Category Archives: aikido

Aikido demonstration

Yesterday our dojo (Aikido of Plano) and Aikido of Dallas did an Aikido demonstration at the annual  Japanese Fall Festival (Aki Matsuri).  We started by showing the way a typical class is run, which allowed me and some of the other newer students to participate. We ran through 3 techniques. I was happy to find that I didn’t completely screw up. The mats were a little hard to move on, as they’d been heating up in the sun and were kind of sticky. But I think we did a good job.

After the “class” demonstration, some of the senior students had the chance to demonstrate some more advanced techniques. It is always great to see the really good Aikidoists practicing. Very smooth and powerful with dynamic throws. I shot a few pics for the gallery — click the image below of this very dynamic hip-throw to go to the gallery.


Fitness level

After moving into our house, I have spent a couple of weeks just doing odds and ends after work, trying to get everything settled. So I missed about two weeks of Aikido practice. I went back to practice Monday night, and was very pissed that my fitness level had just crumbled after two weeks of inactivity. My Aikido wasn’t really any worse, but the first two techniques just wore my ass out. So I resolved to really start working on my cardio. Aikido is an amazing workout, and skateboarding is good for balance, but neither is good for cardio.

 So I’ve got my bike out and been riding. I have a 1995 Giant ATX 750 mountain bike. Got some “city” tires put on it last year. The bike still works like a charm. Went out to the bike path that goes down to White Rock Lake. Didn’t ride the the loop around the lake, but the path down there is about 6 or 7 miles long. Went yesterday too. So that’s two 13 mile rides. Not bad. Gonna keep working on that on non-Aikido days.

Another good thing about Aikido

This week I went and practiced some flatland freestyle skateboarding for the first time in about 6 months. I skated great. Hadn’t lost anything. In fact, I skated better, and required practically no warm-up.

I credit 6 months of Aikido practice. The art has made me stronger, more agile, more flexible, and just improved my condition in general.

I’ve not been able to practice as much due to a sore knee, but that seems to be getting better. Last Saturday we did practice with the wooden sword. It was fun and fascinating, and started to reveal just how much of Aikido is based on swordsmanship. Very cool.

Aikido in Monterrey, Mexico

Next time we’re in Monterrey for a few days this might be a nice place to get in a training session for Aikido —

There’s a video from this dojo in my VodPod links — down in the right-hand sidebar.

Looks like they are part of the Mexican Aikido organization, which is a member of the International Aikido Federation, with which we are affiliated via the United States Aikido Federation. So it looks like we are all part of the same overall organization.

Balance and Flow

Just a note on Aikido. I need to pay a lot more attention to my balance and posture. When I try to execute a technique fast, I often feel off balance — exactly the opposite of what should be happening. I think I need to practice the moves a little bit slower, but try to keep my flow and balance. Kind of like good skateboarding — flow and balance. Smooth. But when I do hit an Aikido technique pretty good, man, it feels good. Amazing actually.

At this point, I think it is hard to keep good posture because I’m thinking about so many other aspects of the techniques. But as I get better with the basic movements — the footwork, direction, grips, etc. — I think I’ll be able to fine tune my posture, and move more powerfully from my center.

Some Aikido Books

Best Aikido 1

 Best Aikido 2I suppose most aikidoists know about these books, but I’m going to say a few things about them anyway. These are “Best Aikido” parts one and two, by Moriteru Ueshiba, the current Doshu of Aikido. I purchased these books when I began Aikido, and they’ve been very helpful. Each contains many techniques, all with pretty good sequential photographs and some instructions to help guide you through the moves. 

Best Aikido: the Fundamentals covers “the fundamentals”. I think it covers everything that is on most 5th Kyu tests.  The Aikido Master Course: Best Aikido 2 covers some more advanced techniques, including some weapon taking. It also gets into responses to the Yokomenuchi (side strike to the head) attack, which we worked on this week and seem a little more difficult.

The author suggests that you use these as a reference — something to review after you practice a technique in class. I have done just that, and it has been helpful. These books contain all the basic moves, omote and ura versions and other variations. There have been many times I’ve worked on a technique at practice but still felt a little confused about it. These books have cleared up a lot of questions.

Aikido techniques by Moriteru Ueshiba

Moriteru Ueshiba is the grandson of the founder or Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. He is the 3rd Doshu — essentially the worldwide leader or Aikido.

I found these video clips on I’m going to try to find out where to purchase these.

Moriteru Ueshiba 1 
Moriteru Ueshiba 2
Moriteru Ueshiba 3

And here is Moriteru Ueshiba 20 years ago — very smooth!

Aikido weapons practice

I haven’t been writing that much about Aikido lately, but I’ve been going to class regularly. In fact, I just hit my 3 month mark. It is going pretty well. I feel like the techniques I’ll need to know for the 5th kyu are coming along pretty well.  At least well enough that in a few months I’ll be ready for 5th kyu. It is my understanding that it takes years to really, really master even the simple techniques, and I believe it. There are subtleties in Aikido techniques that you just can’t grasp quickly. And to actually use them in a flowing way, well, that is a long-term goal.

Last night was the first time I’ve been in a practice where we used weapons. We used the Jo last night — the wooden staff. Shiba Sensei began by teaching us how to do a proper attack with the weapon. Having never touched the Jo before, even this was not easy to get right, but I think I did OK. Then we moved into some techniques for disarming/throwing someone attacking with the Jo. Pretty cool stuff. I didn’t do too bad. A few times I actually felt like I hit the move really well — to where I could feel a little power in the throw without using a lot of muscle. The rest of the time, well, I got through the techniques, which I’m happy about. Like everything else, practice is required.

Before this session I wasn’t really that interested in the weapons techniques, but now I’m kind of excited about them. Looking forward to learning more.

aikido, life, and other stuff

It’s been a while since I posted here. I’ve actually been experimenting with a blog on my other website, writing mostly about Aikido, which I started last month. The weather has been horrible, so no skateboarding. I’m taking the 2nd part of beginning Spanish at the local community college. That’s twice a week and Aikido twice a week. So I’m busy.

I’m still sort of torn between continuing to use WordPress and this free blog environment or go completely back to my other Moveable Type stuff. The nice thing about WordPress is the spam control. It really works well. I also like the built-in community here and stat tracking. I also like the “blogroll” feature here. On the other hand, I am really good at customizing Moveable Type, and I prefer its categorization system. Overall I think the convenience of WordPress my outweigh the customization of MT. When I find the time I may download WordPress and install it on my server and see what I can do with it.

Aikido Seminar

This last weekend I attended my first Aikido seminar at Aikido of Dallas.

The weather was horrible as I drove down there Friday, after work. I arrived, got changed, and stretched out. Mike Abrams Sensei, from New York, gave that first class of the weekend. We did a lot of stuff I hadn’t done before, so it was a little confusing. However, it was good to get exposed to some new techniques, even if I didn’t totally get them. We did a cool version of Nikyo — one with the Nage sitting and Uke standing. Very cool. Continue reading

Some techniques

The last couple of classes I and another relatively new student have practiced some of the basic Aikido techniques while the advanced students work on more advanced stuff. So I’ve gotten some addition practice with Shomenuchi Irminage, Shomenuchi Ikkyo (omote and uru), and Katatedori Kotegaishi.

At last night’s practice I got my first taste of Nikkyo, a wrist lock. Potentially very painful, haha! We did and exercise where we transitioned from Katatedori Nikkyo to Shihonage and finally to Iriminage. I also started learning to apply the Sankyo wrist twisting technique and pin. Cool.

Saturday practice

Gonna try to remember some of the techniques we practiced last Saturday and make some notes. In general, I feel like I need clarification on the omote versions of these. Of course, I need tons of work on all of them. In particular, I have trouble with the first step of the omote versions – which foot to lead with. I guess it’ll all come with time.

Saturday we had a guest instructor, and I was lucky to get to practice a lot with our Sensei, who was very patient.

Suwari Waza — Shomenuchi Ikkyo — omote and ura.
Shomenuchi Ikkyo
Shomenuchi Iriminage
Katatetori Kotegaeshi – omote and ura: Need clarification on omote vs. ura versions.
Katatetori Shihonage – omote and ura: I am less clear on the omote version. Need to review the entry part.