Winter intensive - January 2019

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”

hot coals

Blend With Your World

Winter Intensive January 2019

Winter Intensive is a time to renew our resolve to practice, to warm up our body in the cold of winter, and to come together with our fellow dojo members and support each other in making great strides in improving our Aikido.

This year's theme is Blend With Your World.

A key feature of Aikido, one that distinguishes it from most other martial arts, is the centrality of the concept of “Ai”. The kanji for ai:

in the context of budō, is often translated as blending, but can also mean joining, unifying, combining, or fitting. There is also a connotation of reciprocity.

How have you been interacting with the world as you travel through life? Do you angrily reject an event or situation that you dislike or find stressful? Do you ignore it and act as if it didn’t exist? What about the people with whom you disagree? Or do you instead acknowledge a painful reality as it exists, join with it, and seek a peaceful resolution? Is a resolution achieved by changing yourself, the other, or some combination? Are you aware of the opportunities for resolving conflict that present themselves throughout each day?

On the mat, resolution of a conflict is achieved by the blending, by the uniting of nage and uke along a shared path that dissipates the energy of the conflict. This reciprocal unification of movement is what allows nage to receive the energy of a violent attack and uke to receive the redirected energy of nage’s response without either party suffering injury.

During classes this month, we’ll study using the principle of “ai” to deal with situations beyond our usual formalized attacks and responses. We’ll start by dynamically sensing our partner’s energy and movements in our normal forms, then generalize this sensing to respond to non-standard attacks and responses. Possible topics include:

  • Kaeshi waza (technique reversal).

  • Jyu waza (free flowing technique) and randori.

  • Responses to attacks in confined spaces, such as against a wall.

All of our practices will offer opportunities to improve our ukemi and maintain a clear and supple connection between uke and 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. We invite you and challenge you to step up your training. In Japan, winter intensive is a time when people resolve to practice everyday. This January, come to the dojo as much as you can and mark your attendance for each class in which you participate. At the end of the month we’ll recognize the members who trained the most.

Beginning in January, the Wednesday evening Zazen practice will be held 7:15pm – 8:15pm.

Special dates:

Jan 1 Tue – Closed for New Years Day holiday

Jan 2 Wed – Resolve to Train! First classes of the new year, all levels

Jan 2 Wed – Fold a Crane. Origami folding activity for adults and children, runs concurrent with children’s class 4:45 - 6:15pm – Van Amburgh hosts

Jan 5 Sat. - Learn How to Fall Safely - with Van Amburgh Sensei

Jan 12 Sat – Dave Mata Sensei: self-defense workshop. Details forthcoming

Jan 14 Mon – Kagami Biraki + gathering (food and drink)

Jan 18-20 – Deskin Sensei seminar at Tacoma Aikikai

Jan 21 Mon – Closed for MLK Jr holiday

Jan 26 Sat – Dojo meeting and strategy session with consultant

Jan 28 Mon – Sword drawing (Iaido) Introduction - with Van Amburgh Sensei

Jan 31 Thu – Theme wrap up, demo/assessment

Feb 10 Sun – One day intensive with Fleshler Sensei