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c. Our Foundational practice (IS in a nutshell)

We practised a series of solo exercise given to us by Taiki Okajima Sensei for a period of 6 months in our dojo in 2011-2 as a replacement to our usual warm-ups and noticed some physical and connectedness progress. They explained some of the mystery when we visited him in 2005 in Japan. The exercise were the foundation of partner practice exercises and aiki-age/ aiki-sage exercises that in time we came to see in most of our aikido kata. (Pictured right)

We later discovered very similar exercises in O Sensei’s ‘Rites of Spring’ exercise practised daily by him (the founder of aikido), coming across the ‘universal exercise in the Sigman method (follow link for video) and then later aspects  in the bodywork method of Dan Harden. 

We believe this is a foundational staring point for building the engine/ connecting the engine and applying the engine and is a good start to make some progress that sees almost immediate results. At the same time we acknowledge that its is an incomplete glossing over of IS and the hard work of solo training - but is a useful sign post none-the-less.

The approach we followed was

1. All of these can be done solo as warmups, 
2. Repeat with uke holding hands of top of nages as a following exercise  and after a few sessions some teaching become clear. 
3. Explore the whole aikido syllabbus , starting with Ryotedori, then Katedori then Kosadori, then Ushiro then the striking arts starting with yokomen. Its a good 6 months worth of training with nice positive fedback we think. After this "Connecting the Engine working on the elements within it in a progressive, if mundane way to develop the startling results we see in others 

Okajima Sensei's warmups (Courtesy Aiki Centre Melbourne)

Sigman basics (yep its old but some good stuff - the following video has the universal exercise