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  • Writer's pictureSensei Jay

When Your Dojo Bears Fruit

May 21, 2021

More Hellos

Welcome Leland to our dojo. He is a new Tai Chi Chuan student. We, also, had a former student bring his son to join. Maybe dad will embrace the olden days and (re)join with him? Two new young people joined our Youth class and father, Mike, and his son joined. We are quickly coming up on 125 members. I will let you know when we break that number. We have come a long way from when we re-opened in June of last year.

Show the Love

You forgot to give us a great review on Google? Not to worry, you did not miss your chance. Here is the link again. You can always talk about how you love these weekly emails. At least mention what a great job my wife does at proofreading them. Either way, please leave us a Google review:

To Do’s

žASNJ’s Women’s group will host their second Woman-only event on Saturday, May 22 at 6:00pm. This is open to any female member age 11 or older and any female family member or significant other of an ASNJ student. The program is approximately 90 minutes and refreshments will be served.

žWe are having our Hakama Class (3rd kyu and above) on Sunday, May 30 during the rotating teachers’ class time: 11:30-12:30.

žKids and Youth Tests will be on Saturday, June 5. Please see your instructor if your child will be testing. You will need to fill out the test form.

žAdaptive Aikido class for kids with special needs will start on Monday, June 7 at 6:00pm. If any parents wish to enroll their child, let me know and I will send you the form. We have four commitments already and have not started the class.

žFamily Fun Day – June 19, 2021. We encourage all our parents to get on the mat and take a roll with your kids. (Metaphorically. You don’t actually have to fall down unless you want to.) Adults, bring your partner, your kid, your parent (I know, that one is a stretch). We will have refreshments.

žTeen Movie night – Saturday, July 17. I am turning over the dojo to the teens (with chaperones (I hear the groans from the teens.) to hang out and watch a movie. ASNJ will supply the pizza.

žKyu Tests – Saturday, August 21, 2021 – We are having the Wheel of Ukemi class, Kyu Tests, and our summer BBQ / Potluck party.

Fruit Stand

Six months back, I emptied the candy bowl in the dojo (leftover from Halloween). I heard moaning from a few of my instructors. “Where did the candy corn go?” You know who you are. I replaced the candy with fresh fruit, sometimes clementines, sometimes apples, never broccoli. I was buying about 10 lbs. a week to bring a smile and a little bit of health to our kids. At least we were not promoting tooth decay. I showed up last Wednesday with 5 lbs. of clementines and 4 lbs. of bananas. The next day, when I arrived to teach, I saw one lonely orange in the bowl. 9 lbs. of fruit in 24 hours. My work here is done. No one seems to miss the candy corn (Well, some of you do. Stop moaning.).

Adaptive Aikido

Adaptive Aikido will start on June 7 at 6:00 pm. It is a class for school-age kids with special needs to learn Aikido in an environment tailored to their needs. We are presently going to cap enrollment at 10 students. I am more and more inspired by the amazing people we have assembled for this program. If any instructors at ASNJ want to be involved, your time is welcome. There is pre-class training that will be required.

Football Has Been Berry Berry Good to Me

I am continuing my football demonstration and it seems to make a lot of sense to everyone. Thanks, Olga, for the idea. People are really getting the gist. Aikido starts way before you receive the attack. The contact is always there, and we function from the idea of a continuing relationship. The attack is only a formality to make uke feel like they are important. We know the truth; the attacks are the gift we received to let ukes throw themselves. Now if I can only get my kids to make their beds. I know, a complete non-sequitur but I smiled.

Pushing the Limit

I am thinking back many years to the split in Tai Chi Chuan Push Hands philosophies. There was one group trying to be as relaxed as possible (think Matrix but in slower slo-mo) and there was another group that looked like anorexic versions of sumo wrestlers. Both scoffed at the other group. In my experience, there is a similar split in Aikido. I was always a believer in both. Two sides of the same coin. For those of you who know me now, when I was younger, back in Park Slope, we did 75% break falls (Rolls were for wimps!) When I had time to grab a class in NYA, it was 90% breakfalls. Everyone was physically strong and gave everyone a tough time. No one stopped you and ran away; you stopped someone and let them figure it out and throw you. And thrown you usually were. No one spoke, no one taught. We were strong and getting stronger.

Now, I am not so young but still in decent shape (no comments from editors). Now when faced with someone strong, I relax and turn my waist and move my body. That doesn’t mean I still can’t use that muscle from my 20’s [Ed Note: Note the editorial silence.]. I just usually don’t need it. We are exploring the strong side in Tai Chi Chuan class. (Yes, Tai Chi Chuan class can be strong and physical. Come by and check it out). We need to remember the basic philosophy: Yin/Yang. You cannot have one without the other. We need to embrace both side of the coin. That is my Jewish version of Taoism.

--Sensei Jay

“Enjoy life. You only have one shot.”


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