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  • Writer's pictureSensei Jay

The Summer’s Over

September 8th, 2021

The Summer’s Over

It is amazing. Kids are going back to school, my younger son, Jacob, is already back at college. My older, Zachary, is going back to teaching 8th grade in Hoboken this year. So much has changed but really nothing. The summer is just as long as it is every year. It seems forever away in February and incredibly short in August. We perceive it in our minds differently. In June, we count the days until our vacation. The end of August, we start complaining it is over. Yet it is always the same. Let’s try something different. Let’s celebrate today. Or better yet, let’s celebrate this very moment. You are reading your favorite newsletter (younger folks might call it a blog) and enjoy the now. Not the end of summer or the start of fall but the now. We mark our lives with the expectation of the future or the memory of the past but let’s try to mark our lives with the experience of the now. And this great newsletter.


This is not a hello but “I’ll see you later.” Luka, who started studying Aikido at ASNJ when he was a young lad has grown up on us and is off to the University of Buffalo. We gave him presents to remember us and to help him in his transition to the next phase of his growth. It was pretty emotional, and I will feel the void in the dojo until, I hope, he returns at break or next summer. I wish Luka all the best and hope everyone can wish him well.

I also wanted to welcome the youngest member of our Iaido program. A very mature 11 year old lad joined Iaido.

Nothing Will Change, Except Everything will be Better

I used this phrase two weeks ago, but this is different. We are going to freshen up. Not powder our noses but paint the place. You know, the dojo. Yes, it will be different colors. We have a committee picking colors for the walls, stain for the entrance wood, designing a sign for out front. Do want to help with this? Just ask, we are always looking for volunteers. Speaking of volunteers, don’t throw out that old T-shirt or faded jeans yet. Save them for the painting party. Well, those velour spandex pants? Throw those out.

To Do’s

žMake up Test – Saturday September 18th, 2:00 pm

Love Often Wears a Mask

I do not know who said that, got it from google. I am running out of mask quotes. If you have a good one, please send to me. But in the meantime, we are wearing masks on the mat and dressing rooms. We are hand (and wrist) sanitizing between each technique. I am not an expert on the Delta variant, but I was a member of the Delta Phi fraternity at NYU. If they are anything alike, you should sanitize your hands. A lot.

The Test of Greatness is Humility

Another so-so quote but we can’t always be firing on all eight cylinders (at some point, when all cars are electric, that will sound very strange). I am talking about tests. Kyu tests specifically. We just did them. Shihan Lehrman joined me this past Saturday afternoon and when some of our students showed their stuff. Twelve great people took a deep breath and demonstrated what they have learned (at the dojo).

Please congratulate:

James Fazzari – 5th kyu

Patrick Morrow – 5th kyu

Eva Morrow – 4th kyu

Shariff Brown – 4th kyu

Derrell (DJ) Thomas Jr.– 4th kyu

Duarte Nobre – 4th kyu

Mariella Frias – 3rd kyu

Frank (CSI) Basile– 3rd kyu

Heidy Cruz – 3rd kyu

Anthony Guzman – 2nd kyu

Kelsey Guillen – 2nd kyu

Chris Zorse – 1st Kyu

Some interesting facts about this test group:

· An 11-year old and a 60-year old tested and there was a 71-year old uke.

· One student waited 27 years from his last test to take the plunge.

· We had a brother and sister take two separate tests that day and we had a brother and sister as nage and uke on the same test.

· Three of the students that tested are also Junior Deshi.

· Four of the people testing have a parent that is also a ASNJ member

· Everyone but one person was worried about their test and expressed doubt if they were ready. They were wrong, everyone did great.

· Our teachers spend tens of hours helping them get ready.

· Lehrman Sensei told me afterwards that there were good tests and great tests. None were average in his opinion.

· Kelvin seems to be the most requested uke and he would, if asked, be an uke on everything single test and still pop off the ground like a cat jumping off the hot tin roof. And his hair would be perfect at the end of all those tests.

· Trying to make it through a test holding your breath is always a mistake.

· Sitting on a chair for Adult tests is way better than the pillow we use for Kids’ tests. I should have thought of that a year ago.

· I added tenchinage to everyone’s test (it is part of 5th kyu only). I think it is the most complicated simple technique and the best way to gauge someone’s skill in basics. I learned a lot watching that.

· Testing is crucial in your development but the least important thing you must do.

· The best tests are always the people having the most fun.

I want to congratulate everyone again and also to thank everyone who helped that day.

--Sensei Jay

“I didn’t fail the test; I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

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