Past Seminar Images and Reports

Fall Seminar - Sept 2008
Shizuo Imaizumi - Shihan

Fall Seminar - Sept 2006
Shizuo Imaizumi - Shihan

This year we traveled to Albuquerque, NM for a three day fall seminar with Imaizumi Sensei. Durango had between 8 and 12 people practicing, depending on the day and session, in the midst of the 30+ people training. An outstanding time was had by all. We appreciate the hosting work done by the Albuquerque dojo folks and it was wonderful to receive instruction from Sensei in our own backyard. We look forward to next year.

 

Fall Shodan Shinsa & Seminar - Nov 2005
instructor Jim Redel Sensei

Friday night began with Shodan weapons testing with Steve Self and Michael Wilkinson. The requirements are extensive in both solo and paired katas, but the brisk pace suggested by Redel Sensei allowed each to complete in under an hour.

Saturday morning began with the Shodan testing in aikido waza. Michael went first, followed immediately by Steve. Again, the test moved swiftly. Sensei Redel set up the context like shodo calligraphy...one character, one stroke. One cannot erase or correct a brush stroke. It was to be one call, one throw...through the 283 techniques, then weapons take-aways, then randori, and no breaks. As it was, it took about 75 minutes for each test. Both candidates passed with clear acknowledgements. Durango SBK now has two new shodans! Thanks to all the Albuquerque folks who came up and received ukemi for the tests. And a deep bow to Mark Winkworth, for years of instruction and guidance culminating in the successful testing.

Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning Jim Redel (center) lead seminar sessions with both aikido waza and aiki weapons. It was a very successful weekend with interesting and important technique details presented.

 

Fall Seminar - Nov 5-6-7, 2004
instructor Jim Redel Sensei

 

 

The locals set up for the weekend Friday afternoon: bamboo screens, weapons rack, O Sensei and Imaizumi's pictures for the shomen... Tables with water, Red Bull, fruit, Gatorade and snacks. We laid out the event's t-shirts . Scatter about some sign-up sheets, releases and local maps and we were ready to go.

By 6pm there were at least 15 people lining up to bow in, more arriving as the session began. After an abbreviated warm-up, Jim demonstrated an eclectic blend of techniques: various grabs and both katame-waza and kokyu-waza. He spoke about slow-half-circle aikido, then flowing-full-circle and finally small-circle aikido, as a progression from basic learning to more advanced practices. The two hours seemed to fly by, as the sweat and ukes flew.

Then at 8pm we bowed out and headed over to Steve's place for a casual dinner-reception, featuring sake, beer, edamame, potstickers, yakitori, and great aikido stories - some of which may even have been true.

The evening tapered off at around 11pm; only the truely committed continued until 1am, as the conversation ranged widely.


Then we were up too early to prepare for the days morning session: Nihon Kendo Kata and the spirit of the sword. Here Jim's deep interest in all things aikido allowed him to present the five element theory behind this modern kata. He charted the elements and their matching postures (Gogyo no Kamae): hasso-wood, wakigamae-metal, jodan-fire, chudan-water, gedan-earth. JIm elaborated on the relationships between the elements and how different kamae are winning or superior to others. I.e., water quenches fire, thus chudan is a superior response to jodan. We then examined the kata from this perspective noting the interplay of the elements throughout the many moves and counter-moves. Fascinating.

The morning session was filled with newcomers and yudansha - all enjoying the precision and timing inherent in the Nihon Kendo Kata, as documented by Imaizumi Sensei, and presented by Jim.

 

 

 

After a lunch break, the Saturday afternoon session proved to be the most exciting and highly attended. At one point we have more than 25 aikidoka blending and throwing. Plus we had the opportunity to move into the main gym and onto a brand new spring-floor, 42ft x 42ft. Plenty of zenpo space.

In the afternoon it began to dawn on us where the techniques Jim was presenting were coming from... A while ago we had submitted a list of some of the more obscure Shodan techniques we wanted to clarify, as we prepared for the test. Jim was smoothly working all these into the seminar.

So everyone got to practice the likes of:
-shomenuchi, ude harai ago oshi.
-yokomenuchi, zenpo ude kiri oroshi nage.
-ryote mochi, zenpo kiri kaeshi nage
-shomenuchi, tenchi nage tenkan
-ushiro tekubi tori, kotegeishi, ude mawashi ojigi...etc.

Saturday late afternoon, many of us went to Trimble Hot Springs to soak. A wonderful counterpoint to the brisk aikido. It is always a interesting to soak with aikido people - they usually flow well into conversation and silences while the heat and mountain air work magic.

Saturday night was dinner out... This year we enjoyed Mama's Boy Italian Restaurant. The food was quite good, and the service left plenty of time to enjoy further conversation.

Sunday's morning session featured Muso Ryu, Jo Awase. Jim presented many interesting facets of the kata. He discussed simultaneous or sequential footwork in developing power, the use of the thumb and little finger to cue the grip at the ends of the jo, and the importance of utilizing the length of the jo when facing off against the bokken. The morning session finished with a vigorous half an hour of various Jo Nage Waza.

Only the dedicated and over-zealous continued into the afternoon on Sunday. This two hour session featured Ushiro Waza and finished with various Jo Tori Waza. By the end of the weekend muscles were spent, gi's were soaking, minds were fatigued, and there was a dojo-wide glow of satisfaction.

The seminar was a wonderful success, for many of us in Durango it is a dream come true to have this kind of event locally. We want to thank everyone who attended - it was espeically delightful to have Roz and Sudeep Saturday afternoon - as well as the whole Pagosa crew: Bill, Lisa, Lake and Courtney for the weekend. A very special thanks to the crew coming up from Albuquerque: Jim, Ralph, Evan, Bob, David, and Jennifer - it is always great to practice with you, and it would not be a real SBK seminar without you.

A deep bow and heartfelt thank you to Jim Redel for the seminar instruction. It was Inspiring, vigorous, smooth, fun and filled with wider context.

We look forward to building this event, doing it every year, and making it fun and memorable for all who attend.

Fall Seminar - Nov 2003
instructor Jim Redel - Sandan

We had a wonderful weekend with Jim Redel, the four amigos from Albuquerque and all the locals. Depending on the session there were between 16 and 20 aikidoka practicing, half wore hakamas. Friday evening's session was brisk and enjoyable -- and followed by a reception at Steve Self's house in the mountains of Durango. Good food, talk and saki. Saturday and Sunday featured both Aikido techniques and substantial aiki-weapons work. We particularly enjoyed the Muso Ryu jo forms and the ken suburi and ken awase Jim Sensei taught. Jim's insights and philosophy on aikido practice were both inspiring and entertaining.

A wonderful long weekend. Vigorous and heartfelt thanks to Jim and all those who came out to practice.

Fall Seminar - Oct 2002
instructors Jim Redel Sensei & Kathy Park Sensei

This was the first ever fall seminar in Durango, in 2002. We rented the Quaker's Meeting Hall in Grandview, invited both Kathy Park (she brought the mats) and Jim Redel to teach. Michael coordinated and produced the very successful event, and followed up by patching the hole in the wall from a vigorous throw involving Adam.

 

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