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  • Writer's pictureSensei Jay

On The Cutting Edge

June 28, 2022 Hellos Please welcome Jeff, Larry, Dante, and Eddie to our Adult program and a 5-year-old boy into our 4-6 years old Kids program. What’s Happenin’

  • Fourth of July – The dojo is closed on Monday July 4th. We will have regular class on Saturday and Sunday. Have a great weekend!

  • Lehrman Shihan – Wednesday, July 13, 7:00pm. Lehrman Shihan teaches the second Wednesday of each month. This is a mandatory class for all ASNJ instructors and an exciting treat for all our students and guests. We welcome visitors from other dojos who would like to attend.

  • Summer BBQ and Kyu test – Saturday, July 30. We always have a big barbeque in the summer. And can you believe it is summer? I know, not in the nerdy science definition, but we are past Memorial Day, so it is summer. Please put this in your calendar.

  • North Jersey & Ramapo Valley 25th Anniversary Seminar - Sept 17 at Aikido North Jersey with Yamada Sensei, Zimmerman Sensei and Vardi Sensei

  • Lehrman Sensei Seminar at Portsmouth Aikido – Oct 8 - 9, Portsmouth, NH Goodbye and Hello Kelvin joined ASNJ when he was very young along with his sister. Well, kids grow up. Kelvin is off to college after an extended vacation with his family this summer. We wish Kelvin all the best. As we cannot ever pass up an occasion to have a celebration, we threw a going away party Thursday after he taught his last class (at least for now). I have asked Jeremy, one of our originally Junior Deshi to take over the Thursday 6:00 class. Best of luck to both Kelvin and Jeremy. On the Cutting Edge Our goal is to stay on the cutting edge so we have added Tameshigiri – cutting – to our Iaido program. You heard that right: we are cutting the program. I have just purchased a sharp katana and built a kando, a thingie that holds the mats for Tameshigiri (I learned all these Japanese terms from Google). All those interested in learning how a katana really works, try cutting and join the Iaido program. There is no additional charge to take the Iaido classes for all ASNJ members. If you are not a member, what are you waiting for? Yes, you can take Iaido only. I Saw a Sign I want to thank Tom and George in their newfound roles as part of the building committee. You may not have noticed but they cleaned out the return air ducts which helps us all breathe a little easier. We also have bought a 16 foot banner for the front of the building. Every now and then I get I call that a potential student could not find us in the parking lot. I think that is a sign of things to come. Keep your eyes open for when we hang the new sign. An Empty Lesson While teaching last week, I had the privilege of having two of our strongest students in the class: Lou and Jose. The class was about moving uke to the ‘empty space’. We did sumitose but with only using the hand uke grabs by moving away from their foot and not using our second hand.  When uke grabs your wrist, move sideways away from their body and behind them.  You want to draw them into the empty space to the side and behind their back (This could make a perfect drawing if I created a drawing showing what I am talking about. However I am a terrible artist. I make stick figures look bad. [Ed note: For someone who says he ‘can’t draw,’ his sketches are illustrative and helpful. You should meet him at the dojo so he can draw this if you can’t see what he means. I’ll see you there as I’ll be asking, too.). Move into the empty space and they fall down. I went over to Lou and Jose as they were adding their shoulders into the technique to nudge uke to fall. I thought it was a great add to the technique.  It was especially useful when you are built like them.  When I did the shoulder thing to them, well, I bounced right off when they were my uke.  You see, if you want to use strength, you’d better be strong.  I showed them my direction (This is where I would remind you to look at the diagram that I did not make. [Ed. Note: Wednesday work for you?) and they no longer needed their shoulder bump.  I told them they could always do the shoulder thing. I mean if you are given the gift of strength then don’t be scared to use it. I feel everyone needs to do their own Aikido. The last thing I want to ask of an ASNJ student is to do exactly as I do. We are all different. This confused them. “Why?” they asked. Why shouldn’t they do the way I just taught them? They saw the advantage of not using strength and realized it worked better. Giving them the option of still using strength made no sense. In giving them the opportunity to “do Aikido their way,” I did not give them the opportunity to make that a new and better way. Maybe next time I will just show them how to do the technique my way and shut up. Nope, never going to happen. Who’s Tripping - Us We had our dojo class trip to take Yamada Sensei’s class at the New York Aikikai . We try to give our teens the opportunity to train with one O’Sensei students and have a fun trip to NYC. It was especially exciting for Patrick and Eva. Both were still on an Aiki-high having done the demonstration last week. I mean showcasing Aikido on a stage in front of a large crowd is pretty cool. Now, a week later, their first visit to another dojo to practice? Wow. Ain’t we the coolest dojo in the whole wide world? Both kids were nervous. Earlier I had asked Sharon Dominguez to practice with Eva and Debbie Crampton to work with Patrick. Both friends and amazing akidoka (a person who practices Aikdio) came up to me after class excited, they had a great time with our youth. Sharon wanted to know when she could work with Eva again. I told her to come out to NJ. Heck, feel free to come and teach a class! I think the highlight was when Yamada Sensei called up Patrick to be his uke. Patrick, even though a little terrified, is never the kid not to take a challenge: Ushiro Katatetori Iriminage. Not an easy technique for an uke. Like almost every other technique, Patrick took a break fall (I bet he’d take a break fall into bed at night and into the bathtub if he could). He showed the gang at the New York Aikikai some high class ukemi. Yamada Sensei, with a huge smile, threw Patrick and sent him back to his spot. I watched Patrick swagger back to his partner and we all practiced some more. I Got Nothing As this is a couple of weeks since my last email (remember those 16 jobs), I had a few lessons at Tai Chi Chuan and Aikido to discuss with you all. Let me use the Aikido class lesson as this is an Aikido dojo newsletter but this was covered in both classes. In Tenchinage, (heaven and earth) one side goes up (the heaven part) and one side goes down (the earth side). If you can feel uke on your down hand, guess, what? They can feel you. You feel them because you are literally holding them up. You see, the goal in Aikido is for the person attacking you to fall (I know, this is groundbreaking.). So here you are, doing a great looking technique but you are holding them up. Relax, drop your arm. Let them do what they are asking you to do – fall down. If you feel uke, then you are not letting them fall. I know you have read this before but if you can feel uke, they can feel you. Be empty and use what is NOT there. Jay Tall Sensei, Aikido Schools of NJ “Nature is always speaking to us.” -Moihei Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido

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