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  • Writer's pictureSensei Jay

Sitting on Purpose

February 19, 2021

Say Hello

Another busy week. We had two young ladies join our youth program. Two young men, Gino and Chenly, dropped by one afternoon for the noon class and stayed to join our Adult program. Please welcome them and say “Hi” to any new faces you see.


I am planning on scheduling tests for end of March. I may try to coordinate the test with a St. Patty’s day celebration (The connection is obvious, no? well it is a party. A socially distant party but a party nonetheless.). No need to dye your gi green for the class, I have better ideas yet to be announced. Plus, I will get to break out The Wheel of Ukemi again. Keep your eyes open for an announcement and if you think you might be ready to test, please contact Danny, Derrell, or Frank to discuss.

Check out the USAF Zoom Class Saturday, February 20th as Sensei Lehrman is teaching the last segment of this online zoom class from 1 pm -2 pm. (link below).

The following week, Saturday February 27th, our very own Naelys and Shania will be teaching the USAF Kids Zoom class from 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm.

Please sign in to watch both and give them your support and maybe learn something. Here is the link. (I hope. Still learning the Zoom thing. We don’t Zoom a lot in construction. The hammers break the screens.)

Practicing with Purpose

When you get on the mat, have a purpose: Have a goal, have an objective, have a lesson plan. It may change once you start practicing but come with a thought, you will get much more out of the lesson. The instructor may give you a better one so go with the flow, but having a goal such as keeping my back straight, hitting homni, or shifting smoothly, will make your mat time more productive. Like meditating which is sitting with a purpose!

Experience, the Teacher Money Cannot Buy

Sure, you can, buy a USAF dojo membership. It comes with great teachers. (How about that for targeted advertising! Watch out Google.)

Aikido, Tai Chi Chuan, or almost any martial art, are learned through doing, not thinking (except from reading my letters, that is good thinking). Martial arts are experiential practices. A good aikido partner does not talk, they move so you can FEEL what the technique is. They give you their balance so you can experience doing the technique while having uke’s balance. This type of learning, experiential, is often done without your knowing you are learning but results in your ability being improved. Experience is the best teacher. True experience cannot be described (not even in my letters), only experienced.

Aikido Moment of the Day

I like to be up front with you when it comes to ushiro! I was watching a YouTube video on sword work and the person had their katana level, behind him with the blade up and the sword pointing backward but all his energy was forward, and I thought – AHA! That is ushiro.

But think about it, who wants someone behind them? That is just asking for trouble. Unless you are double jointed or an expert in moon walking, we are built to go forward. So why do we practice a technique with someone trying to hurt us from behind? Because it may happen and when someone is behind, we want the experience for them to be in front of us. We do that by turning our waist and keeping our focus in our center. Uke’s experience is never to have a stationary view of our back but only a brief trip by that while trying to figure out why everything is spinning quickly.

So, when doing ushiro, keep your idea in front of you and uke with happily follow right along. Just take one out for a spin.

--Sensei Jay Tall

“Meditation is like a gym in which you develop the powerful mental muscles of calm and insight.”

– Ajahn Brahm

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