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Long-time Komyozan Dojo member, Pat McDonald…

…returned to Great Nature, Wednesday July 16, 2014…pat_sanCROP






- — – - – - – - – he is in our thoughts- – - – - – - – - 

- – - – - – - – - – and greatly missed – - – - – - – - -

Aiki-no-Yugen-no-Kigakudo, Saturday, August 2

Understanding that the mystery of existence is directly related to the ki-connectedness between us all can allow us to learn techniques for influencing an audience, fellow-performers, or an opposing swordsman. And the experience of practising these same techniques enhances our own creative flow and powers of collaboration.

Kigaku – - – the study of ki – - – is a part of most traditional Japanese arts – - – comprising a rich body of practice and wisdom: ki-flow, kizeme, working with our ki-body…

Practising these traditional exercises in the sacred dojo space, constructed according to mikkyo principles, is in itself a powerful and revelatory experience, and a making contact with the roots of Suzuki actor training,  and of many  gendai martial arts.

Practised as a ‘do‘, a Way, kigaku is a gateway to the mysterious: monji yugen kigaku-ho –  A returning to the roots of the ancient (ken-no-michi) to deepen the modern (Suzuki-ho).

“…opened up new opportunity for continuing growth, already reflected by improved engagement in my writing these past two days.” – Heidi Kraay, playwright and theater-practitioner

For performers, artists, and creative practitioners of every tradition. 

First Saturday of the month, 9:00 – 10:30am.

free to members of Dwayne Blackaller’s Actors Training class

* mat fee $15 for other attendees *


O’Sensei no kuden: in-yo(4)

It is essential to give yourself over to the action of the sub-conscious, which alone can reconcile “yin and yang”.

- – – translated (and possibly paraphrased in translation) by Itsuo Tsuda, recorded by André Nocquet Shihan in his Hombu training diary, 1955-57. Published in Maître Morihei Ueshiba: présence et message p.195

A Lesson from my Karate Master (2)…


- – - by Jolene Starr   (comments and discussion welcome at

I began training with Karatedo Doshinkan in 1980, and each year I trained at least once, sometimes twice, with Hanshi Isao Ichikawa.   In 1985 I attended a week-long training in Geras, Austria.

There were nearly 300 people at the training, which was held outside on a soccer field. About an hour into the three-hour morning training, my karate master, Hanshi,  stopped and asked one of the blackbelts to come up. He talked to him briefly. Then Hanshi had the whole group turn toward the back of the field, where a number of people had pitched tents. Camping was a low-cost option for people to participate in the summer training. I had splurged and had a room in the nearby hotel.

Hanshi told us to begin shouting, “Ra-Mon, Ra-Mon, Ra-Mon.” It was the name of one of the Mexican members. After a minute, he had us pause. Our shouting seemed to have had no effect, so Hanshi had us repeat the exercise, almost 300 people shouting in unison, “Ra-Mon, Ra-Mon.” Over and over. Finally, a sleepy-looking man stuck his head out of one of the tents.

“Ra-Mon, come here!” Hanshi roared.

Ramon disappeared into the tent for a minute, then reappeared dressed in his gi. He went up to the front of the group and Hanshi talked to him. Then Ra-Mon begin running laps around the field while Hanshi resumed the karate training with the rest of the group.

I knew I should pay attention to Hanshi’s instruction, but we were doing some fairly basic and routine movements, so I periodically glanced at Ramon running the laps. I especially could not help but look when his path crossed right in front of the group.

Ramon had done about five laps when he stopped almost directly behind Hanshi, untied his black belt, threw it on the ground and began to walk away. I and a couple of other people near me audibly gasped. Hanshi stopped the exercise we were on, and told us to wait. Then he turned, walked over to Ramon and bellowed, “Ra-Mon. . .”

What followed was in German, so I do not know what was said, only that the tone was furious and Hanshi was inches away from Ra-Mon. I involuntarily held my breath and my heart was pounding. I was afraid that Hanshi was going to kill him. If this had been medieval Japan, I’m sure he would have. But that day Hanshi did not touch Ramon except with his angry words.

Later, as we stood in formation for the closing ceremony, Hanshi talked to the group about discipline, respecting our body’s limits, and taking responsibility for ourselves and for our friends. Hanshi had noticed that Ramon was absent, and when a friend told Hanshi the reason for Ramon’s absence, Hanshi was not pleased. Ramon had stayed up late with the group the night before, drinking heavily, and he had not come to class because he was hung over. Hanshi emphasized that whether and how much we drank was our decision, but we needed to respect our bodies’ limits and not let our partying interfere with our responsibility to come to training the next day.

That day Hanshi taught us about discipline, recognizing our own limits and taking responsibility. But what had amazed me the most was Hanshi’s awareness that one person out of a group of nearly 300 was missing.  I had heard tales of his legendary memory for people and names, but this episode convinced me that the tales were truth and not mere myth.

Michio Hikitsuchi Shihan remembers…

He also told us to have a sense of gratitude. Be thankful for others and to nature. Without gratitude we cannot become true human beings. The power of nature, the sun, gives us everyhing. When rain falls, the field produces rice. Fruit and grain grow. This is the gift of the earth. Therefore the keiko is very important.

- – - in Remembering O-Sensei, ed. Susan Perry, p.101

O’Sensei no kuden: Furitama

You are standing with one foot put on the rock of the sky, and the other foot on the rock of the earth.

- – - recorded by Tamura Nobuyoshi Shihan,  reported by Jim Baker of Aikido of Norfolk (retrieved May, 2014)

…a feeling that wells up and comes out naturally…

If a conversation is truly something wonderful, it is kototama….When the desire for everyone to be in harmony is present in what you say, I feel your words are kototama. If the heart of love and gratitude permeates every word, that is kototama….    When O’Sensei chanted the sounds A…O…U…E…I… and other kototama, he would say that the sound had to emerge naturally, of its own accord. “A”…is a feeling that wells up and comes out naturally in a sound. While O’Sensei was sounding the kototama, he would say, with “A” the sound emerges naturally, and with “ME” the sound goes out and circulates….

- – -  Motomichi Anno Shihan – Journey to the Heart of Aikido,   pp.248-9

…ki-work and misogi…

Ki techniques of the body
calm the spirit -
Misogi techniques
give us guidance : -
the heavenly – and earthly – kami…

- – - O’Sensei

O’Sensei no Kuden: Kokyu

Breath out while breathing in, and breath in while breathing out.

- – - reported by Nobuyuki Watanabe Shihan – in Gekkan Hiden,  Aug. 2007.  Interview translated by Christopher Li Sensei,  Sangenkai website.

Theater as Mandala…