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  • Writer's pictureSensei Jay

A High Bar

June 14, 2021

More Hellos

Leonard rejoined us after his Covid hiatus. Great to see him back.

To Do’s

žFamily Fun Day – Saturday, June 19. We are encouraging all our parents to get on the mat and take a roll metaphorically. You don’t actually have to fall down (unless we have done our job then you will have no choice).

žTeen Movie night – Saturday, July 17. We planned this for last year. The teens will be hanging out (with chaperones) to watch Jumanji 2 on the 65” TV in the dojo. ASNJ will supply the pizza.

žKyu Tests – Saturday, August 21.We are having the Wheel of Ukemi Class, Kyu Tests, and our Summer BBQ / Potluck party. I have 17 people who have requested to test. No pillow sitting for this test.

Adaptive Aikido

We started the program and after six months of planning with a committee of nine people, we found out we still have a lot of work ahead of us. We have teaching curriculum for a dozen techniques, but we realized we need one for dojo etiquette. At the inaugural class, Zachary was not feeling well but was a trooper. Frank and Danny were a huge help with their decades of experience teaching kids. They pulled out fun Aikido games and a myriad of things that keep the kids active and interested. Megan, who does not do Aikido, was on the side taking notes on what went well and what to improve.

Thank you to everyone involved: Zachary, Megan, Corey, Ben, Amanda, Frank, Danny, and Derrell for your tireless hours working with me to make this happen.

Testing, Testing, 123

We had our regularly scheduled kids’ tests (every other month) and had 15 kids to test, 13 this Saturday and two make ups. We also began Youth testing for five advancing teens. This is for the youths to prepare for 5th kyu as it is a little scary to start on the big stage. So, five of them did a series of techniques for our testing committee (Sound formal? Really just Danny, Derrell, Frank, and I sitting on pillows. I hate sitting on pillows.) I must confess, watching a bunch of cute, sweet kids running around doing some crazy Aikido is one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday. Just not on a pillow.

Also, for those taking kyu tests in August, please visit our Testing Requirements page under the heading Members on our website. I have added videos at the bottom of the page with Yamada Sensei showing every technique for 5th, 4th, and 3rd kyu tests. Feel free to check that out. There is no one better.

Where’s Mat?

It has happened, the bleach has taken its toll. We need a new canvas for the mat. This is not cheap, but it was the only way to keep the dojo safe through Covid-19. It was well worth it. I am going to square off the corner to the left of the kamiza. Once I change the canvas, do you think Matt will be back? (Matt, too much Jewish guilt?).

Show the Love!

So, you didn’t forget to review. You just didn’t have time as you were binge-watching The Karate Kid on Netflix? Or trying to keep up with the latest from Uncle Roger’s YouTube? I understand. Take a minute now and help a Sensei out. Give us a Google review and show our SEO some love. I know, you are feeling better already. Here is the link.

Bust a Move!

I re-hurt my shoulder. One of many old gymnastics’ injuries. I flew off the high bar. Most people fall into the ground as that is when there is the most force – centrifugal and gravity. I went horizontally as I felt my hand start to tear off but, well, I fought it (My wife calls me stubborn. I am tempting her to interject. [Ed.Note: Wife knows and I’m betting you agree.]) and flew off into the bleachers. Woke up with a dislocated shoulder. So, I planned to do one-handed techniques and only use my good arm in class.

That plan lasted until I put my gi on and remembered this ryotetori thing Hal Sensei would do where you turned uke around and was behind them. Confused, I would have to show you. The point is you keep uke moving forward while they twist, and you get behind them and they fall backwards. They must keep moving forward. Still make no sense? Stop by. Not my best writing bringing up a technique I cannot describe but, man, it was a fun class. I also did it with the Jr Deshi class I teach monthly. I will be doing this for the next couple of weeks. Still make no sense? Show up to class more (Did I mention the Jewish guilt?). I hate sitting on pillows?

Shifting into a New Gear

Tai Chi Chuan was about shifting our weight from one leg to another. I wanted to include what happens with the arms, but 90 minutes was not enough time. Next class. So, we spent 45 minutes with our legs bent shifting from 100% in our right foot to 100% in our left foot. Then back again. Only two options, right foot or left foot. We focused on what we felt in the bottom of our feet. We worked on shifting without pushing from one leg to the other but shifting our weight from one to the other. I used the image of having one leg filled with sand and you transfer the sand from one leg to the other. This image helps to understand the difference between pushing out of a heavy leg to shift our center or sitting into an empty leg.

Then we did it looking in the mirror, then without, to see what changed in our relationship to our feet. Then we went from doing it on the mat to doing it on the concrete floor and back. Each one changed the experience. Each one raised the awareness. At the end, we were all more balanced, moved smoother, did not change our height, relaxed our backs and had very tired legs. No one was aware they spent three quarters of an hour doing nothing but shifting from one foot to another. I once worked with Hal Sensei for 90 minutes doing this exercise. Amazing how you can pass time doing something so simple and somewhat repetitive and it remains fascinating. Everyone also found out how much stronger their legs have become. Me, I hate sitting on pillows.

--Sensei Jay

“If you can't say something good about someone, sit right here by me.”

--Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt

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