Tag: Aikido

Blast From the Past

Came across this old photo the other day. That’s me in the middle.

Aikido Plano Dojo Me and 2 Shihan

To my right, Shihan Sosa, and to my left Shihan Park.


Are adults allowed to strike children in martial arts?

I hit mine all the time to show where and how they are open.

It isn’t a death blow, if it is to the face, it is a tap on the forehead. I have also used a fist making connection to the jaw line, again not a strike per say, but I simply place my fist along their jaw and keep it their a couple of seconds. I may also use it to push through, turning their head a bit.

For the body it is a little different. I usually will target the ribs or the chest, and use just enough force for them to squirm if it is to the ribs, and a decent little thump if it is to the chest. To the chest, I am not looking for any kind of force or power, but more wanting the nice thud sound effect.82bbcd1a7e1621a0db451a5f2c4a3ee3

At the same time I show them how to correct their position to reduce the chances of being hit again. It may take a few times, but eventually they get it.

I also encourage them to strike me from time to time exposing my own openings to them (or what would be the openings of a potential attacker).

This does not always fare so well for me, because they have not yet learned to control their power, but so be it.

William Stynetski


Yin Yang Described, by William Stynetski

How Would You Describe Yin and Yang?

They are two different and inseperable states of being, of energy.

Think of a large wave rolling up onto shore. As the wave crashes onto the shore washing up seaweed and driftwood, this is yang.

That same wave, as it recedes and goes back out to sea is yin. It still has power and force, just in a different direction/manner.

It is powerful enough to take that same driftwood back out to sea, or carry a person caught in its undertow miles away from shore.

Hot is yang…enough to boil water.

Cold is yin…enough to freeze water.

Hot water releases steam which can be ussd as energy.

Freezing water expands as it freezes and this expansion also has a force of its own. Think of water entering a geologic fissure and then freezing, causing a fracture in a rock formation.

Yin is just as powerful as yang, just in a different way.

As a sidenote, the expansion of the freezing water technically is a yang feature, and is an example of what is meant when you hear that there is yang within yin and yin within yang. In this instance the freezing water is yin, and the resulting force of the expansion of the freezing water is the yang within yin.

This is represented, in the yin and yang symbol, by the black dot in the white half of the circle (yin within yang), and in the case of yang within yin (expansion of freezing water), the white dot in the black half of the circle.

It is always a state of flux, waxing or waning, and nothing can be completely either 100% yin, or 100% yang.

-William Stynetski


Training of Sumo Wrestlers

An entire book could be written on the training of sumo wrestlers (infact they have). Here, I will give the brief, condensed version. Training takes place at what are called stables. The stable is where a sumo wrestler will live until they reach a certain level when they are then allowed to travel out or live away from the stable. This is usually after several years, I believe something like 5 or 7 years if I recall correctly.

Anyways, the junior guys start at the bottom. They are responsible for cooking, cleaning, massaging and training with the more senior guys. The cooking part is very important because not only do the sumo wrestlers in stables eat a lot, but many of them are also excellent Japanese chefs after their years of cooking in the stables. Many sumo champions go on to open their own restaurants after they retire from wrestling.

As for the training it consists of wrestling drills, technique and repeated practice. There is also a high emphasis placed on flexibility. These guys might be huge but they can all do the splits. They can all sit on the tatami with their legs open and touch their chest, forehead, nose, etcetera to the tatami. There are also different weight classes for sumo wrestlers, so although they are all trying to get big, not all are as huge as the famous ones we have all seen.

This training last a few hours in the morning and a few hours after a long lunch and nap. Yes a nap. It is one of the techniques used to get these guys big. A huge lunch of usually chanko nabe in the order of 9,000 to 10,000 calories is standard. Then comes the beer. They get to drink a lot of beer right before their nap. The nap is about 2 or so hours. Eating and sleeping after a huge meal is a great way to put on weight, and the beer helps. After the nap comes another round of training, stretching, and massage.

Then comes dinner, another round of 9000 to 10000 calories.

The cool thing is, once a stable decides to take you on you start to earn money, through a small stipend (again if I recall correctly) and more money through pre arranged matches to get you ranked and move up the ladder to progressively more bouts and higher pay. Since for the majority of your career in sumo you live at the stable and cannot leave, not even to go shopping or visit the sights of Japan, sumo wrestlers have a pretty decent bank account when at higher levels they do get permission to depart the stable or get their own apartment. Then of course winning champion matches earns them even more money.

Just as a side note, there have been Brittish and American wrestlers accepted into stables for training, so it is not strictly limited to Japanese. This is Akebono Tarō (Chadwick Haheo Rowan) a sumo champion from Hawaii.


Aikido Lineage Chart, by William Stynetski

Aikido Lineage Chart

Below are the main influences of aikido lines that comprise my aikido training.  It is quite a unique path with influences coming from many of my great teachers. Each one of them has given me a special gift that has left their own signature on the aikido I practice today.



Aikido Checking for Correct Movement

Other times I will need to check that the defender (nage) is moving correctly.  Had this kick landed, it would have been a harsh reminder to be moving in the correct direction.  Fortnately, for this other blackbelt, he was doing just that.