Tuesday night CU Aikido welcomed Allen Iu a sensei from Australia for a special weapons seminar right at home in our Columbia campus gym! This class focused on boken technique – how to hold, move, and cut with this Japanese sword. Thanks to our recent inventory expansion, all members were equipped and welcome to practice this ancient art.
The boken is a wooden blade - harmless in the hands of a beginner, lethal in master's. Heavy but swift, the boken is crafted for synaptic sudden motion. In addition to weapon technique training with boken also teaches balance in motion. A movement as simile stepping which is thoughtless open hand acquires subtly and method when welding this weighty weapon. The boken magnifies and exposes flaws in posture and motion, giving us pointers to keep in mind for any other practice.
Yet beyond this external practice, there is an internal development. Many people come to Aikido eager to learn how to roll and somersault, or how to submit an enemy with swift wristlocks. These are all standard parts of Aikido practice. But there is also an internal practice of awareness, serenity, control. How to relax. Blending with and moving through an enemy attack is perhaps not so different from blending with and moving through pressure from say midterms or an exam. At Tuesday night's special seminar, Allen sensei emphasized this internal aspect of Aikido. He described Aikido as something that can practiced throughout life as opposed to something just for young people to show off their destructive capacity. Beyond the sword slashing and skull bashing there is a higher lesson to be learned.
Congratulations to our club members Khanh Han and Chris Wang for being promoted to 6th Kyu and 5th Kyu belts, respectively!
On November 6th, aikidoda from the Aikido Kokikai NYC dojo, led by Rebecca Sievers Sensei, joined members of the Columbia Aikido club for a special “Women in Kokikai Aikido” class. The class gave younger female members a chance to practice with more experienced women in Kokikai and focused on incorporating the four basic principles of Kokikai Aikido (keeping one point, relaxing progressively, maintaining correct posture and exercising a positive mind) into the practice. Rebecca Sensei, along with Frank, Phil and Brendan Senseis, demonstrated various techniques, while explaining how the female beginners in the class could take advantage of Kokikai Aikido as a means of self-defense against bigger and stronger attackers.
Aikido is a particularly suitable martial art for women because it does not require physical strength, but rather the ability to exercise control over one’s partner, blend with their attack and redirect their energy. This type of engagement allows smaller partners, like women who might be smaller and less physically equipped, to be able to exercise techniques like Kokyo nage, which uses only timing and balance to defeat the opponent, without preliminary disadvantages in comparison to their male partners. Aikido differs from other martial arts in that there are no “opponents,” only partners. The relationship between the uke (the attacker or the one who gets thrown) and the nage (the person who performs the technique) can prove to be an agreeable form of self defense for women with dedication and continued practice.
We would like to thank our guests and the Senseis of Columbia Aikido club for the wonderful practice, and we look forward to the next collaborative class.