The art of body shifting plus a little Aikido

Tai Sabaki

The focus of this month was Tai-Sabaki so we devoted the majority of the time working on the art of body shifting plus a little Aikido. We spent a lot of time focusing on Yoko-Geri and Mae-Geri as these are a crucial part of two of the Tai-Sabaki Kihon.  Strong, sharp, controlled kicks are essential not for the performance of the Kihon but to ensure an effective application.  It’s amazing how much a session of kicking takes out of you!

The first move of any of the Tai-Sabaki exercises is the fundamental defensive component. The preceding kicks are used to either debilitate your attacker or to place them in a more ‘accommodating’ position. Therefore, the kicks from Tai-Sabaki Ni and San must work without fail for the Bunkai to be effective.

And the well known secret to awesome kicks…. practice, practice, practice.

We took a trip to the Aikido Dojo

After Bruce Robertson’s visit to our Dojo he extended an invitation for us to visit his Aikido Dojo.  Dawn and I took the trip to Rozelle one Monday night and we were given a warm welcome by everyone and joined in the class for the warm up.

Bruce’s students were put through their paces while we watched.  We were treated to an excellent display of a huge range of techniques including throws, joint locks, pins, etc.  Bruce called out a name of a technique, defence or attack in Japanese and his students took it from there.  He also talked us through what was happening and why.

Our visit to the Aikido Dojo in October 2015
Our visit to the Aikido Dojo in October 2015

It was truly impressive how effortless Bruce’s students made their techniques look despite the strength or speed of the attacker
We were also given demonstrations of a Jo Kata and some knife attacks.

I took the mat with Michael and we played around with a few random attacks.  It was incredibly to experience the way an Aikido expert took control of my balance and, in some cases, my mind.

Ian and Michael with an Aikido/Karate freestyle session
Ian and Michael with an Aikido/Karate freestyle session

I’m grateful to Bruce and his students for inviting us to train with them and for making us feel very welcome.

Our visit to the Aikido Dojo in October 2015
Our visit to the Aikido Dojo

The Kurrajong crew visited

David Hennessey and his students came and trained with us in North Sydney again.


We spent the first half of the class on Tai-Sabaki smashing out a few dozen repetitions of the Kihon before taking a look at the Bunkai.  A room full of kids and adults gives the Bunkai greater depth. With such a great range of sizes and strengths everyone gets a very broad experience.

Heian Nidan applications
Heian Nidan applications

Riz, David and I took it in turns to work on the various applications of Kanku-Dai that we have been exploring.  Each of the applications we have worked on are starting to become more fluid.  A lot of them appear to focus on the neck of the opponent, either striking or twisting it.  Some of them are just plain brutal!

The second half of the session was devoted to Kata.  We began at the start with the TaeKyoko Kata and worked out way up with a series of slow, then fast repetitions.  To cap off the day we finished with Tekki Shodan.

A good Karate session always finishes far too soon, and today was one of those.  A great time was had by all and we plan to make it a regular thing.

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We packed up and headed to the park for some well deserved afternoon tea.

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