After almost 5 weeks away our Club resumed practice after a great summer break.
Everyone was really excited this first week to be back on the mat and some of us who went to summer school at headquarters in the UK are also excited to practise the new movements we learned during the seminars. It was also great to see fellow students again who have been become good friends and catch up what we each did over summer. As the school year begins again and our juniors and youth move onwards to another year of their lives. At the same time we are all a bit sad to say goodbye to our fellow friend and student Abi, as she heads off to University on a new journey. But we look forward to seeing her back again on the mat soon. After all, what better way to spend a Friday night! So given the time we had all spent apart and Abi heading off to university, what else could we do as a Club but celebrate. So what better way than to have a Club bbq!!
Another year and once more some of our Club members as well members from other countries (United Kingdom, Canada – Ontario and BC, France, Netherlands, Australia, United States) gathered in Mark, Sommerset (England) at the Ki Federation Headquarters for two weeks of Ki Aikido and fun with friends.
It was a great week of learning. A full set of pictures can be found at the Ki Federation website post here.
We also had the unique opportunity to listen to Sensei Williams give a talk about Ki Aikido and its history. A brief history of Ki Aikido by Sensei Williams can be found on the Federation website here.
Some of our youth and junior attended summer school. They have agreed to give us a feedback of their experience. We really appreciate their experiences who besides attending summer school have volunteered to serve as Ukeme for a kyu grading.
“While I was in summer school for Ki Aikido I had such a great experience as I learned many new things. This summer school was my second time going as I had been too young to attend beforehand but was encouraged to watch. Both of my experiences in summer school were absolutely brilliant as the Sensei’s who taught not only showed you the move but taught you a life lessons while doing it. All the people practicing Ki Aikido during summer school are extremely friendly and kind. As a youth participating in this event I was treated just like all of the other grades. I had so much fun practicing Ki Aikido. Ki Aikido is very useful in daily life as well as during practice. If ever I feel anxious or stressed I always think of my one point to calm my self. From going to summer school I learned that everything comes with time. My Sensei Alfredo once told me to live in the now and not to worry about what the future will hold. From that I have learned to take my time in whatever I do and know that everything will turn out fine in the end.”
Youth, Aged 13
“Practicing Ki Aikido in summer school is an amazing experience, and year after year it gets better, as I grow throughout the yearsmy understanding of the lessons grows. I have gone to summer school 4 times, each time for a week, and already I have learned so much. I hear stories and learn from the experiences of others. During this summer school specifically, I found I learnt a multitude through speaking to some other students who have been practicing for some decades. They told me stories of friendships and travels, how Ki Aikido can bring two people together and how it promotes a positive outlook on life. My favourite time to hear stories is when a Sensei is teaching a movement, and relate it back to a memory of theirs, giving us real life examples of when they used the principle behind the movement, which allows us to understand why we are learning the movement. These explanations also allowed me to step back a view how learning Ki Aikido has changed my life. Practicing Ki Aikido does not just occur on the mat; it is integrated into my daily life, allowing me to be softer in my movements, whether it be walking with lighter feet or focusing my Ki to gain someone's attention.As a ukeme I am constantly learning and growing. The most important lesson I learnt was how to follow properly. This one skill has taught me to be softer, and how a movement can become efficient and painless if one follows without resisting. When I follow as a uke, I learn from the nagi's Ki, no matter the age or belt they are. As a result, this makes me a better nage, as I have become more aware of the position of the uke and how the movement feels on both sides of it. When I first started practicing, I found Ki difficult to understand. I used my practice as a uke as stepping stones to understanding Ki, in all its entirety. During this past summer school, I practiced with a few dan grades, and as I took the place of uke, I could feel the differences in their Ki, how one was soft and gentle, and the other was sharp and felt powerful, yet both of their Ki held the same amount of power. Not only did I learn from the higher grades, I also learnt from someone who was an orange belt, which is a belt lower than mine. I volunteered to do the ukeme for his grading, where I felt the simplicity of his Ki as opposed to the strong force that people who have been practicing for decades have. This showed me that throughout the years, one's Ki can only get stronger, but the feeling of the Ki will always be and should be gentle and soft. In my life, practicing as a uke has helped me to take things in stride, following the ride that is life, not by resisting when things change, but by following and changing with them.”
Youth, Aged 15
“This year’s trip to summer school taught me a multitude of different things, the most important of which being how to fully apply concepts of Ki Aikido learned in classes to our daily life. For example, we were taught how the fluidity of an exercise does far more than make the exercise look smoother. Rather, it teaches us that life is nothing more than a fluid movement that is continuously moving. One cannot simply stop in the middle of life, similar to how one shouldn’t stop in the middle of an exercise. Similarly, when practicing with another partner, it is essential that we give everything we have when being a uke to create a more realistic situation to ensure ourselves and our partners are more prepared to deal with the hardships of real life. Ki Aikido is far more than a form of martial arts, it is a lifestyle. Through my practice, I’ve learned how to incorporate the principles of Ki Aikido into my daily life. Ideas such as performing with confidence and thinking of my one point have enabled me to be more successful at school. For example, if I can’t remember an answer to a question on a test, I think of my one point to calm myself down and figure out the answer. Under that same light, the notion of performing with confidence has enabled me to push the boundaries and expectations of what I can do. All in all, it is important to take away thatKi Aikido is far more than a japanese martial art, it is a way of life. Summer school this year has really helped open my eyes to just how much one’s life can really be impacted by Ki Aikido and that I am eternally grateful to be able to practice it.”
Youth, Aged 17
Summer school is also a good time to grade, both Kyu and Dan grades are held at the end of the first week. Let’s start to say congratulations to all the students who graded and continue on their journey, this includes our own students:
Cecilia – Congratulations for achieving Brown Belt
And so our Summer Break comes to an end. Quick reminder that classes will resume back to their normal schedule Next Wednesday August the 29th.
Now, if you’re interested to come and join us, please do come. Ki Aikido is for everyone. We leave here also a link to Sensei Walter’s video of why Ki Aikido is for everyone, independently of age or physical capabilities.
It has been almost one year since some of our Club members gathered in Mark, Sommerset (England) at the Ki Federation Headquarters for a week long of Ki Aikido and fun with friends.
Below are a few words immediately after last years summer-school from some students who flew in from Canada to attend and some words from students one year on. Summer school is an amazing opportunity to further develop your practice and move forward in your life. So if you haven’t been for a while, take some time out for you and move forward in your life a little more or a lot more this summer by attending summer school!
“Focusing a whole week around Ki Aikido and the Somerset Ki Aikido Summer School was one of those defining moments of life. Having the great privilege of every day learning from knowledgeable Teachers, rethinking basic movements should be overwhelming and in a sense it is; but the underlying teaching that you almost absorb without wanting to is that it is ok to be overwhelmed with information and doubts sometimes, the path you follow afterwards is the one that will eventually reveal and strengthen your Ki Aikido. I am very grateful for this week of learning, for the fun moments at the Socials and for all the people who shared this experience with me.”by Cecilia Correia
“In all my years in education, I have never sensed more direct improvement in my learning from the beginning of a two-hour instruction to its end - that goes for all of the morning sessions. Being able to grade in this collegial environment, with so many engaging higher grades, was special.”
by Alex Herd
“It has been almost one year since being at the Ki Aikido Federation Headquarters for summer school. During that week I learned a lot, had the opportunity to train with people from diverse backgrounds and share struggles and growth experiences. In the end, summer school left very strong impressions: continue practise, don’t worry about time and come back for more. During this last year I can say that I looked at the practise of Ki Aikido from a different perspective. Look at every move to learn something new, improve with every lesson learned and most importantly stop expecting.”
by Alfredo Rodrigues
“I have learned to put a lot more into the details, by that I mean a lot more then I used to pay attention before. I find that I pay a lot more attention to details these days. I study every single move to minute details and I keep repeating that in my mind, over and over , until I feel it is ‘cast in stone’ . Another change I can mention, is the use of my one point and making the move ‘big’ in my mind.”
by Robert Antal
We had a few gradings in the past weeks. Let’s start to say congratulations to all the students who graded and continue on their journey:
Farjam – Congratulations for achieving Brown Belt
Tejan – Congratulations for achieving Green Belt, 3rd Blue Stripe
Thea – Congratulations for achieving Orange Belt, 1rd Green Stripe
Dale – Congratulations for achieving Yellow Belt
Anderson – Congratulations for achieving Yellow Belt
Clara – Congratulations for achieving Yellow Belt
We would like to thank all the ukes that made these gradings possible, specially Robert and Abi.
Finally, the Club will be closed for the summer vacations, as once again we descend onto Mark for summer school. We will be back to normal practise hours on August 29.
Until then enjoy the summer and hope to see you all back soon.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Any journey in life starts with an objective. Such objectives are sometimes a materialization of our dreams. Dreams to better ourselves, or to try things that are not at our immediate reach or departing from one’s sphere of comfort. This is something that we view with apprehension and sometimes with fear.
Now as the quote notes the “fear of failure” is most of the times what holds us back. But if you don’t try it, then you’ll definitely be missing on something potentially great.
This is in my opinion, how we all start with Ki Aikido – apprehensively trying something new, sometimes fearing failing to do a movement and frustration. Well at least this was my experience at the start.
But with time Ki Aikido becomes a part of our lives. Not only the classes and what we learn on the mat, but also what we take to the outside world. Sensei Narinder drives this point quite frequently. And there’s a good point in doing so. As we progress in our practise of Ki Aikido we gain confidence, and we start to look at the world through a different lense. And with the confidence gained in our practise we also feel overwhelmed to what is still “out there” to be learned.
But it is a journey. A long journey. No need to rush.
As we move along our journey we make new friends in our Club and in our Federation. The good part I’ve found in the practise of Ki Aikido is the shear good feeling to share our moments as a group. The good moments and the not so good days. There is support when you need it and you support when someone else needs it.
Now back to the journey. As a Club we are very proud this week to be able to celebrate with Sensei Narinder another stepping stone in his journey. Sensei Narinder was awarded his 4th dan in the February group course in the Federation Headquarters. From all the students we want to Congratulate him for this achievement and at the same time thank him for his time to show us a path for our own personal journeys.
Below are some pictures from our club celebrating this milestone.
2017 was an amazing year for the Richmond Hill Ki Aikido Club.
In review we had a May seminar with Sensei Ian Aitkenhead (8th Dan) and what a seminar that was.
In August some (a total of 14) of the Club students went to England to Somerset where the Ki Federation Headquarters is located for a week of Ki Aikido, fun times and companionship. Several of our students went for grading (Kyu and Dan Grades).
Here are some of the students thoughts on their experience of practicing a week of aikido at the headquarters dojo:
“In all my years in education, I have never sensed more direct improvement in my learning from the beginning of a two-hour instruction to its end – that goes for all of the morning sessions. Being able to grade in this collegial environment, with so many engaging higher grades, was special.”……(Alex)
“Absolutely amazing week”….(Robert)
“This was the first Ki Aikido Summer School I’ve attended, the experience was new but in a way it felt like a very familiar place and experience to have. The common ground that has brought the diverse group of participants made it very easy to relate to the struggles I have in my personal growth. The guidance provided by all the teachers during practise was in itself an amazing experience. I hope to repeat the experience sooner than later.”……..(Alfredo)
“Focusing a whole week around Ki Aikido and the Somerset Ki Aikido Summer School was one of those defining moments of life. Having the great privilege of every day learning from knowledgeable Teachers, rethinking basic movements should be overwhelming and in a sense it is; but the underlying teaching that you almost absorb without wanting to is that it is ok to be overwhelmed with information and doubts sometimes, the path you follow afterwards is the one that will eventually reveal and strengthen your Ki Aikido. I am very grateful for this week of learning, for the fun moments at the Socials and for all the people who shared this experience with me.”…… (Cecilia)
And so 2017 came to an end. But before we closed 2017 we had our yearly gathering.
We had the pleasure to host Sensei Ian Aitkenhead (8th Dan) to teaching the Toronto Course. It was an amazing and memorable experience. We had friends from the Clubs in Ontario (Richmond Hill, Hamilton and London) as well some welcomed guests from England.