Archive for the ‘Aikido’ Category:
During her first Japanese tea ceremony Sachiko Knappman prepared tea and served it to her guest when Sachiko herself was ready. After much rigorous training, Sachiko realized that the person drinking the tea also needed to be ready and open to receive. The practice of Chado or tea ceremony took observation, timing, sensitivity and grace — all of which she learned later. Usually this Japanese ritual which is centuries old, involves the guest, who observes the performance of the preparation and presentation of the tea, then eats traditional Japanese confections to enhance the taste of tea. After consuming the sweets the guest drinks green tea in a formalized manner. The untrained person makes the tea according to her own schedule, but [...]
Dawn isn’t my usual hour to train in Aikido but I wanted to run through my 4th kyu test from start to finish so I tumbled myself out of bed and drove to the dojo (training hall). A couple of black belts volunteer to train anyone who wants to work on specific throws, techniques or to train for tests. I’m not fully awake first thing in the morning, but I roused myself because I wanted the practice so I could have some semblance of comfort…which turned out to be a pipe dream. Half way through the first practice run one of the black belts said sternly, “You need to remember two things for your test. Don’t talk. And even if [...]
My Name Is Gabrielle Rubin And I Started Studying Martial Arts When I Was 12 Years Old. I Was A Skinny Kid With A Big Mouth And One Day Found Myself In Trouble Because Of It. I Hated Feeling Afraid, So I Asked My Mom To Enroll Me Into Martial Arts. It Is Now 23 Years Later And I Am Still Studying. Throughout My Training I Have practiced 3 Styles (Jujitsu, Kenpo, And Goju-ryu)…I Am A Black Belt.
I grew up surrounded by a family of Aikido experts. My brother and father began training at NY Aikikai more than 40 years ago, and my Uncle and cousins in England all hold high level degree black belts in the art. I took a few classes in Aikido as well, for a short time when I was twelve years old. You can say that the Martial Arts are in my blood!
It wasn’t until six weeks after the birth of my second child, and at the age of 35, that I began MY ‘formal’ Martial Arts training. Signing up for classes at Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts (a hybrid of Aikido, Jiu Jitsu and Karate) back in February of 2000 was the best move I ever made – it changed my life for the better!
Training in Aikido has changed my life personally and professionally. For the past 15-plus years, I’ve been practicing Aikido both on and off the mat. I founded Portsmouth Aikido (Portsmouth, NH, USA) in 1995, and am currently a second degree black belt. I’m also the founder and owner of Power & Presence Training, offering programs on conflict and communication skills that use Aikido as a metaphor and teaching tool. In 2006, I wrote the book, Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict – stories and practices about Aikido applications in the real world. I happen to think the stories are dramatic and moving, and some are profound.
Call me the reluctant aikidoka. I was a skeptic (not a cynic), a doubting Thomas (not a disbeliever), and a pragmatist (not a non-conformist). For a length of time Aikido was nothing to me but exercise. 30 years ago my sister dragged me into my first Aikido class. I was 18 ys old and knew nothing of the art, but such things happen for reasons for it was there that I met my future husband, #1 fan, and uke, Pete. Regardless of how it all began, Aikido has had a profound impact on my life.
I began my Aikido training in January 1982 at age thirty-three. I carry the rank of 6th degree black belt. I am the founder and director of Society of Aikido Centers since 2002.
Being an Aikido teacher has become my business career. It has helped me to focus on one thing at a time as we were taught in randori (freestyle). That being in a calm state helps us make better decisions. Whereas I was shy, I learned to be assertive.
A friend taught me some Aikido moves back when I was in my 20s – I did not have the money to study it formally then, but showed the moves to my boyfriend who was delighted with how a small woman could move a much larger man with almost no effort.
Long story short, my boyfriend became my husband and we both started studying Tai chi chuan back in the 1980s. Why Tai Chi? Because my husband was throwing out his neck doing plastering and the chiropractor told him to do some kind of exercise that would balance out the sides of his body. I took it up just for health and to help handle stress. My husband, Rick, studied intensively with Master William CC Chen in Manhattan. I did it once in a while.
I’d like to hear dramatic, moving, profound before and after stories. Where you started, what training has taught you, where you are now and how it’s affected your image of yourself. I first started training right after I married my husband artist Pablo Solomon. He had trained since childhood and was a master of several styles ( he even did classes for the Queen’s Guard in the Netherlands). However, he felt that I would benefit more if I had a teacher other than him.
At age 27, I achieved a goal of black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido. I started training in 1993, and after four years of consistent training four times per week, I tested and received my black belt, which was the new beginning to my continued training and the satisfaction of reaching a short-term goal. I was the only woman at my test. It took extreme dedication and lots of physical endurance to complete an eight-week-long test that included self defense, sparring, board-breaking (I kicked through six at once – more than any of the men who tested.) and kicking and hand techniques.
Women frequently think that they have to act like men to succeed. They devote themselves to climbing the corporate ladder by mimicking traditional male behavior. Although this strategy may buy them temporary “success”, most of the time, on a deeper level, it doesn’t take. They often end up dissatisfied, restless, and ultimately unfulfilled. While some women in the workplace don’t ever wake up to a different way of being “successful,” those who do often discover that their femininity and core values have been shoved to the background or edged out of their lives in a subtle but significant way. When women want to build a stronger business team, closer friend and family relationships, or a more centered self, many hundreds [...]
John Stevens Sensei, a Buddhist priest, and 7th Dan came to lecture and train at our dojo, Bay Marin Aikido. Stevens, a highly respected authority on Aikido has more than thirty books on Buddhism, Aikido, and Asian culture to his name. The experience brought new dimensions to our taijutsu, body skills or body arts.
Earlier this year I attended a four day course at the Strozzi Institute, Center for Leadership and Mastery titled Leadership in Action 1 in Petaluma California at the beautiful Strozzi Ranch. The great expanse of green hills and sky reflected what I’d hoped to gain — less cluttered and more expansive thinking and being. And I did. But not right away.
My neighbor told me he thought I looked better when I was heavier. He didn’t exactly come out with it right away, but kept alluding to it until I finally got it.
At first, a few weeks ago, he stopped his car on his way home, leaned out his window and said I was looking leaner by the day. I fondled his two tiny dogs while we chatted about my Aikido training.
This weekend John Stevens, a 7th dan Aikikai and Buddhist priest came to our dojo, Bay Marin Aikido. Stevens, who has written over thirty books on Buddhism, Aikido and Asian culture, is considered one of the foremost authorities on Aikido. The experience was enriching, wild-hearted and intense.
Beginners and experienced Aikidokas (Aikido practitioners) were challenged by Stevens’ examples of how to practice. He demonstrated eight ways of practicing the first pillar of Aikido, Shiho-Nage, 4-directions throw, which we were then to practice. A bit of chaos ensued. The mood of the dojo was filled with excitement, joy, bewilderment, a place of opening, which had us laughing and sometimes straining to understand.