September 17, 2020
I want to first thank everyone for their birthday wishes and for throwing me an after-class social distanced party. Thanks for all the gifts and my office is well stocked for the near future. If I knew you were going to have a party, I might not have ended the class 15 minutes late (I am sorry, I know your legs were tired. Practice more.) Every birthday I take some time and look back on my year and spend some time giving thanks for the blessings I have. You, my aikido family, make a huge part of those blessings.
We have 2 new children members and I wanted to welcome them to our dojo. Say hi to some new little faces. I also want to congratulate Andy Small for making partner at the law firm he works for. Andy, besides being a consistent member, helps us out with his legal advice that was so important when re-opening after the Covid shut down. So comrades Andy and if I said anything wrong – Sue Me.
We do not email anything to kids, only the parents but folks, feel free to let the kids, especially the teens, read these emails. I try to include some good information.
A few years back, Lehrman Sensei and I had an idea for a t-shirt “We Root For Uke”. We did not think most people would get it but it still makes me laugh. But we discussed “Rooting” (I hope you like quotations marks, my wife says to use them. She studied English and stuff like that in college. I majored in “Fraternity”) Thursday’s class. And unlike “being Centered” which you always are, maybe just not aware, you are not always rooted. It is something you need to find and cultivate. It requires you to be upright, a staple of Aikido or TCC practice (Sorry to all you slouchers, remember your mother telling you to you to “sit up straight”? She was right). Your weight must be in the center of one foot and your head must be connected to “Heaven” or your spirit rising. So much for the classic instructions, now let’s understand this.
There is a connection to the earth, it is called gravity, which is the attraction of 2 bodies of mass. The earth has a lot of mass and therefore a lot of gravity, but so do we, just a lot less. In aikido, we want more than just touching, we want to experience a connection, like your and Uke’s centers connecting. Many call this “Harmonizing” (the quotations are starting to get impressive) We look to strengthen, develop, and create a deeper awareness of this connection. Your Root is this connection with you and the earth. It is that expanded connection of 2 centers of gravity. Yours and a large lump of iron and other organic compounds formed 5 billion years ago with a big bang. (sorry, I was hearing the show’s theme song in my head). In class, we experimented with shifting into the back foot, staying straight, until we went too far. The moment before, is the spot where your root exists. But at that instant, there is a moment when you feel grounded (and your thigh is screaming in pain).
We experience this from our center (the one we discussed the week before and everyone having but need to become more aware of and then I recommend Sensei Lehrman’s meditation class. I can be so predictable). Our lower half is flowing downward connecting to the earth and our upper half, relaxed it being lifted upwards. Yin/Yang. Our center is the point in between. We connect the two. The stronger the connection, the stronger your root.
I have been trying to update our web presence and am now working on our YouTube channel.
Please subscribe and comment on them. Also take videos of class – with the instructor permission. If you have copies of older videos such as your kyu test or an old class or event, let me know and I can post them on our channel. Our google presents brings in those new members. Your help is easy. I see many of you on your phones in between classes. Review us one day.
Thanks for helping celebrate my “Commemorative Observance of the Cyclical Planetary Journey of my New Bornness” (courtesy of a of Sensei Lehrman text, the quotations marks were my idea. Nice touch, huh?)