Importance of Punctuality in Martial Arts

Punctuality Martial Arts
We often stress the importance to be on time to classes and hold a strict schedule for beginning and ending of a class in Shudokan. This practice coincides not only with the general etiquette of martial arts, as well as the relationship with the instructor and student yet also with something slightly more profound. When we practice techniques, timing is an important, if not the pervasive quality of a good execution of any Aikido movement. To blend with one’s opponent/partner includes that we have to travel not only the same direction but also along the same path of time. Failing to do so separates the successful execution from choreographed movements. In wartime, a split millisecond was the difference between life and death, whereas in peaceful times, this concept has yet remained and become a way to harmonize with the world around us. The concept of "Maai" 間合い is both an interval of space and time and the foundation of your movements. This space and time bond that is created in Aikido techniques does not end in class practice and extends outside the dojo, as it is imperative to continue to blend with ones surroundings by fitting in to this social construct of time. To come in perfect time for meetings, social gatherings and paying respect to your commitments in terms of delivering in time, is as much practice of your own concept of time as it is an act of virtue to others. Once you are able to blend with the time - only then are you able to manipulate this dimension by freeing yourself from such a mesh and truly be able to carve out your own path in life.

Aikido Shudokan Malaysia Self Defense & Awareness Workshop


Location: Monash University Malaysia Campus,
Date: may, 4th, 2012
Time: 3 to 5

People have the predisposition that they know how to react if they are in dangerous situation or even think they will never get into any dangerous situation, it is good to have safety awareness like that, but things will be much unpredictable in real life.

As to avoid any unpleasant outcome when danger strikes, Aikido Shudokan Monash Club have decided to organise a workshop, with the name ‘Safety Awareness Workshop – Aikido in Self Defence’ on 4th May 2012, 3.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m., at Monash University Exam Hall. The workshop is aimed to increase the safety awareness among all the participants and to apply knowledge in Aikido in self defence. It is pleased that 20 participants had shown their unwillingness to be the victim of any dangerous situations.

Monash University Workshop 2012

The workshop was conducted by Dr Ramlan Ahmad Sensei (5th Dan) and his demonstration team comprising of Sensei Kent Yew (3rd Dan), Sensei Emma (2nd Dan), Sensei Elfira (1st Dan) and Sensei Kirill (1st Dan). Based on Sensei Ramlan, martial arts are not building a person physically, but mentally as well. A person with strong mind will hardly beaten by any difficulties. Same goes with practising Aikido, perseverance is the most important criteria for all Aikidokas throughout their journey in Aikido. With the guidance of highly experienced instructors, all the participants have certainly gained something that might help them in their future life. The event ends smoothly at 5.00 p.m. There is a certificate giving ceremony to all the instructors and also participants and light refreshment was served.

- Wong Kak Ming

Workshop was conducted by Dr. Ramlan Ahmed Sensei (5th Dan) chief instructor of Aikido Shudokan Malaysia followed by Sensei Kent Yeo , Sensei Emma Endzura, Sensei Kirill Korbout and sense Elfira Ruizna Ortega.
There were nearly 30 participants in the workshop and nearly all of them where from Monash University. The core Objective was to teach Student how to save their life using proper way of watching the surroundings and analyzing the probable danger.

Generally the workshop was conducted to two main parts:

1-Attack preventions: the Art of analysis of surroundings and danger prevention)     
2-Atack management: what to do in time of danger, what is safest to do to in life threatening situations

In first hour of the workshop, the main focus was the philosophy of self defense and the importance of pre-planning in self defense. Next, saving middle line of body by escaping from line of attack in a proper way of Aikido was taught. In this session, student had pair practice, where one student was the attacker (uke) and the other (shite) was asked to escape from the line of attack. In order to make the workshop more specialized, participants were categorized to two group, boys and girls.

Boys’ main instructions were about following topic:

-Learn how to make the attacker unbalanced and take his control centers (i.e. neck).
-Arm lock techniques
-Saving head from punches toward face
-More advanced lock techniques

Girls learnt quite different topics. Their Syllabus was as follow:

-Techniques to escape hands and other grabbed points from an attacker
-Self-defense when attacker comes from back in situation when attacker tries to grab body from behind.
-Self-defense from back in situation when attacker grabs head from back)
-Punching techniques for women
-Saving head from punches toward face

At last, Dr. Ramlan Ahmed Sensei gave his Certifications to the participants and club of “Aikido shudokan Monash and Sunway” provided dinner and group photo sessions.

- Amir Kamyar

Click to see Images from the Workshop

Yoshinkan Glosssary

Ai; To meet; love; unity; harmony.
Ai-hanmi; To face one another in identical stance.
Bokken; A hard-wood sword, lethal in trained hands.
Budo; Literally ‘war arts’, but now means modern martial arts of Japan.
Dogi; Training suit or white pyjamas.
Dojo; A training hall. Also the name for the building complex which contains the training hall.
Gambatte; ‘Persevere’, shouted as encouragement.
Goshin waza; Self defence techniques.
Hayaku ukemi; Literally, fast breakfall, in other words, ‘the flips’, going from standing, up into the air and over, to land on the shoulder and arm.
Hijishime; Elbow lock
Ikkajo; 1st Control
Iriminage; Entering throw
Jiyu waza; Freestyle attack. One person is attacked repeatedly by one or more ukes. Helps build speed, timing and a sense of distance.
Jo; Four foot three inches long wooden poke stick.
Kancho; The word means ‘head of school’
Katate; Hand
Kenshu; Special study classes. More intensive than regular training.
Kohai; junior, measured from date of joining.
Koho ukemi; Back breakfall. Falling back on to the backside and breaking the fall with a slap of the hands.
Kotegaeshi; Wrist turning throw
Mune; Chest
Nage; Throw
Nikajo; 2nd Control
Osae; Lock
Ryote; Two hand
Sankajo; 3rd Control
Sempai; Senior, measured from date of joining dojo.
Sensei; Teacher.
Senshusei; Literally, a’specialist’. Used to describe anyone doing the Riot Police course, also referred to as the senshusei course.
Shidoin; An assistant instructor.
Shihonage; 4 directions throw
Shikko-ho; Knee walking.
Shite; The person who does technique on uke.
Shomen; Front
Suriashi; Sliding across mats without raising the feet. Harder than it looks.
Suwari Waza; Sitting technique
Tachi Waza; Standing technique
Tatami; Traditional woven rice straw mat on a wooden frame.
Tsuki; Punch
Uchi-deshi; Dojo disciple. Some uchi-deshi live in the dojo, others simply come every day as if to a job.
Uke; The person on whom a technique is performed.
Ukemi; A breakfall of any kind.
Ushiro; Behind
Ushiro Waza; Techniques done where the attacker comes form behind. Designed to build awareness.
Waza; A technique or techniques.
Yoko; Side
Yonkajo; 4th Control
Yoshinkan; Style of aikido practised by the author. Originated by Kancho Sensei. Means the place of cultivating the spirit.

How to train and recover from injuries.


On 23rd of January 2012 all of a sudden due to the unknown reasons I had block out and was about to lose consciousness. As later it was clear stated during medical check-up I had wrong blood circulation in the back of my head. I had to take some intensive treatment to recover, but all attempts were useless. Blood circulation couldn’t be recovered neither by medication treatment, not ever surgery. Even though after that I found power in myself to continue aikido practices.

Taking a lesson from this accident I would like to share my experience in recovering injuries with Aikido and other exercises. In this bulliten I would cover two major issues, the blood circulation and muscle spasm.

First of all I would like to cover blood circulation. Aikido exercises, especially ukemi (rolls and falls) and kamae (aikido stance), are forcing blood in the body to flow in the right way. In the book “Aikido & Dynamic Sphere”, Sensei Oscar Rathi, in the preface covers this topic. He had same difficulties as well at the time he have started practicing Aikido. After a several month Sensei Oscar had felt improvements. Same applies to me. After about a month of practices, intensive, six days a week, I feel less headaches and dizziness after fast body movements.

The reason of recovery lays in human’s pulse rate. If the pulse rate is kept on the level of 120 for continuous period of time (about two hours per day), the blood vessels start to set into natural position under the pressure of coming blood.

Training with Injuries

One of the often met injuries in Aikido is muscle spasm. Due to the fact that aikidokas do most of techniques using hip, stressing legs to drive as low as it possible, muscle spasm happen very often. I would suggest to make some number of stretching exercises to overcome that, but Aikido Yoshinkan Shudokan has already one in its syllabus! It is kihon dosa. While doing this exercise as a warm-up or in a free time before or after the class, legs, hips and other muscles are getting stretched. The Kihon Dosa invented over 50 years ago is basic of Yoshinkan Shudokan Aikido that leads Aikidoka forward. Despite of stretching the muscles, Aikidoka must care also about sufficient supply for the muscles. This issues may not seem so obvious for people who were born in tropics, but for me as a man born for to the North, climate makes sense. Affluent sweating cause the wash out of the Magnesium and Calcium form the body. Try constantly take food than contain Magnesium. They are Mango, Papaya, Coconut, Guava. Mostly all of them are tropical fruits. It is more pleasant and nice to eat them rather than take pills or feel pain.

Every injury in sports it is first of all punch on a moral condition and behavior of the individual. In boxing after opponent strikes so hard that you fall down, its hard to rise up, to keep fight, because your will is broken down.

Same applies to aikidokas, especially in the beginning of their journey. Hard falls, wrong flips and resistance with shite harms body. This causes the harm of will and spirit, Kohai (junior) is not willing to resume trainings. This kind of injury is very serious and it breaks will to win.

Train train and train.


/ Yelzhan Naribayev


Aikido Restraint & Removal Seminar

On 15 January 2012, Sunday, an Aikido Restraint & Removal Seminar was conducted by Shihan Joe Thambu. The seminar was held at the Penang Budo Academy, the very same place that I train Aikido at, from 9:30AM to 5:00PM. There was about 20 people on the mat, but we still had enough space to practice our techniques without crashing into each other.

At first, I was very nervous, because there were six black belts present! However, Sensei Ramlan told us to relax and not to tense up. After the warm up, Shihan Joe Thambu first taught us two ways to pin uke on the floor, either with shite’s knee on uke’s shoulder, or shite sitting on uke. At first I was thinking how would I be able to get uke into a position to pin him/her in the first place, but Shihan Joe Thambu taught us many other techniques and locks which usually end up pinning uke on the ground with those two ways.

One of the most amusing techniques to me was the finger lock. Uke would point provokingly at shite (profanities optional) and shite would just bring uke down and lock uke’s arms behind his/her back. I can imagine many situations in which this technique would be useful, not to mention quite humiliating to the opponent as well!

After two and a half hours of training, we took a lunch break from 12:30PM to 2:30PM. Glen gave us a ride to Penang World Park for lunch and a coffee break before returning to the dojo. I literally fell asleep in his car due to exhaustion!

The second half of the seminar was the most interesting part. During this time, Shihan Joe Thambu taught us how to defend against an attacker armed with a knife. At the beginning, I would keep fumbling and ended up getting stabbed by the “knife” (we used plastic mineral bottles instead of real knives), until I figured out how to apply the Kihon Dosa movements that I’ve previously learned to the techniques. But the fun did not end there; we were also taught how to defend against a front kick and roundhouse kick too. I was actually surprised how intuitive it was to adapt the Go Waza movement three for use against the front kick! I found this part of the seminar the most satisfying, as I’ve always wondered how to apply Aikido to an attacker using his legs as weapons, since I have never learnt that kind of defense before in Aikido class.

Shihan Joe Thambu also answered a very important question that has been nagging in my mind since I started Aikido (I didn’t ask him the question though). When I learned Karate, I was taught to always follow up my attacks to form a sort of unrelenting combination. Shihan Joe Thambu said: “Our job is to make sure the first attack does not hit us.” (My apologies if I misquoted him). True enough, if you take uke down or send uke flying with his/her first attack, or even before uke could perform an attack, uke’s planned combo would become irrelevant.

During the seminar, I had the privilege of training with Aikidokas of many different body frames. Some were taller and bulkier than me (Glen), while others were very flexible. However, the most honorable and exhilarating experience was being able to train with my senseis, Sensei Farid and Sensei Kirill. Knowing that I was able to correctly perform the techniques and take them down was the best confidence boost I had ever! Rarely did I have such a chance to practice techniques with them in this manner.

At the end of the seminar, Shihan Joe Thambu’s taught us how to perform a whole body massage for our training partners with our body weight, and it was quite a relaxing massage after five hours of training. All in all, this seminar was worth it, as I’ve learned quite a lot and also enjoyed it very much. I did leave with some minor injuries: a bleeding lip, a cut forearm, and a bruised forearm, but nothing serious. I’m sure I’ll be feeling the sores and aches when I wake up tomorrow!

(click on image for event gallery)

- Bing Yen Chang

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