Experience of Learning at Aikido in Russia By Allan Roden Feb 20 2014

This post is also available in: Russian

This was my first experience of practicing Aikido although I have watched some of Andrew’s classes before. As a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Karate I come to martial training with a different eye than most people just entering a training hall. What I have seen in the training halls in Russia is very impressive.

I believe teachers and Masters need skill sets that are different than students. Just getting good in techniques is easy but to achieve art is different and being able to transfer the knowledge on is even harder. Tae Kwon Do and Karate are hard martial arts, that is they teach to hit opponents directly, while being square and on balance, using both their force and yours combined. This plays into one of my strengths being forward and forceful. I have also learned that an over used strength becomes a weakness and I have often fallen into that error. Aikido is different, it is a soft art, it’s intent is to use all the opponents strength to control him and prevent him from controlling you. If just apply that concept then I will have learned a lot in one day.
Still even in the differences there are similarities in the arts, or basics principles that must be applied.
On the most basic common principles is respect, respect for each other, the school. Clearly the school, students and masters honored and lived this.
The humbleness of the instructors that brought students to attend the practice and follow instructions without use of yelling or rank bullying (often seen in Martial arts) schools speaks favoribly about the quality of both the students, instructors and masters.

Maintaining balance and center is also a key in all martial arts. Just watching the master walk is an education in itself. He flowed like water smoothly though the room and around people with no sharp corners, always centered and on balance.

Although the techniques taught were high level (and I know I did not execute them well) they included material that covered and taught basics that once included made doing them easy. So attention to detail was clearly taught, exactly how to place the feet and move the hand to avoid muscling the technique.

I felt attended to and helped even with my lack of experience in the art. It is unusually and impressive to see teaching that helps both low-level students and high-level students at the same time.

The amount of time students practiced without supervision also showed the dedication to the art.

Watching the black belts fall and flip was also very impressive, and I did notice students practicing that during breaks. Great martial artists knows the attack and also how to receive the attack that is a basic key to any martial art.

Watching the Master control his breathing before during and after technique was a common theme in all my training and Master Jacque was clearly a master of that principle.

Here are a few quotes that I remember from the master that when applied to my practice and life would improve me personally.

“Move from your center and move with your partner to gain control”

“Make your attacker comfortable in his grab so he does not resist the movement.”

“Fit into partners grab easily without force.”

‘When applying a techniques do not force your way in just allow yourself to flow into the movement easily and peacefully. “

Here is my personal favorite of the day and all my masters have taught it one way or another.
“The purpose of training is to bring all your focus and attention in one second into a one small place with intend and the key to mastering Aikido is how to do it without thinking.”
Here is Quote from the Tao
“Students need to master fundamental then they can break the rules and create their own. First teachers must organize and plan and proceed. Once mastered teachers can then bring the world beauty through creative disorder. No artist ever drew a great picture without first learning how to hold the brush or draw a straight line. “

I found this quote was honored though out the lecture revealing a great master and solid school.

The fundamentals taught at this seminar were great and profound will improve my personal practice and applying them throughout my life would improve my life.

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