By Leslie Mills, Shinrikan Dojo, IN
It is with tremendous pleasure that I would like to report to you on the first clinic given by Amos Parker sensei at the Shinrikan dojo in Indianapolis (TigerLily T'ai Chi and Aikido Inc).
Parker sensei came the weekend of December 10-12, 1999. He taught 4 classes, each 2 hours in length. Students came from Minneapolis, MN (Alvin McClure sensei, GoDan) and from Detroit, MI (Herman Hurst sensei, GoDan).
They joined our students for an intimate group of eager Aikidoka. There were never more than 7 on the mat at any time, 10 all together participated. We felt privileged to have access to so much attention from sensei.
We had specifically asked Parker sensei if he would hover over us, cleaning up the little things, focusing on the basics, showering us with subtle corrections. And that is precisely what he did!
Parker sensei began with kihon dosa, spending the greatest amount of time on hiriki no yose ichi and ni. Having trained under Terada sensei for 35 years in Japan, Parker sensei worked with us on both Hombu kihon as well as variations attributed to Terada sensei. We worked on such things as tucking in the back foot at the very end of the movement so that the last little bit of the mechanic is done with a solid connection from the ground, through the back leg, strongly incorporating the hips, and elbows energized all the way to the fingertips.
We disassembled and reassembled basic techniques like shomenuchi ikkajo osae ichi and yokomenuchi shihonage ichi and ni, and lots of sankajo variations. We trained step by step, correcting and assimilating each adjustment. We felt the techniques become more efficient and powerful, more graceful and compelling.
Parker sensei watched each of us closely, giving advise and corrections pertinent to each student. He freely used the lower ranking students as Uke as well as the Udansha. This was very exciting for 'younger' students, and gave them a chance to feel the true energy of Aikido.
For several of our students, this was their first Aikido clinic, having studied up to this point with only Teddie Linder and myself, who are both female. They commented that Amos Parker sensei was such a fine role model, and they felt very good about their Aikido training to date. They could easily see that Aikido has little to do with being male or female, but has everything to do with proper body mechanics and proper intent and mental focus on harmony and least harm.
On Sunday, Parker sensei shared what he calls 'practical Aikido' and some variations of techniques that were derived from the Aikijujutsu style.
Between classes and after classes, Parker sensei made himself readily available to us. We talked about various aspects of the art of Aikido, some history and trends in Yoshinkan, his philosophies on teaching students, and many other topics, gained from over thirty years of teaching and training with Terada sensei in Japan.
Those attending the workshop were excited with the information and instruction he shared with us. Everyone at the workshop was impressed with Amos Parker sensei, both on the mat as an Aikidoka and an instructor, and off the mat as a person of wisdom and kindness.
Parker sensei presented me with my SanDan certificate and instructor's certificate to grade to the level of ShoDan. He presented my partner Teddie Linder with her NiDan certificate and instructor's certificate to grade to the level of ikkyu. He presented to both of us our dojo's IYAF registration certificate under the name Shinrikan.
We are very pleased that Parker sensei has agreed to visit our dojo twice each year, in April and August, to teach and guide and counsel us in Yoshinkan Aikido. We are grateful for his presence, and his giving spirit.