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The Seidokan Communicator Aikido for a Modern Way of Life
New Annual Individual Dues Policy
Over its 17 year history, funding of the Seidokan organization and personnel has been through two major sources: Annual dojo dues and seminar honorarium to Kobayashi Sensei. With Sensei’s passing, this latter source of funding has been reduced greatly, with the result that it has become difficult to fulfill financial obligations associated with the day to day functioning of the organization. This topic was discussed by dojo chief instructors at the 1996 and 1997 summer camps. As a result, a new policy for annual individual dues was proposed at the 1998 meeting of dojo chief instructors. After a thorough discussion, those present unanimously endorsed the new proposal of individual membership dues of $30 per year. It is believed that the collection of annual individual dues will help the organization meet its financial obligations, function more efficiently, and provide capital for future growth of the organization. Beginning in September 1998, dues for the 1999 year will be collected by dojo instructors and forwarded along with an individual information sheet. Each individual will then receive a membership card. The card serves as proof of membership in Seidokan and entitles the card holder to following benefits: limited practice at free or reduced rates at other Seidokan dojos, reduced rates for Seidokan camps and seminars four quarterly issues of the Seidokan Communicator newsletter an annual directory of Seidokan members the right to be tested and ranked in Seidokan Aikido, and eligibility for dan rank within Seidokan 6. Seidokan booklets (2nd edition Introduction to Aikido and Glossary of Terms) in the first year 7. Seidokan booklet (2nd edition of Shodo-o-seisu) in the second year 8. Seidokan booklet (2nd edition of Aiki Kengi and Jogi) in the third year 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
At this time, it is uncertain how much revenue will be raised by the collection of membership dues. In keeping with Seidokan’s policy of dojo autonomy, dues payment is not necessary for membership or practice at any of the Seidokan dojos. If 200 members pay annual dues of $30, the increased revenue will be $6,000. If more money is raised, it is hoped that the additional funds may be used for worthy projects designed to facilitate the spread of Seidokan Aikido. An annual accounting of membership dues will be provided by the Seidokan organization. The goal
annual accounting of membership dues will be provided by the Seidokan organization. The goal of Seidokan Aikido is to provide a framework for individual growth of its members through balanced training and application of Aikido principles. It is hoped that the additional revenue generated by individual dues will help the organization better meet that goal and realize its vision for the future.
Seidokan Family Tree
by Doug Wedell Seidokan Aikido is now in its 18th year. This article exams the lineage of Seidokan Aikido. Like all modern schools of Aikido, Seidokan traces its roots to the creative genius of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido and known as O-sensei (great teacher). O-sensei was a man of great intensity, who fervently pursued two disciplines: the martial way of life (Budo) and the spiritual life of a devoutly religious individual. Through arduous training, he became proficient in many of the martial arts of his day, especially focusing on Daito Ryu Jujitsu. However, he became aware that his pursuit of Budo was in conflict with his spiritual and religious pursuit of universal peace, love, and harmony. He attempted to resolve this conflict by intensifying his studies and meditations. As a result of his intensive study, he experienced a spiritual enlightenment in which he felt himself become one with nature, with the universe itself. From his experience, he declared that true budo was based on Banyo Aigo no Seishin, the spirit of loving protection for all things, and that the goal of the Budoka was Masa Katsu Agatsu, true victory through victory over oneself. Having experienced this enlightened vision, O-sensei resolved to develop a discipline that in essence joined the principles of harmony, love, and peace with the application of Budo. The violent, deadly, and crippling techniques he had learned were thus transformed into more humane movements in which the nage could exercise the sword to let live (Katsujin Ken) and show true compassion for the attacker. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, he referred to the new art as Aikibudo. In 1942, while Japan was engaged in a violent world conflict, O-sensei elected to have the official name of the art changed to Aikido, the way of harmony with nature. The dropping of the "bu" at that time may be interpreted as a further distancing of the new art from the violence associated with traditional martial arts. Although O-sensei began his quest toward the perfection of Aikido in the 1920’s, he admitted that the art was constantly developing and changing. In a 1950’s newsletter, he was quoted as telling his students that he had created over 3,000 arts, but these were but empty shells. He encouraged his students to continue to develop themselves in the spirit of constant progress. His simple guidelines for Aikido training were to train the mind, body, and ki that unifies them to harmonize with the activities of the universe. These three aspects of training were to be combined rather than focused on separately.
O-Sensei Aikido Principles of Aikido Ki, the binding force of mind and body Aikido Doka
combined rather than focused on separately. Certainly by the 1960’s, O-sensei was no longer very involved in the instruction of students directly. Rather, it was his senior students who took on the responsibility of spreading Aikido. Tohei Sensei From this time until the end of his life, O-sensei continued to refine his art and rigorously pursue the life of a spiritually Shinshin Toitsu Aikido enlightened individual. Thus, he taught through the example he Principles of Aikido through lived. One of the most outstanding of O-sensei’s students was Koichi Unification of Mind and Body Tohei Sensei. Tohei Sensei was entrusted with spreading Aikido to Ki Development America through several trips in the 1950’s and 1960’s, first to Hawaii Kiatsuho and then to the mainland. He also became the chief instructor at the headquarters dojo. What distinguished Tohei Sensei most, however, was his approach to teaching Aikido. He saw that the physical arts performed by O-sensei were merely the expression of the deeper universal principles. Without an understanding of the principles, the arts were meaningless. Thus, he began teaching not just the form of the art, but also the principles behind the arts. Perhaps his most famous contribution was the development of the four principles to coordinate mind and body which he summarized as: 1) Keep one point, 2) Relax completely, 3) Extend ki, and 4) Keep weight underside. Tohei Sensei taught these principles to thousands of students who appreciated their applicability to developing a deeper understanding of the arts. Tohei Sensei also refined and systematized the Aiki Taiso (Harmony exercises), emphasizing their role in developing mind-body coordination. After O-sensei’s death in 1969, differences in philosophy led to a splintering of Aikido into many different schools. Tohei Sensei formed the Ki Society and Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido (Aikido with mind and body coordinated) in an effort to pursue the teaching of principles. His school of Aikido continues in Japan and across the world under his tutelage. It is out of this training tradition that Seidokan Aikido grew. The founder of Seidokan Aikido, Rod Kobayashi Sensei, was for a time the Chief Instructor of the Kobayashi Sensei Western United States for Ki Society and Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido. Kobayashi Sensei’s unique cross-cultural experiences and Seidokan Aikido Balanced practice of mind, devotion to unifying the principles, arts, and training methods of body and ki for a modern way Aikido within the spirit of constant progress served as the foundation for the establishment of Seidokan Aikido. Although an American, born of life Relating Aiki taiso to Aikido in Hawaii, Rod Kobayashi spent his youth in wartime Japan under the guidance of his grandfather, a Buddhist priest. He returned to America Applications of doka as a teenager, completing his education and then serving in the armed Aiki Ryoho forces. His interest in Aikido was first fostered by his father, who was instrumental in bringing Tohei Sensei to America in 1953. In 1957, Kobayashi Sensei began training in Aikido, studying under several skilled instructors. He was especially impressed with Tohei Sensei and trained whenever possible under him. The year 1968 was a pivotal one for Kobayashi Sensei. First, he made the important decision to turn professional and devote his life and career to Aikido. He spent much of that year training in Japan, and as a Yondan was one of two American born individuals certified to teach at the Japanese Headquarters Dojo. During that year he witnessed firsthand the art of O-sensei. When O-sensei bowed low to him and thanked him for spreading
When O-sensei bowed low to him and thanked him for spreading Aikido in America, he realized the path of humbleness that the master truly embraced. Interestingly, the foundation for many of the changes in the Aikido arts that he would later develop occurred because of an injury he experienced during training that year. He found that with his injured shoulder, he could not raise his arm very high during practice. Rather than hinder his practice of arts such as kokyunage, he found that the techniques tended to work better when he used a smaller circle. This experience served the germ for developing the present day kokyunage and enkei nage found in Seidokan Aikido. These arts exemplify how Aikido can be used to calm the situation down through use of minimal force. Their virtues include reduced likelihood of injury to the attacker, greater efficiency so that little physical strength is required, and greater speed of execution so that they may be applied in realistic attack situations. In 1970, Kobayashi Sensei established the Aikido Institute of America, partly as a response to the position aired by some Aikido instructors that no one could become an instructor without training in Japan. He felt that if Aikido was to grow in America, then instructors would have to be trained in America. Indeed, through the Aikido Institute of America, he began to implement his philosophy that even the beginner should be trained to share with others, to be an instructor in a sense. The kyu and dan exams in Seidokan Aikido reflect this philosophy. Rather than simply have the Aikidoka run through several prescribed arts, there are phases in the tests in which one must demonstrate an understanding of the philosophy underlying the art and how the principles are manifest in the arts and in daily life. This practice is in accordance with balanced training of mind, body, and ki described by O-Sensei. In 1974, Kobayashi Sensei was promoted to Rokudan, his certificate including the rare combined signatures of Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei Sensei. When Tohei Sensei established Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido in 1975, Kobayashi Sensei followed his teacher, as he felt it key that his Aikido training should remain focused on the principles. Over the next six years, he continued his exploration of how the principles could be manifest in the arts of Aikido and how best to train new Aikidoka. He scoured ancient texts of Budo to find principles that could be related to Aikido training and arts. These included principles familiar to those in Seidokan, such as Dochu no Sei (calmness in action), Go Go no Shugyo (training after understanding), Shoshin ni Kaeru (Return to the fundamentals), and Shodo-o-Seisu (control the first move). He also carefully examined the teachings of O-sensei, especially the Doka (poems of the way). He felt that several of these held extremely important lessons for balanced training of mind and body. By 1981, he decided that the best path for his pursuit of the deep principles of Aikido was the establishment of Seidokan Aikido. He chose the character Sei (also pronounced Makoto) as the foundation of his new school because of its very deep meaning. O-sensei had described his Makoto-oba doka as containing the
O-sensei had described his Makoto-oba doka as containing the secret to all budo. The character Sei or Makoto is made up from the combination of two kanji, one meaning to speak and the other meaning to come true. Thus, sei means to put the principles into action, to be sincere, earnest, and realistic. At the heart of Seidokan Aikido is the idea that students and instructors alike train to understand the principles of Aikido and manifest them in their daily life. In Seidokan Aikido, everyone is encouraged to share with others and seek new ways to make the principles of Aikido a part of their lives. The balanced training of mind, body and ki is manifest in well rounded training practices. These include studying 1) what the foundational principles of Aikido are, 2) how the principles are manifest in the arts of Aikido, and 3) how the principles are manifest in our everyday lives. As part of our balanced training, we emphasize the Aiki Taiso, as refined by Kobayashi Sensei, and their relationship to principles and arts. We develop our center through meditation and breathing exercises and help others through the aiki ryoho (or Aiki therapy). Our training is tempered by the idea that the art must be at the same time realistic and true to the principle of harmony. Seidokan Aikido owes a great debt of gratitude to its founder, Rod Kobayashi Sensei, as well as his teacher, Koichi Tohei Sensei, and the founder of Aikido, O-sensei. Those of us who make up the Seidokan family must continue along the path these teachers have shown us. In his booklet, Poems of Morihei Ueshiba, Kobayashi Sensei points out a poem of O-sensei’s telling the student to firmly follow one path. It translates, "What good is it to study all kinds of sword arts? Make a firm decision to follow only one path." Kobayashi Sensei points out the path that we as Seidokan students are following extends back to O-sensei through Tohei Sensei (illustrated above). It is up to each of us to continue to seek the fundamental truth of the universe and continue the path toward world peace that O-sensei started.
Impressions of Summer Camp
Two camp participants wrote about their impressions of camp. The first is a satisfied customer who enjoyed his first camp. The second presents an insider’s view. My name is George Ishii, I am 12 years old and I’ve been with Seidokan Aikido for 7 years. I went to my first Aikido Summer Camp at Cal State Long Beach, from June 12-14. I went to my first class on Friday, June 12. I had trouble finding where we would practice until I saw other people I knew from Aikido, so I just followed them. I was surprised to see so many people at the Camp. It was good to be able to work with people from all over the country. The people were nice to me. I would like to thank Jerry Serrato and Feven Afewerki for showing me the cafeteria and Joe Crotty for lending me the weapons. I missed some classes because I was sick on Saturday, but the classes I went to were good because I learned new things. I enjoyed being able to work with the weapons. My favorite class
because I learned new things. I enjoyed being able to work with the weapons. My favorite class was Richard Harnack’s class on Sunday, June 14, because I learned new things with the Bokken. I liked the camp, and I would go again if I had the chance. - George Ishii Preparations for this year’s camp began with those whose lot in life is to organize assigning tasks to those of us who don’t organize. Lists were made, timelines plotted, and calendars were marked. This was a bit overwhelming to us who don’t keep lists, timelines, or calendars; but there were those in charge to whom such paraphernalia were lifesavers. The rest of us just smiled and said "OK Michiyo" or "OK Manny". Smiling was key, it made them think we had our task under control. Thursday started the weekend with class at the new AIA headquarters. All who attended, or were given a preview of the new dojo were glad that a new "home" had been found and eagerly looked forward to the establishment of the roots of tradition the old dojo held. The official camp began Friday with the barbecue at the dorm where friendships were rekindled and new ones started. It was great to see everyone from all over again -- both coasts, different countries, and across the LA basin. Classes were held in the two rooms most suited for bouncing around the way we do, but we also played in the Japanese gardens and the floor of the dormitory without too much trouble. As usual, the playing around between classes (or after dinner), the casual questions, and the banter during meals was full of activity for those who had more to learn after class. The only problem with the classes was that there were choices to be made. "Did you get to go to ..." or "Too bad you couldn’t also have been in..." were phrases we are still sharing here in Long Beach. Thanks to all the instructors who shared their insights and talents. None of the preparations would have been worth anything had the Seidokan family not gathered. It was as it always is, a blessing to be with friends to share the art we love practicing. Sensei Robertson and I went out for breakfast before returning him to LAX. In the marina where we ate a boat was moored that was appropriately named "Rod’s Joy". The Aikido Club of CSU Long Beach deeply appreciates the return of our distant family. We look forward to being with you again. - Chris Williams
NEW HEADQUARTERS ADDRESS
Please note that Aikido Institute of America, the headquarters dojo of Seidokan Aikido, has moved from its previous location on Hyperion Avenue. Please send all correspondence to the new location at: Seidokan World Headquarters c/o Aikido Institute of America 2615 Colorado Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90041
or to the Kobayashi home at: Seidokan World Headquarters c/o Mrs. Minoru Kobayashi 8206 Hondo Street Downey, CA 90242 The phone number at the new dojo location is (323) 254-3372. If there is no answer, please call (562) 861-0043.
Doug Wedell The term zanshin refers to the continuation of the flow of ki and harmony well after the encounter is over. Zanshin literally means left over mind. When leading the attacker to fall, we must not use up all of our resources. If so, then we are not tapping into the limitless universal ki. We establish harmony with the attacker before the actual attack through shodo-o-seisu (control of the first movement). During the encounter, we exercise ki no myoyo o tadashiku (proper usage of ki). After the encounter, we maintain the continuous flow of ki through zanshin. In essence, there is no beginning or end, only the continuous flow of nature. One way to develop zanshin is to hold a position after a throw. Many times I see students immediately start fidgeting, walking away, crossing their arms or engaging in other types of behavior that indicate they have cut the flow of ki. If one is too concerned with analyzing and judging the movement, the movement will be out of sync. By focusing on maintaining the harmonious flow of ki before, during and after the attack, the aikido technique will happen of its own accord. Thus, focus on establishing a connection before the attack and continuing that connection after the throw, zanshin. In the figures illustrated on this page, Kobayashi Sensei demonstrates ryotedori zenpo nage (both wrists grasp, forward throw). In the first photo, the attacker attempts to control nage’s wrists. Sensei exercises shodo-o-seisu by becoming one with the attacker and hence diffuses the conflict. The ki is flowing naturally and so nage is able to blend and use circular motion to bring uke to a point where he is off balance in photo 2. The final photo exemplifies zanshin. Sensei has cut down and led uke off balance. As uke executes a
Note: Photos taken October 1994, Columbia South Carolina. Uke is Paul Bradley.
and led uke off balance. As uke executes a forward roll, Sensei bounces up, extending his ki out in all directions. Although the uke falls forward, this results from nage cutting down. Like a wave crashing down, there is a natural recoil, back and up. Kobayashi Sensei’s final posture reflects this follow through. Techniques such as zenpo nage give us an excellent chance to focus on zanshin.
Calendar of Upcoming Events
June 1999: Summer Camp 1999 in Hawaii. Plans are being made for the next Aikido Summer Camp to be held for a five-day period near the end of June in Hawaii. More information will come out soon. Accommodations for individuals, couples and families will be available. Thus, the camp can be part of a family vacation. Dr. Mark Crapo is organizing this camp (616-9655500). Due to the expanded summer camp, there will be no fall camp this year.
This issue we continue sharing the calligraphy lessons that Kobayashi Sensei conducted while visiting the at Seidokan Aikido of South Carolina for seminars. The calligraphy and diagrams are from lectures by Kobayashi Sensei. This installment focuses on the character for "Ki." The term ki has many meanings. It is translated as nature, universal energy or spirit. It is used in a host of Japanese words. In Seidokan, we focus on how ki unifies mind and body. I hope everyone will try their hand at learning this basic character and enriching their study of the cultural background of Aikido.
The first stroke is a cut down, followed by two horizontal strokes. A third, wider horizontal stroke is then continued downward and finished with an upward stroke. The center part of the character is completed by first cutting down, then executing the left and right strokes. This is followed by the horizontal stroke and the left and right strokes. Doug Wedell
SEIDOKAN AIKIDO VIDEO TAPES
Basic techniques in accordance with Aikido principles In this video series, the late Seidokan Kancho, Rod Kobayashi, shares his experience of over 35 years in the Way of Harmony With Nature. Each waza, or art, is not only clearly demonstrated before an actual class, but he offers an explanation as to why each movement was made. BASIC ARTS Part 1 Detailed explanations of Aiki-taiso Basic examination arts Part 2 Basic examination arts Aiki-kengi and Aiki-jogi DAN ARTS Part 1 Advanced arts required for shodan and above Part 2 Continuation of Aikido arts for all yudansha.
Tapes were produced and directed by Dr Mark R. Crapo and Vince Soo. Copyright and all rights reserved by: Aikido Institute of America Seidokan Aikido World Headquarters
Seidokan Aikido World Headquarters c/o Aikido Institute of America 2615 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041 (323) 254-3372 (if no answer, call (562) 861-0043)
To order, send check or money order to Aikido Institute of America and include the following information:
Name_______________________________________________ (Last) (First) Phone: _________________
(Street) ___________________________________________________ (City) (State) (Country) (Zip Code) Qty ____sets Basic Arts(Part 1 & 2) $75.00/set Qty ____sets Dan Arts(Part 1 & 2) $75.00/set subtotal Include $6.00/set Shipping and Handling California residents add 8.25% sales tax TOTAL $________ $________ $________ $________ $________ $________
Dan Kawakami, AIA/OCBC, 6-14-98
Mark Crapo, AIA/Aikido Institute of Michigan, Seiwa Dojo, 6-14-98
Paul Bradley, Seidokan Aikido of South Carolina, 3-22-98
Michelle Newson, Aikido Institute of Mid-America, 3-7-98 Tim Arch, Aikido Institute of Michigan, Agatsu Dojo, 4-3-98 Dave Headings, Aikido Institute of Michigan, Agatsu Dojo, 4-3-98 Charlie Caldwell, Aikido Institute of Michigan, Seiwa Dojo, 4-3-98 Michael Cottam, Ahsa Aikido, May 1998
David Kennedy, Still Point Aikido Center, 3-13-98 Michael Miller, Ahsa Aikido, May 1998 Scott Kramer, Ting-Ki Aikido, June 1998
Congratulations to all!
The Seidokan Communicator is published quarterly. Please remember, your submissions make this newsletter possible. Send articles about your dojo, your instructor, a recent seminar,
this newsletter possible. Send articles about your dojo, your instructor, a recent seminar, philosophical insights, technical descriptions, and other Aikido related materials to me so we can keep up communication in Seidokan Aikido. Send materials to Doug Wedell, 501 Doncaster Dr., Irmo, SC 29063. Email submissions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for next Communicator is September 15, 1999.
SEIDOKAN WEB SITE
Don’t forget to check out the Seidokan Web Site at http://www.seidokan.org/ for plenty of information, connection to our email list, dojo directory and much more.
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