Mary Heiny seminar at CMU

Three Rivers Aikido

(314) 645-2345

Thoughts, notes, and updates by our Sensei Elliot Freeman.

by Three Rivers Aikido ]

As a teacher of Aikido for over thirty-five years I am always amazed at what experiences individual students take away from their dojo. I have noticed that depending on the age, gender and outlook of any particular pupil, each student walks away from each teacher and/or class with clearly different lessons, even though they all attended the same class. Whether we are observing O Sensei’s archived films, reading his writings or appreciating his calligraphy, the one constant element that all Aikido students experience is, a very compassionate yet powerful teaching. One without the other would be looked at by traditional Japanese aesthetics to be completely decadent, if not as useless as a Japanese sword that cannot cut. Even if a samurai sword had hundreds of hours of labor pored into it, (even if it would have the most beautiful tsugata (shape), hada (folding patterns), hamon (tempered edge), with all of the tsunegashi, ashi and other subtle beauty marks that a connoisseur of Japanese swords looks for) if it still could not cut accurately, it would be considered a worthless piece of metal.

by Three Rivers Aikido ]

One of my dojo’s mottos is, “Practice Makes Permanent”. Inside all good randori, a skilled aikidoka needs to practice constantly to create a playing field that is totally proactive and on the nage’s own terms. Throughout this book we will be minimizing the dangerous paradigm of training to be reactive as a response to being attacked. Instead we will work on developing an infrastructure to our proactive approach.

If the nage chooses to “react” when faced with multiple attackers, the nage is hampered with two basic problems: the first problem concerns Hick’s Law, ‘which states that a response time will be dangerously slow, given the problems of multiple decision making processes’ ( i.e. combination attacks and multiple attackers). The second is the problem of time itself: the time it takes to “react” simply takes too much time!

by Three Rivers Aikido ]

People throughout the world study Aikido for many different reasons. Every organization, every school, and even every Sensei has their own particular focus and emphasis of what they bring to their class and students. Some emphasize the spiritual or technical, while others emphasize slower, faster or more acrobatic training. Each instructor’s particular teaching curriculum reveals that Sensei’s distinct focus and interests in Aikido. This healthy diversity allows Aikido to take on many different expressions within O Sensei’s vision.

by Three Rivers Aikido ]

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