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Archive for June, 2013

Thursday Morning Aikido Class

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Aikido Class Thursday Mornings 11-12.30

The above Aikido Class is suspended during the summer

It will start again in September subject to numbers attending.

Sensei Tom Moss 10th Anniversary Memorial Course

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

10th Anniversary Commemoration Course

On Saturday 18 May 2013, Phoenix Aikido Club in Coventry held a special event in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the sad loss of Sensei Tom Moss. Some 50 students came along to pay their respects in the form of a four-hour course, hosted by the Yama Arashi UK Association’s current Chief Instructor, Sensei Mrs Barbara Moss.

The students were of all grades, the more senior ones being those fortunate aikidoka who had actually trained under Sensei Tom, while the kyu-grades, having come to aikido in the intervening years, were happy to take advantage of the unique line-up of nine very senior instructors, Sensei Barbara and eight others, friends, former students, or fellow-students of Sensei Tom.

First of all, our own Chief Instructor, Sensei Barbara, proved – as usual – that, contrary to popular opinion, size actually DOESN’T matter, when a petite lady can demolish a strapping great uke without even breathing hard….

Each instructor taught for about 20 minutes, enlivening their session with memories and anecdotes of Sensei Tom, and all of them remembering his constant emphasis on the need to concentrate on the basics, such that occasionally we older students found it unnervingly reminiscent of Sensei Tom’s sentiments.

The other instructors – not necessarily in this order – were Philip Smith, Frank Burlingham, Mick Parsons, Vic Williams (who came back from the USA to teach at this course, Richard Guise, plus the resident Coventry stalwarts of Grev Cooke, Ric Costigan, and Brian Kennedy.

So we trained hard but enjoyably (you know you’ve enjoyed it when the end of the session is called, and you just think “What, already?”), and true to the spirit of Sensei Tom we did plenty of basic techniques, but with each instructor’s different experience demonstrating a different aspect or a variation of the basic theme.

Regrettably, with so many top-notch instructors demonstrating so many techniques throughout the course, one’s memory can become a bit confused (!), but one of the instructors reminded us of Sensei Tom’s “Samurai Walk,” and, for example, Sensei Vic Williams demonstrated two techniques from gyaku, the first drawing the uke back into inner Iriminage, the second turning uke’s wrist in a “motor-cycle throttle” move and drawing them into tembimnage.

One of Sensei Rich’s techniques was sankyo, when he referred to how fast Sensei Tom’s hands could turn take and turn an uke’s attack, which we older students remembered clearly and are still trying to emulate.

Sensei Grev showed us a response to a two-man attack, the first uke going for ushiro ryote tekubi kubi dori in preparation for a shomenski from the second uke, and the response being to take the first uke’s hand into sankyo, stepping aside to avoid the shomenski and applying hijishime, while either taking the first uke to the ground or throwing them from the sankyo.

Sensei Brian showed, among other techniques, a direct tenchinage from ryotedori attack, while one of Sensei Ric’s chosen applications was a direct kokyunage from katatedori, and showed how dynamic aikido can be, giving us all the opportunity for a good bounce-around

Sensei Mick Parsons also demonstrated, convincingly, that unlike most martial arts, aikido doesn’t require a person to have four fully-functioning limbs for it to be really effective!

Sensei Smith followed in his father’s footsteps in showing that many aikido techniques came straight from sword-work, a poignant reminder of some of the days of the “Big Three” courses.

And of course, Sensei Frank showed us a “simple” response to ryotedori, which we had the pleasure of not only recognising but enjoying the stunned reactions of those seeing the technique for the first time.

Then at the end of the course, Sensei Grev favoured us with a few of his own memories of Tom – and it was always “Tom” off the mat; if you called him “Sensei” outside the dojo he would correct you firmly!

Sensei Grev had also made a compilation DVD of some of Tom’s classes, demonstrations and gradings, from very early days to quite late in his career, copies of which were available, and he played it in the little dojo after the end of the course.

He also gave the class some excellent news, which was that earlier in the month, Sensei Barbara had been awarded her 6th Dan by Sensei Thielemans, a decision heartily approved by everyone.

Finally, the commemorative event concluded with a pre-booked (and over-subscribed!) convivial evening meal, winding up what had been a fitting tribute to someone we had all valued tremendously – and more than one person made the wry but valid comment that “Tom would have loved this!” Yes, we believe he would.

– By: Marianne Crisp

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