Notes from the Connecticut Seminar

The enthusiasm and energy of the Zenshinkai Aikido Association’s Connecticut seminar was was palpable. Beginning on Friday night, Yanagi Aikido’s mat was brimming with student. The emphasis of the seminar was very much on ‘kihon waza’ and the adaptation of these basic forms to allow for applications of the underlying principles (oyo waza). Throughout the weekend, we returned to three foundational concepts again and again – committed attacks, deliberate body movement and clear balance-taking.

The pace Noble Sensei set for the seminar was an aggressive one. Blessed with an unusually warm March weekend, all found themselves pleasantly sweaty from the continued exertion. We moved along quickly, building technique upon technique, moving from grabs to strikes and back again. As the seminar continued along, the intensity of training became most evident in the grateful, but decidedly quiet intermissions between classes. Students chose rest over chatter – testimony to a rigorous workout.

As the hours of training accrued, students inevitably came up against those familiar barriers we all practice to move beyond – the fatigue, the soreness, and of course the overwhelming confusion of having so much Aikido thrown at us in such a short period of time. Yet the benches remained largely empty except during breaks and students new and old pushed on.

Morning zazen saw an equal commitment of students as the Zendo was set up two rows deep on either side. For many, this was a first experience with zazen and the nature of this training set the stage nicely for the dynamic Aikido that would come later in the day.

The seminar was also a time of good friendship. The group dinner was a time of friendly conversation, hearty laughter and noisy children playing games in the background. Friends enjoyed a much needed rest and refueling together after a long day’s training. In particular a debt of gratitude to Null Sensei for traveling all the way from River Valley Aikikai in Arkansas. And of course to Johnson Sensei and the members of Jikishinkan Dojo whose steadfast support of Connecticut events is always greatly appreciated. There were also to a handful of participants from outside the ZAA, some old friends, some new faces, who reminded us that our extended Aikido community is broad and far reaching.

We look forward to seeing you at the next event.

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