"Sense What's Behind You" - January 2018 Winter Intensive

Sense What’s Behind You

There is a tradition in the Japanese martial arts of training intensively for a period of time in the coldest part of the winter: "winter keiko"

There is a tradition in the Japanese martial arts of training intensively for a period of time in the coldest part of the winter: "winter keiko"


January Winter Intensive is a time to renew your resolve to practice, to warm up your internal engine in the cold of winter, to come together with your fellow dojo members and support each other in taking a significant jump in progress.  




This year's theme is Sense What’s Behind You. 



I invite you to consider the meaning both literally and figuratively.


Sense what you’ve come through and come to in your life. How has your history brought you to the opportunity now before you? What is coming to completion? What are you grateful for? Consider lineage. Who has come before you and who is coming up behind you. What is your responsibility to your sempai and your kohai. What is behind you can also refer to something that’s hidden from you (ura), something you are unaware of, yet is nearby. I invite you to set your intention to become aware of something you've been unaware of.

On the mat, we’ll study ushiro waza and koshinage providing you with the opportunity to sense the position of uke behind you. In ukemi, I invite you to sense the space behind you, the shape of your spine as nage leads you, the shape of the space as you reach for the ground and take your roll or slide in for a pin. 

  • Ushiro waza includes ushiro ryotedori, ryokatadori, eridori, kubishime, hijitori. These attacks from behind offer the opportunity to develop a keen sense of what’s behind you and how to shift position to lead uke clearly. The accelerated motion of ushiro waza allows you to warm up your center, sweat, get a good work-out and feel your internal heat meet the cold winter air as you exit the dojo.
  • Koshinage offers the study of sensing the space behind you and positioning uke clearly for the hip throw.
  • Ura techniques provide opportunity to set intention to enter into uke’s blind spot.
  • All of these practices offer opportunities to improve ukemi and maintain clear connection with nage.

The new year is an excellent time to renew our commitment to training, look in the mirror (kagami), break our old habits (biraki) and resolve to improve ourselves. I invite you and challenge you to step up your training. In Japan, winter intensive is a time period when people resolve to practice everyday. This January, come to the dojo as much as you can and mark your attendance every day that you come in. At the end of the month we’ll recognize the members who trained the most.


Overview by day of the week:

Mondays, 12:30pm classes, core theme, Van Amburgh Sensei

Mondays, 6:15pm classes (Jan 8, 22, 29):  Koshinage series, Sheedy Sensei

Tuesdays, 6:15pm classes: fundamentals/ core theme, Van Amburgh Sensei

Tuesdays, 7:30pm classes, weapons theme, Van Amburgh Sensei

Wednesdays, 12:30pm practices, Greg Corbin

Wednesdays, 6:15pm classes: core theme, Oliva Sensei

Wednesdays, 7:30p, Zazen practice, Oliva Sensei

Thursdays, 6:15pm classes: intermediate level open to 4th kyu + above, Van Amburgh Sensei.

Thursdays, 7:20pm weekly check-in meeting dojo admin/operations

Thursdays 7:30pm classes: weapons theme 36 jo basics, Van Amburgh Sensei

Saturdays, 10:30am classes, fundamentals/ core theme, Van Amburgh Sensei

Saturdays, noon special subjects (open to the public):

Jan 6, Sat noon: Learn How To Fall Safely - Van Amburgh

Jan 13, Sat: The Balance Challenge Circuit Training Course - Van Amburgh

Jan 20, Sat noon: Embodied Customer Insight - Sabine Amend

Jan 27, Sat noon: Learn How To Fall Safely  (encore event) - Van Amburgh


Special dates:

Jan 1 closed for New Years Day holiday

Jan 2 Tue, Resolve to Train! First class of the new year, all levels (not advanced)

Jan 4 Thursdays, (intermediate class, 4th kyu+): theme kick-off

Jan 6, Sat, noon: Learn How To Fall Safely - Van Amburgh

Jan 10 Wed: Fold a Crane, Origami folding activity for adults and children, runs concurrent with kids class 4:45 - 6:15pm - Van Amburgh hosts

Jan 13, Sat noon: The Balance Challenge Circuit Training Course - Van Amburgh

Jan 15, Mon: closed for MLK Jr holiday

Jan 17, Wed: Kagami Biraki + gathering (food and drink)

Jan 20, Sat noon: Sabine Amend special guest

Jan 27, Sat noon: Learn How To Fall Safely

Feb 1, Thu: Theme wrap up, demo/assessment

Feb 4, Sun, Master Class with Fleshler Sensei


Calendar View: Link to a calendar style overview


Weather Notes:

Winter weather can be unpredictable and disrupt our plans. This month, let’s build our resilience and practice our adaptability. Specially scheduled events may need to be rescheduled or cancelled. Let’s improve our communication systems to keep each other informed and help each other out through the month.

Check Upcoming Dates page if you’re wondering whether class is on. We’ll post a notification as soon as we make the determination. Please save the link and check often: http://tinyurl.com/aikidodates.

Check for the latest Portland weather forecast: