected, like at the sixth-grade dance (maybe that’s just me). You start when they do. You move with them. You are connected, in this case through a football, but you are connected. This is Aikido. You are always in a relationship. Everything is in motion. Your entire being, mind, body, etc. is moving. Now we need to add Football-tori to the curriculum. Next test – five techniques with a football (or fútbol?).

Pushing the Limit

Sensitivity be damned, we are gonna wrestle. Stan Israel, an amazing Tai Chi Chuan teacher, told people to “just push.” Forget lightness, forget relaxing, just push. I added this to this week’s class, mostly for Derrell since he was in conflict about winning or losing. Winning is part of the lesson in Tai Chi Chuan. You just do not focus or count on winning (like my son at Parcheesi). Hopefully, you eventually give it up, but it is just so much fun. This week, we pushed. And push we did. Tai Chi Chuan is a long-term practice. There is so much to teach and now football, too?

--Sensei Jay

“Alone we can do so little, together, we can a do so much.”

--Hellen Keller

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