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  • Writer's pictureSensei Jay

Seminars and Tests

June 7, 2022


I want to welcome two brothers who joined our kids’ program as well as a young man who joined our kids’ program as well.

What’s Happenin’

žLehrman Shihan – Wednesday, June 8, 7:00 pm. 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.

žFeast of St Anthony Sunday June 12, 7:00 pm. We will be having a demonstration, mostly the kids and Iaido at the fair across the street from the dojo. Come by and watch and support our members.

žSummer 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.

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

žLehrman Sensei Seminar @ Portsmouth Aikido – Oct 8 & 9, Portsmouth NH


I am working on channeling my inner Valley Girl. Oh……My Gawd. It may not translate well this letter but if you could peek into my brain as I write this?  It would probably be more entertaining. Like Totally. Unfortunately, all of you youths only know the text version - OMG. 
But, OMG, did you see the black belt tests after the seminar? I am proud to announce the promotions, For Sure:

Godan – 5th Dan

Andy Small

Connie Truemper

Walter ‘Buck’ Braxton

Yondan – 4th Dan

Tom Newcomen

Sandan – 3rd Dan

Massimo Caiati (a student of Aikido of Raritan Valley, Promoted Paul Manogue Sensei)

Parviz Ghahramani

Nidan – 2nd Dan

Paul Burt

Shodan – 1st Dan

Kelvin Guillen

James Taylor

Lou Benites

Please send your cheers, love, admiration, and congratulations to one and all. All very well deserved. Our entire ASNJ family is proud of you guys. God bless you all.

Air Conditioning and Espresso

First, I wanted to thank two people, Hal Lehrman Shihan and Harvey Konigsberg Shihan for a great day, an intense seminar, and fun jokes while stories hanging out in my office and help in the tests.

The seminar was four fun hours filled with GTL (Good workout, Techniques, and fun) (From Valley Girl to Jersey Shore?). The amount of information imparted in those four hours was amazing. I was hurting the next day, both mentally and physically. I wanted to practice with everyone but unfortunately, four hours only gave me the opportunity grab the wrists of maybe a quarter of the attendees. I threw old friends, newly met friends and a lot of people from all around the country.

The weather forecasted 95° and the mat was crowded. Luckily, the AC was recently serviced and up to the task. We asked Harvey if there was anything he wanted for the seminar and he requested, I think jokingly, espresso. Never to give up the opportunity, Frank brought in his espresso maker. After the seminar, giving everyone 30 minutes to recharge before the tests, Frank served our two Shihan expresso. We four (Paul Manogue Sensei joined us at the table as he had a student testing) walked on the mat with our hot beverages.

The tests over (see previous section) and let the party begin. The mini bar was open, recently expanded by Paul. He brought a bottle of Sourland Mountain whiskey that his wife is now marketing. Really good stuff, try it. It was warm and sunny, so the weber was cooking. I roasted two pernil and we were cooking burgers, dogs and picanha, a Portuguese steak and a favorite ASNJ (only the good stuff at our parties). The little kids were playing games on the mat, the picnic table was filled with aikidoka and a growing pile of empty beer bottles, friends were kibitzing. Life was good.

Harvey summed it up to Hal. Great day. It had everything you could ask for at a seminar. Airconditioning and espresso. That may be our next T-Shirt.

A Fighting Chance

I drove back from Maine Wednesday, as usual, and came to the dojo to teach class. I love to loosen us from driving 7 hours with Aikido. I am usually tired from the drive, but class wakes me up. This trip, we stopped in Hartford and helped Jacob, our younger son, move home having graduated. I was extra tired. I got to the dojo with minutes to spare and thought, I was too tired to do anything complicated. I led warmups and started waking up. It is amazing the good things blood flow can do good things to your grey matter. I had an idea for what I might do for Halloween class. Un-orthodox attacks. Not the classic Tsuki, shomen, youkomen. Nope, things that are not normal in an aikido dojo. What you would never see in your typical aikido lesson. I invited any student to come up and attack me with an attack that is not one of the standard Aikido attacks. To make it more fun, I could only respond with a normal Aikido technique. I told my wife about the class later and she responded “You asked a group of martial artists to come up and attack you with random un-orthodox attacks? Yup. Did I mention I was a little tired?

The first uke, did a front kick. Easy, enter off the line, agree with the kick going forward and go up and over like the standard throw into a forward roll from tski. (I also showed that kotegaeshi on the foot is an option) The next, what about a bear hug. Drop, twist and you have koshi. A back fist to the face, treat it like shomen; we did kotegaeshi. A round house punch, too easy, we treated like yokomen, caught the elbow at the start and did ikkyo. An upper cut punch? Great, that is close fighting. That is why we do katatori (grab the gi) and turned out and then in right into nikyo. I am not sure anyone will get this from the description. Just come to my Wednesday class. I will be doing this for a few weeks.

The important idea is you never focus on the part of uke that is attacking you. That is what uke wants; this is their whole diabolical plan. Make you concentrate your awareness on that small area of the attack. In Aikido, we want to keep our awareness not only on uke, their whole body, but to focus on their spine, their foot (connection to the earth and balance), their center and the rest of the room (we call that randori). The attacking part is just noise. It does not matter what the attack it but treat the attack as a gift of uke’s energy. Move off the line, turn your waist and the rest is a forgone conclusion. They won’t have a fighting chance. See you Halloween.

A Chilling Moment

As many of you know my original dojo was Park Slope. I am built the place and am still active. A couple of weeks ago, I finished installing the new AC. (not personally, my subcontractors) and the dojo is now one of the coolest places in Brooklyn. If you are in the area, have a gi, stop in and take class. I promise, they will give you the cold shoulder.

-- Jay Tall

“I want considerate people to listen to the voice of Aikido. It is not for correcting others; it is for correcting your own mind.”

- Moihei Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido

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