Claude Berthiaume Seminar
Florida Aikikai hosted a weekend long seminar with Claude Berthiaume Sensei. I attended the Saturday session and it was awesome.
Berthiaume Sensei was teaching the subtle intricacies of Aikido. The “hidden stuff” that seems to get overlooked by those of us still trying to move our opponents through our own brute force and muscle.
He was showing elbow placement and small circle hand movements to move your opponent. Such as, placing your elbow under your attacker’s elbow to gain advantage over your attacker’s center. Going under the attacker’s force disables their power and redirects their total energy which is manifested in your opponent physically turning in another direction. The elbow placement is done with little effort on your part so its energy efficient. We were studying this on multiple shomenuchi exercises with and without weapons.
The small circle hand movements were similar, in theory, to the elbow placement mechanics. When the attacker grabs your wrist, think tenchin nage, you don’t respond with huge movement but rather respond by palm placement and circular movement. A direct force is easily manipulated by a circular movement. Its like rain falling on a beach ball and dripping off unable to make a pool.
There was also the small circle hand movement used in conjunction with “folding” your hand into your center. The attacker does a wrist grab and you respond by letting the grab happen, bringing your hand , knife edge first, to your center while you step back and dissipate your attackers energy. While you circle back around your opponent, they are left defending their ability to maintain their balance.
Every time I attend a Sensei Berthiamue seminar, it always seems he has stepped it up a notch or two since his last seminar. I don’t think he has peaked yet. Its all good.
Unfortunately, I did not get a group picture of the seminar attendees.