June 21, 2021
Erica has joined our dojo. She tried out class on a Tuesday and came the next Saturday to join. We also enrolled a wonderful 4-year-old boy into our kids’ program.
Teen Movie night – Saturday July 17. We planned this for last year. I am turning over the dojo to the teens (with chaperones) to hang out and watch Jumanji 2. ASNJ will supply the pizza.
Kyu Tests - Saturday August 21. We are having the Wheel of Ukemi Class, Kyu Tests and our Summer BBQ / Potluck party.
Can You Stump Omar? Everything TBD. See below.
Can You Stump Omar?
I am announcing a special event way in advance. So, way in advance, I don’t have a time or date or a format or anything really, but I have an idea. It will be followed by a party with food and refreshments. The class…… (dramatic pause) Can You Stump Omar? That is not a class, you say. You are right but you do not know me well [Ed.Note: I know him all too well.]. Here is the idea. Whenever I see an obscure weapon form or technique, I know Omar will know what it is called and, as everyone at ASNJ will tell you, Omar has the answer. If you are going to be a nerd, be a martial arts nerd: Who is going to pick on you? So, wait for future announcements for a time and date. Until then, start looking for the most obscure Aikido technique or weapon kata you can find. If you can stump Omar, you will win a prize and a coveted ASNJ T-shirt. You will have to perform the technique in front of everyone. Start practicing a Can You Stump Omar technique. Do you think I need to copyright this idea? I can send Omar out for Aikido weddings, bar mitzvahs, and birthdays. Maybe we can franchise?
I am in the dojo most of the day on Saturdays doing stuff like paying bills, making flyers, planning events, updating PerfectMind, and, you know, writing newsletters. You know, all that fun stuff. A 4-year-old adorable girl joins me in my office with her two-year old sister while their dad practices during the 10am class before her 11am class. The younger one started doing hand gestures. I was told it was Baby Shark…D’oh, obvious to anyone under five. A quick Google search and I was playing Baby Shark on YouTube. The two of them started doing the dance from the video. Ten showings later, they decided it was time for apples (I was saved by the health conscience snacks I provide. Good for you and good for me!). Only, now I have that song stuck in my head. Nothing like paying the electric bill singing Baby Shark Doo doo doo doo doo. Argh!
Cheap and Useless Gifts
So, the four-year-old went to her class and I went back to paperwork. Near the end of class, I hear the kids yelling in excitement, so I peeked out. Derrell was teaching and he had a full plastic shopping bag (you know the kind that are banned but most of us have hoarded in a closet). He was explaining to the tiny aikidoka that it was time for Aikido Trivia. He asked Aikido trivia questions and their reward was to pick from the “Bag of Cheap and Useless Prizes.” The kids were ecstatic; the parents laughing. Derrell asked, “Who is the guy in the picture in the front of the dojo?” My 4-year-old adorable officemate yells “Old Sensei.” The future of Aikido. I love my dojo. I wonder if we can book her to do bar mitzvahs with Omar?
Total Non Sequitur
That was a tough word to spell even with spell check – Non Sequitur. On a good day, I can’t spell. Rachel and I do the NY Times Sunday Crossword every weekend. We make a great pair. I know stuff she doesn’t and visa versa. And she can spell.
Nothing like leading into a non sequitur segment with a non sequitur but here we go. Ever reach into the vegetable bin and find something still in the plastic wrap and it has turned into a liquid? Yuck. I just found a former head of lettuce. Was going to make a salad to bring to work for lunch and…. Not anymore. Nope, no lettuce for me today, or for a few days at least. Yup, the liquified iceberg (no, not global warming, bad vegetable management) has turned me off lettuce for a week or so. Uggh. I washed out the bin (OK, hun, I wiped it out with a towel, sorry [Ed.Note: I am aware.]) and I am imagining the putrid liquid still on my hands after washing twice. I think I will go out for lunch today. Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. You realize I have written nothing about Tai Chi Chuan or Aikido in this newsletter yet? I feel like Seinfeld.
Bust a Move!
Yes, I kept the same title from last week but with a new subject. In my Tai Chi Chuan class, I demonstrated applications. We, as a class, did not practice them as most people do not know where their root is yet. (That was going to be a great T-Shirt Hal Sensei came up with years ago – We Root for Uke). I had students suggest a technique and I demonstrated the application (bad shoulder and all). Most techniques result in a broken or dead attacker (this ain’t Aikido). Do you remember the newsletter “George’s Chin”? If not, it is available on Sensei’s Blog on our website.
The class quickly went from fascination to fear when after the first person suggested a technique realized to show the application, I needed an attacker. My disclaimer: No ukes were injured in this class. I showed the difference between a light (or chi) hit vs a heavy hit. Where your weight is determines which side is which, how it all comes from your waist with nothing in the arms. (Actually, every time I demonstrated to show the wrong way using strength in my arms, the result was ineffective, and, alas, I hurt my shoulder again). I demonstrated how it comes from the foot and we discussed the concept of harmony and relationships and how that is not just between people but also between you and the world around, especially the earth.
The students were amazed at the detail of the application but even better, it is way easier to remember a technique when you understand the application otherwise it is just memorizing a dance, though that’s useful if you are a teen TikTok watcher.
I went a whole letter without writing about any philosophy or concept in martial arts. It’s because I have that stupid song in my head.
PS : If you made it this far. I have an Ed.Note from Lehrman Sensei -
[However despite what you said, you slipped in philosophy in a very good way:
"not just between people but also between you and the world around, especially the earth."]