Thursday, March 01, 2007

Aikido Notes

I don't blog much about my practice of aikido and iaido as I'm the consummate under achiever in these arts. However since my decade long hiatus (1995-2005) I've been training fairly diligently for the past 18 months and even feel I've made some modest improvements both in technique and general fitness. Long may this trend continue. Anyway I feel I must comment on a marvelous seminar I had the privilege to attend a couple of weeks ago. It was conducted by the legendary Frank Doran and was quite simply the best seminar I have ever witnessed. Not only was it extremely well thought through in themes and teaching style but Doran Sensei, at the age of 74, is a model of graceful movement and amazingly precise aikido (see YouTube video clip above). In addition he is an extremely polite, courteous and approachable human being: personality traits that are not evident in many of the instructors I've observed over the years. I must also add to a comment on seminars made recently by the excellent aikido blogger, UchiDeshi. Unlike many students I generally don't care much for seminars. Having had some great teachers over the years I find that seminars generally fall into two categories (i) the instructor teaches the same old basic forms I can see on any given day of the week in my home dojo or (ii) he/she demonstrates very complicated techniques, usually on a overcrowded mat where they can't be executed properly by the deshi. So I don't usually relish the idea of paying money (usually quite a lot) to get battered more than usual with little in the way of enlightenment. Doran Sensei was a notable exception however and I'm going to make every effort to his workshops in future.

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