| News from the BAB Chairman May 2020
Well we have seen the first signs of life for sport in the UK following the Governments easing of restrictions on a range of outdoor activities, albeit with safe distancing and limitation on numbers etc .
However as at present there is no news about indoor sports activities, certainly not before 1st June and even then there is no suggestion that it might include contact sports.
Central Government – www.gov.uk/coronavirus
NHS Coronavirus Advice – www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ World Health Organisation – www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
We will contact members with guidance, specific to the practice of Aikido, once a clearer picture emerges on a possible pathway to resuming training.
2. Sport England Funding
Community Emergency Fund
I wrote recently, regarding the fund set up by Sport England to assist sport clubs adversely affected by having to close down, at least temporarily, due to the coronavirus who were facing significant financial hardship.
The initial funding was £20 million but due to demand a further £15 million has been made available,
Full details can be found on the BAB website
Please let me know if you have made a successful application for funding.
3. Activities During the Lockdown
Aikido for Daily Life (Sensei Quentin Cooke) Sensei Quentin Cooke is currently running weekly on-line aikido sessions every Thursday evening at 7p.m, and is happy for anyone to join him. If you are interested just email him on email@example.com and he will provide you with the link.
Whilst most on line aikido sessions focus on what we can practice without actual physical contact, Quentin is more interested in using this time, to explore principles of aikido that apply in all aspects of life and bringing that alive for people as well as looking at things that bring us together as a community.
This week’s topic is “Whether there is empathy in Aikido and if so what part it plays.”
Topics covered so far include-
….Exploring how people were using what they learnt on the mat to cope with Covid
….Examining the principle of awareness on the mat and how honing that skill might be useful off the mat.
….Holding an international session with Dojo Cho from literally around the world seeing how Covid was effecting dojos in some of the more far flung parts of the globe.
….Examining the principle of acceptance and respect on the mat and how honing those ideas might be useful off the mat.
….Interview with Kimberly Richardson Sensei from Two Cranes Dojo in Seattle
….Discussing why aikido is a declining art in terms of people stepping onto the mat around the world and what we need to do to reverse that. Looking ahead Quentin plans to carry out further interviews, a verbal Aikido Session, and an exploration of the part that confidence plays in the art of aikido. He also hopes to do a session addressing equality in aikido, examining whether we have a problem with sexism, ethnicity, physical or mental incapacity and how do we make aikido more inclusive and more accepted in the mainstream.
Aikido for Daily Life (Sensei Piers Cooke) Sensei Piers Cooke who is the dojo cho of the Surrey Hills Aikido club based on top of Leith Hill, the highest point Surrey, just outside Dorking writes
The club opened in January 1986 and in all that time we have only ever closed between Christmas and New Year. So when the pandemic hit I wanted to continue practising in some shape or form. My brother Quentin Cooke started a zoom group to discuss important, topical, Aikido related issues or interviews world renowned teachers.
I decided to run an informal aikido class, concentrating on Aikido development exercises, bokkan kata and aikido principles. To spice up the classes I invite experts in various fields, usually two a week: Dr Jake Cooke, a chiropracter with a special interest in neurology has helped us to better understand what good posture is, the importance of balance and how it disappears with older age and why, plus how the brain learns; Gruff Parsons, ex England 7s and current Cardiff Blues physio, has been teaching us safe warm ups, the importance of good shoulder health, and exercises for rehabbing elite athletes, (we can only dream); in addition Przemek Gawronski 5th dan Warsaw Aikido has taught a session and every week Dimitra Zirou ends the class with Qui Quong exercises and breathing.
The classes, thus far have been well received, one of my old students now living in Cape Town joins us every week and as long as people enjoy it I will continue. The classes are every Tuesday at 7.30pm, never longer than 90 minutes, zoom ref: 838 595 139 everyone is very welcome to join us.
Piers Cooke Co-founder of Aikido for Daily Life, Finance Officer of the British aikido Board.
Shidokan Sensei Tony Russell Ward has a novel idea for keeping in touch with his members. Each week he sets them home study on various Aikido/Judo related waza with a little quiz.
25 members and families joined the first session, via Zoom and it was a good laugh but also chaotic with children and animals wandering into view at times.
Tony asked each one of the group taking part to field 5 questions, so meaning they became the Quizmaster for a while and this made everyone feel inclusive.
Aikido Development Society
Sensei Steve Billett writes that since the lockdown and the subsequent closing of our clubs we decided that we should all keep in touch on our Aikido Training nights, So Zoom became our preferred method, although we also talk daily on our WhatsApp’s groups that we have had for a few years.
Over the first weeks we started chatting about how quick we would get back to training until our medical members pointed out how long this might really take. Since then we have been discussing aikido techniques, how important it is to move in the correct manner, Lucky for us in Tomiki we have some solo katas that do exactly that, hopefully they have been practising it during lockdown.
Although we are a Tomiki group I have taught my class the traditional 31 Jo Kata in the past and we have discussed on our return we could start with that and the other Tomiki weapons kata sections to help with social distancing and then move on to the 31 Kumijo, which I will have to learn again as I have forgotten it. We normally look at a video of what we are discussing as it’s very easy to share when using Zoom
Truthfully sometimes it turns in to a after training chat down the pub, this weeks discussion was on the BBC TV program ‘Sacred Wonders’ that was shown Saturday lunchtime, one section was on a Shaolin Initiate passing his examination to become a full monk. The kata he performed was using the Monkey Stick, very impressive. We watched that and discussed how poor we were in compassion to the 20+ year old who had trained full time for 10 years to get to his exacting level.
What is most important that my club gets together twice a week although we are socially distanced the comradeship is still growing and it has given some of the newer members the chance to get to know the rest of the group. We even have other association members joining our group chats therefore we are building friendships across clubs and associations. Sometimes the kids pop in to see who Mum or Dad are talking to so it a great way to grow as they are our next generation.
If you try this with you clubs don’t get upset if everyone does not join in. We sometimes have double figures join in but that is less than a quarter of my class total number.
Finally please let me know if you’re Association or Club is running other sessions that might be of interest to our members