Should this be in our aikido too?

Respect your partner’s ki (don’t interfere with their chosen direction),
don’t become the attacker,
cause no harm,
‘the enemy is within ourselves’, not in the attacker.
None of the above are signs of weakness but properly employed, enable great power to be manifested, a power used not to destroy an enemy but to save a misguided soul from harm.
If you think this is nuts then check out O-Sensei, Tohei, and modern teachers like Paul Linden. None of them hurt their partners, it looks like some teachers today,might.
If we want to have harmony of spirit and be one with the universal we may have to consider this during daily life because on the mat we dispense with engaging verbally with our partner (attacker for want of better word). Instead of ‘sorry pal if I have upset you, how can I put it right with you?’ we immediately escalate to a staged violent confrontation and use our aikido to teach them a lesson!
We all end up with our own opinion and then seek evidence that supports it, but only by questioning and leaving our comfort zone will we progress towards the peaceful art of aikdo – an art to reconcile the world.
Richard Small

The importance of kiai [spirited shout]

We recently discussed the use of kiai in a class, mainly because I observe that few Aikidoka choose to use kiai when training tai jutsu and only occasionally use it with bukiwaza. I think beginners are embarrassed and older students can find it tiring perhaps. But what does kiai add to our training? Is it a natural expression of power or energy or is it simply a habit one picks up? I would like to know what people think about using kiai and whether it benefits their Aikido training? One of the Cambridge students (Eddy Zabcik) showed me a synopsis (below) about kiai from O’Sensei; you might find this interesting.
*From: The Secret Teachings of Aikido by Morihei Ueshiba*
    In the martial arts there are various shouts. For example, “/ei/”, “/yaa/”, “/too/”, “/ha/” and so on. There are many more possible shouts than these 4 sounds: they are all derived from /kototama/ theory. These /kototama/ sounds are based on deep breathing and the rhythm between the voice and the mind. The sound “flies out” when a technique is executed: its quality expresses the extent of one’s mind/body/unity. When voice, body, and mind are unified, excellent techniques result. /Aiki/ is to train to develop the splendid power that is generated by the unity of spirit and body. This unity of voice, body and mind is the essence of traditional martial arts training, practiced over and over – such concentrated spirit is the pillar of /budo/. Follow the example of all the great masters, martial artists such as Yagyu Jubei [1607-1650, Yagyu Ryu swordsman] and Tsukahara Bokuden [1489-1571, founder of Kashima Shinto Ryu]; realise that /budo/ energy is a blessing of the gods that we need to treat and harness with reverence.
    Take the words of these great exemplars to heart and make their teachings part of your being by practicing them every day. Harmonise your breath with the breath of heaven and earth. On occasion, we cut with “/ei/”, receive with “/ya/”, and separate with “/too/”. When you and your partner are in tune, the /too/ separation /kiai/ [spirited shout] works well, but if one of the partners has an opening, the /ei/ and /ya/ /kiai/ will not be effective. In the old days, it was said that when the /ei/ and /ya/ were harmonized, the /too/ separation /kiai/ would work. In short, the /kiai/ were used to facilitate training without openings or slack. If such training was done in earnest, it would be possible to sense an impending attack and neutralize it immediately with an appropriate technique. This sense is the key to effective throws and pins. Train diligently in the techniques and improve your level, and forge your spirit.

Gransden Seminar Photos – March 2020

I’ve just added a link to our Gallery page which will take you to Google Photos and the photographs that were taken on the day.
It was another fascinating seminar, held in Sensei’s local community centre and a great location for future events when we’re all able to meet and train without risk.
I know Sensei is looking forward to hosting more events here and with an outside area for ‘expansive’ weapons training (weather permitting) it will, I’m sure, become a regular venue.
This particular seminar was focusing on building ‘mass’.