Welcome to the Brooklyn Aikikai web log. Our purpose is to provide to our community and beyond an online account of weekly articles, thoughts, and community happenings. The web log is moderated by Ryugan and Kate Savoca. We welcome any submissions in regards to Aikido, Zen, Misogi and Iaido or weapons study. We would also be interested in receiving any thoughts on cultural activities or practices that support a healthy, organic lifestyle with particular emphasis on their relation to the above mentioned arts. Please send only serious submissions – we reserve the right to edit articles for content or length, however, we will work with authors to preserve the integrity of their thoughts. Thanks for visiting and please check back regularly!

-R. Savoca

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quote from Tecumseh, Native American Shawnee leader

Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about his religion. Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and of service to your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. 
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place. Show respect to all people, but grovel to none. When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself. Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise ones turn to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. 
When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Getting Krissie out of bed to come join me for a 7 AM Aikido class is akin to pulling the steel hull of a sunken ship from the bottom of the ocean. On the way to a recent Thursday morning class, I think I heard her murmur "putting on a gi right now is a mortal sin." I prefer morning classes. I like to “get it out of the way” before I have a chance to think too much about it.  I am more prone to resist the evening classes. In the summer they are a lot hotter, Sensei is more amped up, and they conflict with that happy hour beer. We all resist training at times. The thing we can control, and what I have been working on, is my relationship to that resistance. 

The training itself is challenging and difficult at times, but sometimes breaking through the resistance to "showing up" is harder. This is strange because I’ve never attended an Aikido class that I haven’t enjoyed or have regretted being a part of.  I’m always happy to have trained and appreciate the benefits the practice brings. These benefits include, but are not limited to: a sense of calm, increased balance, and a fount of positive energy. Aikido brings all these things, but only when you train consistently. We learn to drop our resistance to training or just stop paying attention to it. This gets us on the mat. 

Once on the mat, resistance resurfaces. As uke,we resist moving fast, stretching deeply, and attacking sincerely.  As nage we resist by using strength instead of proper technique in an attempt to overpower our partner.  Sensei speaks about “cutting away” or “dropping” what is non-essential rather than looking to add something. By cutting away our resistance we find it easier to stay connected and absorb the technique nage applies. By dropping resistance, we develop the ability to absorb and use uke’s force instead of coming into conflict with it. Naturally, resistance is dropped through dedicated practice. Cultivating the proper mindset and spirit accelerate this evolution. When there is no longer resistance, acceptance remains.

-N. Landes