Meishinkan Dojo

Aikido of Bloomington-Normal
Student Handbook


Introduction

Welcome to Aikido of Bloomington-Normal. The instructor is Paul Huber, Nidan (2nd degree black belt). At Aikido of Bloomington-Normal we practice a style of aikido called Yoshinkan Aikido. We are affiliated with the Aikido Yoshinkai Foundation (AYF) through our parent dojo, the Meishinkan Dojo, headed by Kevin Bradley, Yondan (4th degree black belt).

Aikido

Aikido is a Japanese martial art consisting of throws and joint-locking techniques performed in a circular manner. Aikido was developed by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) based on his training in Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu.

Aikido techniques are practiced in pairs, with each person having a predetermined role, using a prearranged attack and defense sequence. The person performing the technique is called the shite (the doer). The person receiving the technique is called the uke (the receiver).

Role of Shite

The shite (doer) is the person performing the technique. The role of the shite is to perform the technique being practiced in the manner it was demonstrated by the instructor. The shite should focus on his body movements, posture, balance, breathing, and timing while performing the technique. Over time, the more self-control the shite is able to exhibit, the easier and more refined the techniques will become.

Role of Uke

The uke (receiver) is the person receiving the technique. The role of the uke is to help the shite learn the technique by being the shite's practice partner. The uke should not prevent the shite from performing the technique. The uke should move in response to the shite's actions. The uke should not try to instruct the shite on how to perform the technique. The shite should be allowed to perform the technique to the best of his ability with the instructor assisting the shite as needed.

Safety

You must always practice with the safety of your training partners in mind. You will practice with people with different levels of skill, experience, and varying physical attributes and ability. Don’t assume. Communicate with your training partner to determine his or her comfort level.

Some techniques will end with the uke being thrown, requiring the uke to perform a roll or fall. If the person acting as uke is unable to perform the roll or fall that was demonstrated, allow the uke to do an easier roll, or allow him to walk away from the throw.

There will often be several pairs of students practicing the technique at the same time. It is important that everyone on the mats have enough space to practice the technique safely. By spending a little time to figure out the amount of space you and your fellow students need before you begin practicing the technique, you can avoid running out of room and prevent any collisions.

Typical Class

1. Line Up/Bow In
2. General Warm Up Exercises
3. Rolls and Falls
4. Aikido-Specific Exercises
5. Practicing of Techniques
6. Line Up/Bow Out

1. Line Up/Bow In
At the beginning of practice the students line up on the mat and sit in seiza (formal kneeling position) facing the shomen (front of the dojo). Typically the students will line up according to rank, with the senior student (highest ranking) at the far right of the line. The sensei (teacher) will sit in seiza between the students and the shomen and be facing the shomen. The senior student will call out “Shomen ni rei” (bow to the front), signaling the students and teacher to bow to the shomen. The teacher will turn to face the students and the senior student will call out “Sensei ni rei” (bow to the teacher), signaling the students and teacher to bow to each other. While bowing to each other, the teacher and students may say “Onegaishimasu”(please lets practice together; literally “I have a request”). At the discretion of the teacher, the bowing in procedure may be done while standing.

2. General Warm Up Exercises
The class will stand and perform a set of general warm up exercises led by the teacher (or someone designated by the teacher). The exercises may include calisthenics and light stretching.

3. Rolls and Falls
The ability to roll and fall properly is necessary to practice aikido safely. Each student is allowed to practice rolls and falls at the level at which they are comfortable. Students are encouraged to gradually increase the level of difficulty, intensity, and height of the rolls and falls.

Students will begin learning to roll by rolling from a kneeling position using their arms for support during the roll. Students will move on to practicing rolls that begin from a standing position while continuing to use their arms for support during the roll. Eventually rolls and falls may be done at high speed with minimal use of the arms for support.

4. Aikido-Specific Exercises
After the general warm up exercises (or sometimes integrated into the general exercises), the class will perform some aikido-specific exercises. These exercises will include a number of exercises and stretches that will prepare the students for the techniques that will be practiced.

One set of exercises that are practiced at Yoshinkan Aikido dojo are the Kihon Dosa (basic movement exercises). The six Kihon Dosa are used to teach the basic movements found in all aikido techniques.

5. Practicing of Techniques
After all the exercises are finished, the students will line up again and the teacher will demonstrate a technique that will be practiced. The teacher will choose a student to act as uke (receiver). The teacher may repeat the technique several times and explain the parts of the technique in detail. After the teacher is finished demonstrating the technique, the students will choose a training partner and practice the technique. The students will practice the technique a number of times (usually four times) and switch rolls (the person who was shite now becomes uke). After the students have practiced the technique several times, the teacher may have the students change training partners. The teacher will finally tell the class to stop practicing the technique, possibly by calling “yame” (stop). The students will line up again for the teacher to demonstrate the next technique.

Sometimes techniques will be practiced in groups rather than pairs. One student will act as shite and the other students will be uke. When the shite has practiced the technique with each uke, the next student in line becomes shite. Each student should have the chance to be shite with all the other students in the group as uke.

Another method of practice is jiyu waza (free-style techniques). In jiyu waza, the uke will attack the shite numerous times with the same attack and the shite will perform any technique that comes to mind. Advanced students may practice jiyu waza as shite with two or more uke. During jiyu waza, techniques should be performed with the same degree of control and precision as when performed in standard practice.

6. Line Up/Bow Out
Practice ends in the same way that it begins. The students will line up on the mat and sit in seiza. After the teacher turns to face the shomen, the senior student will call out “Shomen ni rei” and bow to the shomen. The teacher will turn to face the students and the senior student will call out “Sensei ni rei” and the students and teacher to bow to each other teacher. While bowing to each other, the teacher and students may say “ Domo arigato gozaimashita” (thank you very much). The bowing out may be done while standing. After bowing out, the students will usually bow to each of their fellow students. The teacher may instead have the all of the students bow at once by calling “Otagai ni rei” (bow to each other). The students should wait until the teacher has left the mat to stand up and leave the mat themselves.

Glossary

General Terms
Ai Hanmi – Training partners start in the same stance
Aikido – Way of harmony with spirit or energy
Atemi – Strike to the body; strike to a vital point
Dogi – Practice uniform
Dojo – Training hall
Gyaku Hanmi – Training partners start in opposite stances
Hidari – Left
Hiriki No Yosei – Elbow power development; one of Yoshinkan Aikido's Kihon Dosa
Jiyu Waza – Freestyle technique
Kamae – Basic stance; posture
Kihon Dosa – Basic movements; basic movement exercises found in Yoshinkan Aikido
Kihon Waza – Basic techniques
Migi – Right
Seiza – Formal seated position; kneeling while sitting on your heels
Sensei – Instructor; teacher
Shite – Doer; person that performs the technique
Shomen – Front; front of the dojo
Shumatsu Dosa – Finishing movement; one of Yoshinkan Aikido's Kihon Dosa
Tai No Henko – Body change; one of Yoshinkan Aikido's Kihon Dosa
Uke – Receive or receiver; person that receives the technique
Ukemi – Receive with the body; often refers to rolling or falling
Yoshinkan – House for cultivating the spirit; style of Aikido founded by Gozo Shioda

Typical Sayings and Commands
Domo Arigato Gozaimashita – Thank you very much
Hajime – Start
Onegaishimasu – Please; used to say “please let us train together”
Otagai Ni Rei – Bow to each other
Sensei Ni Rei – Bow to the instructor
Shomen Ni Rei – Bow to the front
Yame – Stop

Counting in Japanese
Ichi – One
Ni – Two
San – Three
Shi or Yon – Four
Go – Five
Roku – Six
Shichi or Nana – Seven
Hachi – Eight
Ku – Nine
Ju – Ten

Types of Attacks
Kata Mochi – Shoulder grab
Katate Mochi – Single hand grab
Ryote Mochi – Grabbing both hands
Shomen Uchi – Overhead strike to the head
Yokomen Uchi – Side strike to the head
Shomen Tsuki – Stepping front punch

Types of Defences
Ikkajo Osae – First control
Nikajo Osae – Second control
Sankajo Osae – Third control
Yonkajo Osae – Fourth control
Shiho Nage – Four direction throw
Irimi Nage – Entering throw
Kote Gaeshi – Return the wrist throw
Tenchi Nage – Heaven and earth throw
Hiji Ate Kokyu Nage – Elbow strike breath throw
Hiji Shime – Elbow lock
Kaiten Nage – Rotary throw
Juji Nage – Cross throw

Naming Convention For Techniques
Type of Technique Initiating Attack Defence Variation

Type of Technique:
Tachi Waza – Both Uke and shite are standing
Hanmi Handachi – Uke is standing, shite is sitting
Suwari Waza – Both uke and shite are sitting
Ushiro Waza – Uke is standing behind shite
(If type of technique is not specified, it is Tachi Waza)

Initiating Attack:
Shomen Uchi, Katate Mochi, etc. In some techniques, the initiating attack is performed by the shite.

Defence:
Ikkajo Osae, Shomen Irimi Nage, etc

Variation:
Ichi – Number one; Begins in ai hanmi, more linear of the two variations
Ni – Number two; Begins in gyaku hanmi, more circular of the two variations

Examples:
Yokomen Uchi Hiji Shime Ichi = Side Strike, Elbow Lock, Number One (Type of Technique is implied to be Tachi Waza - Standing Technique)

Suwari Waza Kata Mochi Ikkajo Osae Ichi = Seated Technique, Shoulder Grasp, First Control, Number One



Last Updated: February 15, 2015