It's All About Posture - Hayley Nicholls, 4th Kyu
I honestly didn't think that I would find as much enjoyment in aikido as I did in jujitsu, as I do tend to favour some if the more aggressive techniques!
However, after grading I started to feel things fall into place for me, the posture, the technique names and ideas behind aikido. With the trip to Kobe already booked, I felt that I should train harder, so I wouldn't let Brian and Ako down. I still can't do head stands though I tried to perfect them before Kobe.
During the trip to Kobe was where I found my real love for aikido, getting up and training early morning left me with a great feeling everyday and I could really feel the techniques working.
I can see now that posture us really much more important than I first realized, techniques just won't work if your posture is wrong and technique doesn't seem to be working, that's when people can be tempted to use strength instead of posture. I also find that everything us so much more relaxed and free to flow in aikido, it's a beautiful feeling to rake ukemi or perform a waza if you use the correct techniques.
Since returning from Kobe, I have missed being able to practice everyday in the morning, I think it us a great way to start the day if you can, unfortunately work gets in the way.
I was also greatly inspired by watching the dan gradings and Nakao sensei demonstrating defenses against 2 attackers. I now have a much better understanding of how aikido works and aspire to be much better in the future. I hope to return to Kobe to train again.
Billy Knowles, 4th Kyu
Having the opportunity to visit Japan and train with Seibukan Kobe was a great addition to the regular Aikido and meant that I got to spend some more time with the Aikido group To balance this essay up, I’ll talk about gradings, I’m not a big fan of gradings, It’s not just gradings, it’s tests or exams in general, I’m sure the more I do of them the more comfortable I will be with them and again this is all part of the experience of training, learning and becoming better skilled
Bad Aikido - Peter Landsberg, 3rd Kyu
I’ve been studying aikido for a few years now and, while I’ll happily admit I’m a long way from being an expert, I like to think I’ve trained long enough to know when things are “different” and when things are “wrong” or “less effective”. The majority of my training has been with Seibukan but I have also trained on occasion with people from different clubs who often have different styles. I like to think I generally come away from this with a new idea or two I want to experiment with, even if the conclusion is that I struggle to make them work as well as the way we normally do things!
This does give me one problem though; I have always been convinced that we learn excellent aikido at Seibukan but I haven’t seen the other end of the scale so I can’t know just how good it is. I always hope I’ll find more time to train with the club and, when (not if!) I finally manage that, I’d like to add to it by going to more seminars and the odd session with other clubs every once in a while. I go to these expecting them to be good and so far they have been. Hopefully I’ll continue to understand what they’re teaching well enough to find more ideas to play with, whether they stick or not.
Maybe one day I’ll find that elusive lesson which doesn’t compare to what I’m used to. If I can leave that lesson with just one thing I can take away to practice further and a whole new appreciation for what we learn at Seibukan, then I’ll be a happy student.
Tony Epps, 3rd Kyu
The first being our trip to Kobe where we were lucky enough to train for a full week with Nakao Sensei’s instruction and some wonderful Aikidoka. In truth I would struggle to pick out more than a few distinct techniques that we learned specifically on the trip however I (along with most of the group) felt that my Aikido (posture, form etc) certainly improved.
This related directly to the second event, that being Nakao Sensei’s visit to the UK along with the club gradings. This normally taking place later in the year caused a little concern amongst some as it was to be several months early and there was worry over attendance and practice time.
This turned out to be an unnecessary concern and the gradings went ahead with good results.
Unfortunately I missed this due to inescapable work commitments however I was allowed to grade the next day at the seminar.
This felt like more of a challenge in some respects as I would be taking my grading not only in front of members of our club but also others from elsewhere in the UK. It was, however, an enjoyable experience (last minute injury not withstanding) and I am grateful that I got the chance to go ahead.
I feel I have developed both myself as a martial artist and my understanding of aikido over the last 18 months - I look forward to continuing my journey.
Daryl Gillham, 3rd Kyu
Shin Bateman (age 13), 3rd Kyu
Mila Bouzidi, 2nd Kyu
When I was twelve years old and started my last year at the primary school, we had a new after school club called "the self-defence". I joined it and to my great surprise I enjoyed it immensely. After finishing the last year I went to a different school and the club became just a distant memory. After starting my university studies I found out that the head teacher of the PT department at the University was exactly the same teacher that had run the club six years ago. I also found out that he did aikido. Unfortunately, I was not able to take part in his aikido club at that time. However, when I moved to Prague after finishing the University I decided to have a go and try aikido - and that is how I started. Since then aikido has become a part of my life. Once I stopped training for about a year but I missed it so much I had to start again.
For this reason I started to look for an aikido club as soon as I moved to Milton Keynes. And I am very happy and grateful that I have found such a wonderful club with so many marvellous people. Thank you all for accepting me.
Joe Szmutko, 1st Kyu
Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children.
And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers.
And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.
Shinji Yamashita, 1st Dan
そうやって切り取られた1 コマ1 コマを見ていくと、「ああ、この体の遣い方、やっぱり素晴らしいなぁ」と思わせてくれる写真が、そして被写体の動きが、後から後から見つかってきます。と同時に、「あ！こんな動きをしていたのか！」と、肉眼や動画では見えにくい一瞬が、そこに切り取られていたりします。たまには「失敗」や「手抜き」なんかも写っていたりすることがあって、それはそれでとても勉強になります。
2014 年6 月 せいぶ館英国 山下慎治
Mark Langdon-Jones, 1st Dan
All I had to do was to learn the technique, practice it and then perfect it. As I progressed and graded my skills improved, but I began to realise that the more I practiced, there was even more to learn and the perfecting of the techniques seemed ever further away and more diverse.
Other people, especially within my family noticed that as I practiced more, my temperament had begun to change, I had started to become a lot calmer as an individual more at peace with myself which was a godsend to most! I began to enjoy practice more and more. My sensei encouraged my development at every stage.
I had not thought about attaining shodan. It was something that might happen one day, until it became apparent that it might be offered to me at the next opportunity.
However at that point things changed for me, it became a challenge to attain the required number of keiko and to attain the required standard in order to grade. Attending practice after practice, watching videos of technique, memorizing mechanical movement. It became a quiet obsession. Enjoyment of practice gradually began to diminish and at times it became a chore. My temperament changed back, less patient, short tempered, people noticed. I had focus. I had to achieve my goal.
The day of the grading. I waited, was called, carried out everything that was asked and then it was over. I had performed to the standard required and when it was announced I was grateful and honoured to be awarded shodan.
Inwardly however I felt that something was missing, something in me. As I had watched others grade for nidan and sandan I began to reflect and quickly realise what it was. I hadn’t gained a focus, Ironically I had lost it. I had become obsessed with achieving a grade and lost focus on what aikido had given me.
Aikido is not just a series of techniques; it is a pathway along which you travel through practice. As you travel and practice you learn and progress and realise that the techniques and gradings are just part of the journey not the sheer focus. The pathway changes with time and you change and develop with it. Once you see it as just mechanical you can’t develop and stop growing.
Yes I have achieved shodan but I have learnt so much more by attaining it than techniques alone and hopefully my journey is just at the beginning.
Mushin (No Mind) - Marc Davies, 2nd Dan
Peter Gombala, 2nd Dan
Apart from the practical part of Aikido, I’ve also been very passionate and interested in its background, linked to the past and origins, which sometimes slips beyond relevance diverting me into Japanese ancient history connected with great generals and battles well known from Japanese historical records like Kojiki or Nihon Shoki.
Basically, since I started Aikido in my teens I’ve always strived to do as much research as I possibly could trying to understand relevance between past and presence with coherence and influence of art to its main predecessors.
Not only martial but also discovering other crucial aspects taking important roles throughout the centuries in Japanese history provided intellectual part of me with very interesting insight helping my growth from different angle too.
All of these creates one part in my development on my way of AIKI which always has been very enjoyable and exciting part for me and revealed many interesting answers to what I love so much – “ AIKIDO “
Bryan Bateman, 3rd Dan
After 4 years my practice took me to Japan, which in turn led me to my wife, who, despite not even knowing anything about Aikido at the time somehow led me to Nakao sensei. Over the last 19 years I have not been able to spend anywhere near the amount of time with Nakao sensei as I would like, nor anywhere near as much as some are able to. This just makes every moment that I do get to spend with him quite precious. Every time I meet Nakao sensei now, whether it is on the mat, or just sitting on a train or in his restaurant, his genuine Aikido baka character continues to inspire and fire that interest I first had 23 years ago. After 23 years training, and as I approach 50, I find myself practicing more than I have ever done before, for that I blame………and thank Nakao sensei. His drive and passion are truly an inspiration, to just practice Aikido as much as possible whilst continuing to have fun.