Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mia Reyes

*•.,.•*•.,.•CONGRATULATIONS MIA•.,.•*•.,.•*

Our little Mia tested for, and passed her Yellow Belt. She did fantastic! As with many others before the one major tip: BREATHE!

You can see her here, breaking in her new belt, using Sensei Larry's arm. And then she jumped right into learning the Osoto Gari.

There is no stopping this girl!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Excerpts from the Ryu Mail Magazine - July Edition

Tadashii kara tsuyoi

The following is written in one of Ando Sensei's books on the techniques of Yoshinkan Aikido:
"Strength in aikido does not come from physical power but from maintaining a correct posture. The strength which aikido seeks comes from rectitude."

The meigen "tadashii kara tsuyoi" is an expression of one of the fundamental principles of aikido. Correct posture is well-balanced with a perfectly straight back; that posture, perfect even in motion, is a thing to startle the eye with it's beauty. In it's perfect form, correct posture itself is center power. And, to recite Ueshiba Sensei, "breath power is rooted in center power." All strength in aikido is an exercise of center power.

Strength from rectitude includes a spiritual element. Spiritual rectitude gives a technique strength. We could say that if your spirit is righteous, your sword will be righteous too. Good, strong posture arises from a pure spirit. For many, the appeal of aikido lies in it's quest for spiritual rectitude and for victory over the self.

Conversely, though, we shouldn't place too much emphasis on 'being right'. Righteousness should come naturally, without thinking too much about it. If we are overly-conscious of our righteousness and seek only that, then our minds become narrow and we tend to become overly-critical of others. It becomes a contest over who is 'right'. Be careful not to fall victim to your own righteousness in this way!

Ando Shihan's tip this month: Really open your eyes and see.

During aikido practice, usually the teacher will demonstrate a technique to the students who will watch the demonstration and then repeatedly practise the technique. When watching, however, often we are only conscious of what we want to see. We are seeing through the filter of our own fixated ideas. This is almost the same as not seeing at all. The same is true when listening to the teacher's explanations.

Ando Sensei writes that he has had this experience. He sat in the Honbu Dojo with Shioda Sensei demonstrating a technique in front of his eyes and yet did not see or hear, even though Shioda Sensei was explaining in great detail about that technique. Why does he realise this now? Through trial and error, Ando Sensei writes, he has come to understand things better and in the instant that he has a breakthrough he will recall, "Ah! Shioda Sensei did teach us that!" At the time, however, his technique and consciousness weren't at a high enough level for what Shioda Sensei was saying to sink in. When he thinks back now, he wonders what he was seeing and hearing!

Aiki Laws

The aiki law that can be applied in your daily life this month is that tension is your friend. (In direct translation: 'tension is a treasure'.)

July is summer test season at Ryu Dojo. Many people get nervous before a test - in the worst cases sometimes even a week before! Most people tend to think that getting nervous is a bad thing. This is not the case. Tension is a very valuable thing - a treasure in fact. A feeling of tension is a sign of focus. In any sport a good 'play' is always accompanied by tension. Even spectators can feel that tension. It's how you use the tension that is important.

Try to recreate and use that tension in your daily training.
Testing in a place and time different to your usual trainng time and location and in front of a large audience means you are improving.
Praise yourself for feeling and dealing with tension or nervousness.
Try to see tension in a positive light.
When you see someone who is nervous before a test, think of this as an admirable thing.

Tension and nervousness are natural and necessary - without them, the human race couldn't survive!

COPYRIGHT © Yoshinkan Aikido Ryu All Rights Reserved

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fireworks and the Fourth of July

Today we celebrate the birth of our Nation and remember the courage and sacrifice made 234 years ago by men and women who came together to create a Nation out of the wilderness and one People from many. I invite you to take a moment during your day at the beach, your picnic or softball game to remember the true meaning of the holiday. I invite you to spend ten minutes with your family and read aloud the Declaration of Independence and to fly the Stars and Stripes proudly, with honor and respect. For your pleasure the entire Declaration is included below!

I’ve also included tips on where to watch fireworks locally and how to photograph them.

God Bless America!

Where can we watch FIREWORKS?

Independence Day and the firework season is here and nothing gives kids a bigger thrill than a great aerial display. We often go to Wilson Park here in Torrance (9pm), Torrance Beach Barge (9pm), Redondo Beach Pier (9:30pm) the Home Depot Center in Carson (after the Galaxy game), Queen Mary in Long Beach or to Knott’s Berry Farm or Disneyland just to see the big fireworks show there every summer night at 9:30pm.

Photography Tips:

To photograph fireworks you need a camera with MANUAL shutter speed, f-stop and focus control along with a tripod and remote release. Choose 100 or 200 iso (digital, slide film or print film). Pre-select your location before the festivities begin. Look for a location free from obstruction by trees, power lines or other objects which will block your view. It is also best to avoid street-lamps or other lights in the photo. Preset your camera and lens on the tripod to capture approximately the area of the sky where you envision the bursts to occur. Generally a medium telephoto lens (100mm) works best. Try it and see if you like it!

Manually focus to infinity, manually set the shutter speed to "bulb" or "B" and use your remote release. Set the camera so you may hold the shutter open for as long as you like (we often shoot 10-30 second exposures). Set the aperture manually to f-8 or f-11. You may "bracket" between 8 and 11 if you choose. Watch the fireworks and determine the exact location in the sky. Fine-tune your positioning. Get ready.... SHOOT! Hold the shutter open for one complete burst.... 8 to 12 seconds (press the remote release and hold...let go when your exposure is finished). Now hold the shutter open for two complete bursts. Hold the shutter open for 3 or 4 bursts. Experiment, have fun and enjoy shooting on the FOURTH of JULY!

As for family and friends, use a normal or slight wide angle lens (35 or 50mm). Get close so family and friends fill the entire frame. Use fill-in flash when you are less than ten feet from the subject to brighten the face and eliminate shadows. Have fun. Make great pictures. Share the holiday with those dear to you and make prints of your favorite to remember the day and share your love with the greatest gift of all… pictures!

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighboring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton