Aikido’Ka October Dojo Calendar of Events

Here is the Aikido’Ka calendar of events for October:

Test Prep. Week: Monday, October 9 – Friday, October 13

Friday, 6 – Sunday, 8 — I’ll be attending Michael Friedl Sensei’s seminar at Aikido Central Coast in San Luis Obispo. If you want to ride with me, let me know. Mark will be in town, so we’ll be having our regular weekend classes.

Tuesday, 3 — Test Prep. Day

Monday, 9 – Youth Ranks: 10th, 9th, & 8th Kyu Seminar @ 4:15 pm, Adult Beginner Seminar, 8th Kyu – 5th Kyu @ 5:30 pm

Tuesday, 10 — Youth Ranks: 7th, 6th, & 5th Kyu Seminar, @ 4:15 pm, Adult Intermediate Seminar: 3rd and 4th Kyu @ 5:30 pm

Wednesday, 11 — Youth Ranks: 4th & 3rd Kyu Seminar @ 4:15 pm, Adult Advanced Seminar: 1st & 2nd Kyu @ 7:00 pm

Thursday, 12 –Adult Beginner Weapons Seminar @ 5:30 pm

Saturday, 14 — Adult Black Belt Seminar @ 9:00 am; Women’s Class @ Noon

Wednesday, 18 — Test Prep. Day

Monday, 23 — Test Prep. Day

Tuesday, 24 — Testing and Demo Day; Youth Class @ 4pm Adult Class @ 5:30pm

Video: Evan Strong’s Uneven 325-Pound Deadlift

Here’s a quick video (33 seconds) of Evan Strong doing not just any 325-pound deadlift. He expects there to be 22-pounds of chain on each end of the bar. But, the chain fell off one end — and he doesn’t know it. If you’ve ever done an uneven deadlift, then you know this is *really* difficult.

Evan won a gold medal in the 2014 Sochi Paralympics. He’s a remarkable athlete. He’s also a really nice guy.





Video: Sydney Defends Herself from a Knife Attack

Sydney’s been a student of mine for about 8 years now, since she was 12. Sydney is absolutely delightful. Everyone at the dojo adores her. On the mat, Sydney has tons of fun and her aikido is extremely effective. She’s as fast as greased lightening.

Here’s Sydney’s story about when someone came at her with a knife. That was a mistake!

A lot of people say that aikido is not martially effective. I’m reminded of something Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan says about that. Ikeda Shihan says that the question is not whether aikido is effective. The question is whether *your* aikido is effective. Ikeda Shihan’s is and Sydney’s is, at least it was on that night. That’s what matters.

Practice for your art to be effective and it will be. Practice otherwise and you’ll get something else. At Aikido’Ka, we practice martially effective aikido in a safe, fun, friendly atmosphere.

And I’m so, so happy that Sydney is safe.

The video is 2:30.

Kiais Save the Day!

O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba shouts a kiai

In 2011, Stan Pranin wrote an article about having an experience on a train that he resolved with a kiai. For those of you who don’t know, a “kiai” is the martial shout that we’ve all seen in movies and TV shows.

Briefly, Stan was on a train in Tokyo, Japan in the 1980s. At the other end of the train, two men started fighting. Before long, one man was clearly dominating the other. The other man was getting pretty seriously beaten and bloodied. The aggressor grabbed the other fellow by the hair and collar and began banging his head against the vertical, metal column. Obviously, this was getting really bad. No one was doing anything about it.

Without thought, Stan jumped up and ran to the other end of the car. Neither man saw him coming. Stan stopped a few feet away from the men and gave the loudest kiai shout he could. The aggressor looked at him in shock and backed away.

Stan then carefully took the other man away and into another train car. By this time the train had come into a station and stopped. Stan took the fellow off the train. The man said he was OK and left.

I have several kiai stories, absolutely none as exciting as Stan’s. The each go something like this: I am walking on the sidewalk. As I approach the corner, a pedestrian ahead of me is starting to cross the street. A car pulls up to the corner and the driver is looking to make the turn. The driver doesn’t see the pedestrian. The pedestrian continues to cross the street oblivious to being seconds from being run over.

Noticing this, I shout very loudly “No,” or “Stop”, or even just a kiai. The response is pretty much always the same. Everyone on the street stops. People walking on the other side of the street stop. If people are driving slowly they stop. The pedestrian stops, looks around, and sees that he or she was about to be run over, and then looks at me. The driver who is about to turn stops, looks around and realizes that he/she was about to run someone over and then looks at me. I just smile and shrug and keep walking. Promptly everyone goes back to their business with no one getting run over.

I’ve shouted several “saving” kiais several times and they’ve worked every time.

Cool, huh?

When I started training in martial arts, I never had any idea that kiais could be for other peoples’ benefit.

Have you had this sort of thing happen?

O’Sensei Kokynage GIF

When I was making a video showing all of the strikes O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba used in his 1935 movie “Budo”atemi, my son Alex thought it would be cool to make a GIF of O’Sensei doing a technique. Here’s the GIF, a kokunage O’Sensei in that movie.

That’s quite the kokyunage, isn’t it!

For those who do not know it, kokyunage means “breath throw.” It’s a catch-all name for throws where nage basically moves through uke using the breath. Kokyunage can be very gentle or powerful, depending on the circumstances.


Video: Strikes by O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba

O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba said something to the effect that aikido is largely entering and striking — irimi/atemi. That gave me the idea to go through the Founder’s videos and check out the atemis. I’ve made a brief video (about 1:33) showing all of O’Sensei’s atemis in his 1935 movie “Budo.”

I expect to create more videos as I go through the films.

I hope you enjoy this.


September’s Calendar of Events

September Events, Testing and Prep. Dates

Test Prep. Week: Monday, September 11 – Thursday, September 14

Tuesday, 5 — Test Prep. Day

Saturday, 9 — Adult Black Belt Seminar @ 9:00am

Monday, 11 – Youth Ranks: 10th, 9th, & 8th Kyu Seminar @ 4:15 pm, Adult Beginner Seminar, 8th Kyu – 5th Kyu @ 5:30 pm

Tuesday, 12 — Youth Ranks: 7th, 6th, & 5th Kyu Seminar, @ 4:15 pm, Adult Intermediate Seminar: 3rd and 4th Kyu @ 5:30 pm

Wednesday, 13 — Youth Ranks: 4th & 3rd Kyu Seminar @ 4:15 pm, Adult Advanced Seminar: 1st & 2nd Kyu @ 7:00 pm

Thursday, 14 – Dojo Leadership Meeting (Senior Students) @ 7:00 pm

Saturday, 16 — Women’s Class @ Noon

Wednesday, 20 — Test Prep. Day

Friday, 22 – Sunday, 24 – The 3rd Annual Friendship Seminar is happening at Aikido of Roseville. The Senseis are Chuck Hauk, Dan Messisco, and Yoshi Shibata. I am planning on attending the entire seminar, as I expect Mark is planning. So, we won’t be having classes on Saturday or Sunday.

Monday, 25 — Test Prep. Day

Wednesday, 27 — Testing and Demo Day; Youth Class @ 4pm Adult Class @ 5:30pm

Friday, 29 – Sunday, Oct. 1 – 10th Annual Tahoe Aikido Seminar, with Linda Holiday Sensei and Richard Strozzi Heckler Sensei. I am planning on attending the Saturday session of this seminar. I expect that Mark will be attending the entire seminar. So, we won’t be having classes on Saturday or Sunday.


Rescheduled: Gideon Haimovitz’s Shodan Exam

Gideon Haimovitz’s shodan test (first degree black belt) will be Saturday, November 11, 2017, around 10 am, Gideon Haimovitz will be doing his shodan exam. The exam is during Craig Fife Sensei’s seminar, November 10 – 12, 2017.

Gideon is a long-time student of Aikido’Ka, going on 8 years. Everyone who knows Gideon thinks the world of him and he’s immense fun to train with. He’s been preparing very diligently and his exam will be amazing.

Gideon is the third home-grown black belt for me, after Gabriel Cuppet and Ian Isbell. Both Gabriel and Ian did amazing tests. I expect Gideon’s to be the best yet.

Everyone is welcome to watch, at no charge. If you want to train during the seminar (which you really ought to do!), click here to register.

Craig Fife Sensei Seminar is November 10-12, 2017

We’ve rescheduled Craig Fife Sensei’s seminar to November 10 – 12, 2017. Our good friend Gideon Haimovitz will do his shodan test on Saturday morning, November 11, at about 10 am.

Many folks will know Craig Sensei from being one of the Aiki Summer Retreat headliners. He’s an extraordinary aikido instructor and an absolutely first-rate person. You will enjoy yourself and learn a tremendous amount at this seminar. Please join us!

Craig Fife Sensei is the founder and chief instructor of Aikido Northwest. Since 2013, Fife Sensei has been one of the headliners of Aiki Summer Retreat, with Michael Friedl Shihan and Kimberly Richardson Sensei. He began his aikido training in 1973 in Boise, Idaho. Fife Sensei currently holds the rank of Rokudan (6th degree black belt), from the Aikikai Foundation, Aikido World Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan. This rank was awarded to him by his teacher, Frank Doran Shihan.

In addition to Fife Sensei’s personal study of Aikido, he has been actively teaching Aikido since 1980. Fife Sensei has also been a student of Iaido since 1990 and currently holds the rank of Nidan (2nd degree black belt) from the All United States Kendo Federation. Fife Sensei is a member of the California Aikido Association Teaching Committee.

For more info and to register for the seminar, click here.

No Aikido Classes this Weekend

The California Aikido Association twice annual Friendship Training is this weekend, so we won’t be having classes Friday – Sunday (August 25 – 27). If you want to join in the fun, we’ll be at Aikido West in Redwood City on Saturday and Sunday. The instructors on Saturday are Frank Doran Shihan and Calvin Koshiyama Sensei. That will be great.