Balerna January 2023

Seminar with Domenico Saida, Francesco Ingemi, Giuseppe De Matteo


For Saturday, January 21st, 2023, the Associazione Ticinese Ki Aikido had invited to a seminar in Balerna. Following a suggestion by Yoshigasaki Sensei, so-called "young Dan", i.e. Aikidoka from 4th Dan should be given the opportunity to teach at a regional seminar. The first seminar of this kind in Balerna took place in March 2022. In order to keep the costs öow for the participants, the seminar takes place on just one day, so there are no accommodation costs.
This time the teachers were Domenico Saida, Francesco Ingemi and Giuseppe De Matteo. The beginning was set to 10 a.m. which made it possible to arrive in time in these somewhat darker winter months Already at 8 o'clock Aikidoka from Balerna started with the preparations in the gym. This time not only the mats had to be set up. A common lunch in the hall was scheduled for 12:30 (see flyer). The tables and benches provided by the municipality of Balerna had to be set up. And all the tasty things that Yvette had prepared in days of work had to be brought into the hall.

All preparations were completed shortly after 9 a.m. and the first participants were already arriving.
Domenico took over the lesson in the morning. He began with exercises for perception, gymnastics with yoga elements and with kenkotaiso. Then he took individual exercises from Aikitaiso. He showed the difference between static Ki tests and Ki tests in motion and invited to dare more movement. In a special exercise, he had the range of the Kiai tested. Probably alluding to the well-known essay by Yoshigasaki "'How to do' versus 'What to do'" he recommended not neglecting the component "How to do" in the sense that the Aikidoka become aware of the actual situation and circumstances.

During the lunch break, we had lunch together starting at 12:30 p.m. First there was a hot miso soup with vegetables and tofu. Then a variety of mostly vegan tasty dishes from the buffet. Everything was very well prepared. The seats at the tables were already set and water, wine and bread were ready on the tables. Because of bad experiences with the current environmentally friendly disposable cutlery, everyone had metal spoons, knives and forks in place, which do not break easily. There were also sweets for dessert, for which the guests queued in a very disciplined manner in a long line (see photo below). In order not to have to practise on a full stomach, the lunch break lasted until 3 p.m. Some used the time to have a coffee in a nearby café in the center of Balerna or to rest on the mats in the hall.

Francesco took over the second block of lessons. His theme was Jo 1. First he had the sequence repeated several times. Both the standard Hitoriwaza form and the form with no footwork. Then he took a few individual elements from Jo 1 and had them practiced intensively. Among other things, the movements were not only practiced on one side, as in the tsuzukiwaza, but on the right and left. After these preparations he showed a special, very interesting combination in which two Bokken attack a Jo.

Giuseppe did the last part of the seminar. Overall, he took on quite different techniques, the details of which he considered specifically. First, he emphasized the importance of footwork. Don't just focus on upper body and arm movements. Otherwise it can happen that the mind becomes fixed on the point of contact with the partner. One way to avoid this is to use proper footwork. He then showed a series of exercises from auto-protection and made the connection to the original Aikido techniques, which he explained precisely and had practiced intensively. He ended the seminar with thanks to the organizers and the participants.

The seminar was a great experience for all participants. The 4th Dan showed how they had studied the didactics of Aikido and presented interesting and convincing solutions. At the time of Yoshigasaki Sensei it was probably more the case that the dojo leaders brought the impulses from his seminars into their dojos. In today's situation, everyone is more motivated to think for themselves. In this way they develop a profound understanding of Aikido and the didactics. Even if there are different perspectives and ways of doing things, this is rather enriching in the context of our seminars. No one claims to own the truth, to prioritize his/her own excellence, or to command others for some reason. Accordingly, the atmosphere is very amicable and cooperative and the seminars are seen as an enrichment. The next seminar in this series will take place in Balerna on February 11th with Riccardo Luppi and Corrado Calossi.

Group photo from late morning

Seminar in Balerna, Januar 2023

Group photo from afternoon

Seminar in Balerna, Januar 2023


Fotos: B. Boll