July ‘03

The Seidokan Communicator

Aikido for a Modern Way of Life
Summer Camp
By Barbra Rodriguez
Aikido summer camp in Kalamazoo was wonderful, with much of the thanks going to Mark and Janean Crapo and Michigan students, who obviously spent a lot of time making sure all the details were ironed out. Plus the weather, which topped out in the low 70s, couldn't be beat, and there were lots of opportunities to see old friends. I’m sure I missed out on some great classes, since at least two were going on at most times, but here's some of what I learned: Eli Landau from Aiki Dojo in Israel taught a great class on responding to shoulder grabs. He emphasized stepping in and off-line early, so that you "traded partners" with your uke. He also emphasized that uke should "track" nage as they stepped off-line as would likely happen in a real attack. Dan Kawakami provided several classes using his calm, common-sense approach to Aikido. And at the beginning of practicing Katatetori hantai and katatori hantai moves, he had John Braden from Michigan demonstrate some Tai Chi moves to drive home the importance in Aikido of placing a foot first before shifting your weight onto that foot. Michiyo Kobayashi, with Mrs. Kobayashi's input, led a Ki training session focused on the four principles to unify mind and body. There were also reminders during aiki taiso warm-ups of the importance of maintaining one point as instructors performed ki testing on students. Several "younger" instructors also were featured during camp, including Ben Doubleday, who gave a nice class on ways to use Aikido principles to help out someone in danger or to turn other ugly situations into more harmonious ones. For example, he showed a simple movement to respond to a choke hold being applied to you or to a friend.

- Summer Camp Impressions! - Teaching Purpose - Dojo Flooring - And More!
Besides regular training sessions, the Crapo’s provided some unique offerings thanks to the extra day of camp. They included: - a banquet Friday night, followed by demonstrations of many martial arts provided by local practitioners, including some who train in Seidokan. We were gifted with demonstrations of the flowing swordwork and silence of Iaido, the quick push-pull of Judo and katas from Karate and other arts, including a demonstration of how a dart on a string or a wooden oar traditionally would be used as weapons. As diverse as the demos were, they all drove home the message that a physical response to a threat is considered a last option, and that different arts share some similar underlying techniques, as was evident from Stewart Chan, Sensei whispering Aikido names for some techniques on the sidelines. - a Q&A session about instructing that addressed questions like how to handle insurance issues and how to structure a single class or series of classes. The variety of answers provided lots of food for thought. The camp as a whole did the same. It also helped rejuvenate my interest in practicing Seidokan and in particular arts that I had an opportunity to see in a different light, thanks to the great instructors and I look forward to Camp in Austin next year!

Reflections on Camp
John Mollitor
I thought back in January, when it was cold and snowing, “Camp will never get here, it is a good 6 months off.” Then whosh! Here it has come and gone just as fast as that first thought I had back in January. Thankfully, I had the joy of training with some old friends, and some new ones too. It again was a great time. Another day in heaven, we are blessed. It appears that no matter how long camp lasts; it is always too soon over, leaving me with that same hunger for more, like a meal never fully consumed. Parting with friends one won’t see until the next time is sad, but one can look forward to the joy of seeing them at the next camp. I found this camp to be a unique experience. I made it a point to attend classes with some instructors I had not been able to study with before. I found that to be an exciting way of approaching some of the teachings. I also found a common thread running through all the classes I was able to attend was the use of a gentle soft movement in executing a technique. Rather than forcing it, the idea of just letting it happen. I know, I know, I’ve heard it many times before, and it will be good for me to hear it over, and over until I can demonstrate that in all my technique. I enjoyed every class and every instructor. My only regret is that I didn’t get to attend every class that was offered. I made many very hard choices. Perhaps sometime in future camps there will be a way to attend every instructor’s class. I truly enjoyed the comradeship and attentiveness of all the people who made this camp such a great success -- from the great demonstrations to the impromptu Music session. Which just further supports my pet theory that people who study the arts are the greatest people in the world. If everyone were to have the love and respect for our fellow beings that I see at camp (forgive my bias), there would be no wars, only peace! My Thanks to all!

What is the underlying purpose of our teaching at camp? Aikido and Mrs. Kobayashi
Compiled by Larry Wadahara, Mark Crapo, Amy Shiotani, and Michiyo Kobayashi (A question answered by Mrs. Minoru Kobayashi, translated by Michiyo Kobayashi - who hopes Personal Background she was able to translate the meaning and feeling Mrs. Minoru Kobayashi was born to a kyu ka (old correctly.J) family), in a small village, on the island of Sado, which is
located in the Sea of Japan. Due to her father's work as a school principal, she and her siblings would change schools every few years. However, she ended up graduating from the high school located on Sado Island. She then moved to Tokyo to attend college, Showa Women's University, and continued to live there after graduating with her Bachelor’s in Nutrition and a Certificate in Teaching and Administration (principal level) at the Middle School and High School level. Mrs. Kobayashi’s first job was working as an Executive Secretary to the head of the Engineering Department for Fujimori Kogyo Co. Ltd., for 2 ½ years. Due to the long distance it required her to travel on a daily basis, she chose to leave this company to work in the Accounting/Human Resource Department and also the Sales Department at another company closer to her home, Kanko Kogyo Co., Ltd. She was employed as a direct assistant to the Heads of these two departments for about 10 years. During this time, she also worked directly under the company President. Back in the 1960's, most women in Japan were relegated to subservient roles with little authority, so it was virtually unheard of for her to hold such positions and work with upper management. She took advantage of these opportunities and gained a great deal of experience from working at these two companies, which in turn helped her greatly in her future. Meeting Tohei Sensei and the Formation of Ki no Kenkyukai With the passing of Aikido founder, Morihei Ueshiba, Tohei Sensei decided to resign from the Aikikai Hombu and create his own path. He, along with five of his Yudansha began searching for office space. (This is where her boss and the company President of Mrs. Kobayashi’s second job, Kanko Kogyo Co., Ltd, came into the picture.) Her boss belonged to a professional's group and this group decided to support Tohei Sensei. Her boss temporarily lent out the second floor of his warehouse to Tohei Sensei to set up his office, this led to an open house for the office employees. Regular classes were then held at the Tokyo Olympic Center Gym. Due to her boss's connection with Tohei Sensei, she had the chance to personally meet and practice under him. Mrs. Kobayashi and nine other individuals from her company were sent to practice with Tohei Sensei. After about two years she was the only one left from Kanko Kogyo that continued to practice. With the completion of his office in Tokyo and the summer months approaching, Tohei Sensei made plans to continue his yearly seminars in Hawaii. The students, (Continued on Page 3)

The purpose of teaching (particularly at camp but also in general) is to explain the movement of the waza (technique) and how it is applied in a basic format. By using the Principles, applying them to the movements and explaining/showing them to the students is of #1 importance and responsibility of our instruction. Teaching at camp is part of the instructor's training and development. This helps us develop new ideas from others by practicing with them or by watching them. When you have higherranking students practicing with lower-ranking students, the higher-ranking students can feel and observe what's going on and can learn from them, which in turn should help your instruction of the technique. The purpose of teaching at camp (for both lower and higher-ranked students/instructors) isn’t so others can purposely caution, critique or chastise the instructor. (This would be destructive criticism or an example of satsujin ken – the sword that destroys.) Our purpose or goal is to give instructors the opportunity to train and help develop what they're teaching and to help make it better. (The feedback one gets from other instructors and students being a form of constructive criticism, aimed at helping one improve, or a form of katsujin ken – the sword to let live.) At camp, you meet all kinds of people...different styles of attack and ukemi so the technique might have to be adjusted a bit for a particular person or situation. My mom said that she may see something from the side of the mat and offer advice to the instructor, but it's not meant to be a negative critique and blast the instructor. She hopes that people don't mistake her intentions of wanting to see individuals teach. Some should be teaching without question. She also knows that students are moving up in rank and yet, some she's never seen practice, let alone teach. So when camp comes around, it would be nice to see them participate and share, especially since we all get together only once a year. Teaching at camp is an opportunity for instructors to grow... as she's been saying, we need to train the younger generation of Yudansha. She's been stressing that the Chief Instructors (especially the seniors) should help guide their black belts in using the correct Principles so that they can grow and eventually help continue spreading the Seidokan Principles. As teachers, we should be learning all the time by practicing, experimenting, etc… not just by words. No matter how high in rank one gets, the learning should NEVER, NEVER stop. If it stops, that's when the ego starts to inflate. Teaching at camp is not used as a checkup mechanism, but a learning tool. Teachers learn from students and vice versa. What's correct and what's not correct should be discovered within oneself. This is what you would call shugyo or training.

Aikido and Mrs. Kobayashi (continued)
Mrs. Kobayashi included, formed a support group and wanted to send with him a gift of some type. In order to indicate whom the gift was from, they came up with the name Ki no Kenkyukai or the Ki Society. Taking Class with Tohei Sensei During her practice with Tohei Sensei, he concentrated on teaching Ki Development since he had made an agreement with the Aikikai not to teach any Aikido waza (techniques). Therefore, they learned s uch Principles like the correct way to extend Ki, the correct way to lead the other person's Ki as well as the correct way to use Ki. While his Aikido Yudansha deshi (students) automatically received the Koshi (lecturer) certificate, Mrs. Kobayashi, along with the others, were required to take an examination. She received the Assistant Koshi certificate from Tohei Sensei. *** TO BE CONTINUED *** after having experienced summer camp this year, I thought that I absolutely HAD to write something. I still believe what I said before about technique and the four principles, so I won’t write about that. What I will write about is something I took away from camp, and something I hope to share. After all, they say everyone takes away something different. In one of Kawakami Sensei’s classes, he mentioned that O-Sensei truly believed that the world could change through the Art Of Peace. “Aiki is not a technique to fight with or defeat the enemy. It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family.” I never thought that O -Sensei’s vision was attainable, but after spending a few days with my fellow Aikidoka, I began to understand what he meant. In my daily life, I encounter all sorts of people. I never thought much about it before camp, but I don’t really get to share a very large and important part of my life with them. But for four solid days in Michigan, I saw at every turn another person who loved Aikido as much as I do, who strove as much as me to bring the four principles into their daily lives, and who recognized, on some level, the unity of mankind. Terry Dobson, in his book It’s a Lot Like Dancing, says that “Increasingly, there is nothing separating us. You are bunch of exploding atoms and so am I. What separates us is everything in us that wants to separate from each other. Once you let go of wanting to separate, you can begin to see that we are all one.” Indeed, I could feel that at camp in a very visceral way. There was always a smile, a nod, a genuine warmth a willingness to share. For four days I nd felt like I was amongst my own. At the same time, however, I felt the urge to extend that feeling of peace and harmony to those on the outside of our little group. Getting a whole weekend amongst those who attempt to see the world as O-Sensei envisioned it gave me a glimpse of what the world might be like if everyone practiced Aikido. It was because of this experience I realized that Aikido won’t change the world by convincing everyone that peace is the answer. What it can and does do, is change the world one person at a time…from the inside out. In It’s a Lot Like Dancing, Terry Dobson says “Some people can change their lives drastically through Aikido. I’m sure that incredible things happen to people who windsurf. It’s stunning, the power that people have to transform themselves. But it is important to remember that Aikido is not croquet.” After camp, I began to realize that each of these people that had changed through Aikido would go back to their lives, and ultimately affect those around them. Perhaps this is what OSensei meant by reconciling the world. I cannot sufficiently describe the sense of peace and harmony that four days at camp filled me with, and I cannot describe how grateful I am to those that organized and attended camp for that experience. I don’t know if it changed the way I do Aikido, but I do know that it changed me a little on the inside for the better. Even those around me who know nothing about Aikido could sense that change in me. O-Sensei said that one should always practice the Art of Peace in a joyful and vibrant manner. That’s exactly what we did at camp, and I only hope I can carry that over into my life and maybe live joyfully and vibrantly.

Mrs. Minoru Kobayashi

A Joyful and Vibrant Manner
By Russ Robinson
There have been several occasions over the years that I wanted to contribute something to the Communicator, but when I went to organize my thoughts I always stopped. I suppose it was because I had convinced myself that there were people far more qualified than me to discuss technique, and that there were people far more qualified than me to discuss utilizing the four principles in their daily lives. Basically, I’ve always been the wallflower and I have never had a desire to be one of the pillars that Wedell Sensei mentioned in one of the previous Seidokan Communicator closings. I think it was that invitation more than anything that convinced me to try to put some thoughts down on paper. More importantly, however, is that

My Thoughts on Summer Camp
David Halonen
I had been in Aikido for only about a month when I heard of this summer camp. I thought it sounded like fun, but as my training progressed, I realized that I didn’t know squat, and I thought I must be insane to even think of going to this camp. These guys know what they’re doing and I’m going to get either hurt or embarrassed. Probably both. I certainly did not want to embarrass Sensei Lewis. I should not have worried. For one thing, in the 3 to 4 months I have been training, Sensei Lewis taught me the aiki-taiso and the basics very well, and the other thing is what this note is all about. The help and assistance I received from one and all at this camp was incredible. From Mrs. Minoru Kobayashi teaching me the proper stance and the holding of the bokken, to Stew Chan Kancho showing me the cobra (snake) nikyo technique. Also his rendition of Karate Kid (I have the picture) was great. The help I got from Eli Landau after the Jogi #1 helped me with the right way to hold the Jo, and from Michiyo Kobayashi I learned how to hold the bokken correctly. There were far too many people that helped me out personally that I cannot name them all. The fact of it is, is that this camp was incredible. Sensei Crapo did one heck of a job putting this together. It was organized great, teachers and classes were awesome, and all the students, regardless of rank, were friendly, helpful and all had a great attitude. I wish I wouldn’t have waited till I was 50 to join this group, but at least I’m here now. I would like to thank again Sensei Crapo, his group and the Seidokan Aikido organization for putting on this camp. P.S. Sensei Crapo, this is my vote for Hawaii in the future. P.P.S. Ben Doubleday, I believe its tenague and hotsumaki, right?

Constructing the Flooring for Your Dojo
By Bruce Fox
When the building was finally finished, we built a very springy floor in the little jewel of a dojo we have here in Palmdale. The three quarter inch plywood floor is suspended above the slab an inch and half by pads and one by two boards. The boards are laid out on a diagonal pattern, forty-five degrees from the perpendiculars of the room to allow an even suspension and still have the upper pads be able to tie the corners and edges of the plywood together. In the two pictures you can see the layout, with the upper pads at the corners, edges, and midway points on the plywood, and the lower pads at the midway points on the one by two stringers. This arrangement allows the one by two stringers to operate as springs. The thickness and spacing of the pads allows the flex to bottom out without breaking the stringer. A critical element in constructing this sort of floor is the selection of the stringers. You need a bunch of them, and e ach must be selected from the pile at the lumberyard. They need to be straight, with very little twist. Examine each for knots. A small tight knot that goes through the thin section of the wood is okay, but accept no board that has a large knot, a loose knot or a knot that runs through the thick section of the board. There are things I wish I had done as I had put the floor down. I nailed the lower pads into the concrete with a power-actuated nailer. It would have been better if I had put down some construction adhesive first. There are a couple of places on the floor where the lower pad pulled away from the floor, and those places are a bit noisy. I can actually get a drumming sound doing tekubi shindo in one place. A dollop of adhesive would have prevented that. Aside from that, this is a very nice floor and makes taking rolls much more pleasant than mats that lay on a slab.

Mrs. Kobayashi sharing a humorous moment at camp.

Mark Crapo Sensei in Tokyo
By Chris Koprowski
Students of Seidokan Aikido of Tokyo enjoyed a visit from Mark Crapo Sensei while he was in Japan on a business trip last March. Although he had a very busy schedule, he offered to lead our regular Saturday afternoon class. Mark Crapo Sensei first showed us an excellent partner-stretch routine than we continue to practice on and off. He then took us through the evolution of Shomenuchi-ikkyo, starting from the traditional Aiki-kai Hombu style--then modifying it to show how we can blend with the strike if we understand Ki flow. Then he showed us an earlier Seidokan version: a spring compressing down and then springing back up, followed by a more current version: the spring compressing down and the bottom falling out--with uke's hand falling to the ground as one enters. After that, Crapo Sensei taught us Shomenuchi Irimi-nage. He first demonstrated a couple old-style versions before teaching a recent Seidokan version. We also practiced it from a Munetsuki strike. After showing and practicing an escape from a front choke, Crapo Sensei showed how to move into Sankyo. We then did the same thing but as a 3rd person bystander. One person was attacking another and another came to their rescue. We also did the same choke with three people but with an Ikkyo save. Mark finished the class off by showing some balance points which he teaches police and how we can use them to blend and control a partner that isn't attacking. It's possible to move them when they just want to stand still. He also taught us how to use them when one person was choking another from behind. Again, as a bystander, you can use the balance points to strip the attacker away, safely. We'd like to thank Crapo Sensei once again for taking time out from his busy weekend to visit our class. We don't often have visitors so it was very refreshing getting different perspectives from a senior Seidokan instructor. We look forward to his next visit! Domo arigatou gozaimasu!

You know you've been spending a LOT of time at the dojo when…
By Barbra Rodriguez
You know you’ve been spending a LOT of time at the dojo when: - Every level patch of grass seems like an invitation to "test drive" your standing rolls - A bathrobe doesn't feel comfortable unless you tuck the right flap underneath the left flap - You feel the urge to bow every time you enter a room - A hug from a friend brings on the urge to do makiotoshi - You automatically tuck the tines of your "spork" into your hand to protect passersby while walking in a fast food joint - It's a shock to see some of your good friends in everyday street clothes rather than a gi - You notice your knees are aching, only to discover that you've been sitting seiza while doing everyday activities - You feel the urge to say "hai" anytime you want to agree with someone - Every handshake feels like a good time to apply kotegaeshi (Examples contributed by Barbra Rodriguez, Jason Taff, Christine Johnson, and Richard Harnack, Sensei, Aikido Institute of Mid-America)

Pictures from camp.

Seidokan Aikido in Tokyo, Japan.

Doing Aikido While Seated
By Bruce Fox
One of the more intriguing sets of techniques shown at summer camp described situations in which Uke was seated next to Nage. Mark Crapo Sensei showed several such variations that are well worth practicing. Below I describe one of the techniques he showed along with a couple of photos. In this attack, uke drapes her arm over nage's neck. Nage grasps uke's hand with his far side hand. To do this nage positions the hand palm out, thumb toward the center. Nage slides this hand up onto uke's palm down hand sliding nage's thumb into the thumb-index finger gap of uke's hand, but not all the way up to the base of the thumb. At that point nage's forefinger can come across uke's knuckles and apply a nikyo. Nage leads uke's hand over nage's head and shows it to uke. At this point uke is in a firm nikyo. To extend the control, nage uses his near hand to guide uke's shoulder into nage's lower chest area or elbow joint. Then nage can change hands on the nikyo, freeing the far hand and giving very effective control of uke. And who says you can’t practice Aikido while waiting at an airport! ****

Rokudan Mark Crapo AIA/Aikido Institute of Michigan, Seiwa 01/07/03

Nidan William Joseph Long Seidokan Aikido of So. Carolina 03/23/03 Keith Larman Aikido Institute of America 05/04/03 Aurora May-Hernandez Aikido Institute of America 05/04/03 Sal Hernandez Aikido Institute of America 05/04/03 Shodan Phil Cornelius Seidokan Aikido of So. Carolina 03/22/03

Friday through Sunday, September 5-7, 2003: Jogi Workshop hosted by the Aikido Institute of America, led by Joe Crotty Jr. and Larry Wadahara. For more information, please email Aikitiger1@aol.com or call (323) 254-3372 Saturday and Sunday, October 11 and 12, 2003: The University of Texas Aikido Club is pleased to announce a seminar with Dan Kawakami Sensei. For more details, email aikido@www.utexas.edu.



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