Our first annual NASA Friendship Seminar at the Venice Japanese Community Center brought together four leading Nishio instructors: Minoru “Jim” Shibata, Michele Benzamin-Miki, Chikako Higa Bryner and Philip Greenwood.  Students attended from many Southern California schools including Venice Aikido Club, Shu Bi Juku Dojo in Santa Monica, The Dojo in West Los Angeles, Greenwood Aikido in Temecula, Kakushi Toride Aikido Dojo in Los Angeles, Aikido of Irvine and Pasadena Aikikai.

Shibata Sensei started the day with a study of irimi from aihanmi and ryotedori.  He emphasized not resisting or opposing the uke saying that, “When you resist the opponent you actually make them stronger.”   Shibata Sensei’s technique was calm and relaxed with a subtle sense of timing and matching that flowed like water.  He also showed how to “release” the uke at the end of each technique as opposed to driving them into the ground.  It was a beautiful way to start the day.

Benzamin-Miki Sensei lead the second morning session with a study of shihonage as she developed aihanmi shihonage organically from udekimeange and included both ken tai ken (paired sword practice) and iaido (solo sword practice).

Bryner Sensei began the afternoon with a study of aihanmi ikkyo applied with hand, sword and jo.

Greenwood Sensei lead the final session with uchikaiten including kaitennage and uchikaiten sankyo both empty hand and ken tai ken.