So it was the annual Claude Berthiaume Sensei Aikido Seminar at Florida Aikikai. Which happened on August 20, 2016 through August 21, 2016. For me, it’s a highly anticipated event and one I can’t wait to attend.
Berthiaume Sensei’s dojo is Aikido de la Montagne which is located in Montreal Canada.
One thing I have always liked about Berthiaume Sensei is his attention to detail. He breaks moves down by verbally explaining it while making the uke move so you can visualize it take it out of the esoteric realm.
For instance, in doing a shihonage, he was demonstrating to move the uke’s elbow in the direction that the uke was going. But to also move your hips, your center, in that same direction.
You move from your core, your torso. You move around your spine. The result, your uke ends up moving to places he did not intend to go to.
Essentially what happens, is that you “disappear”. Your uke is off balance and going somewhere he never expected. It’s like opening a door when you don’t have your balance. Uke’s control of himself, is lost.
For non aikido readers, uke is your training partner. Specifically, uke is attacking you.
Berthiaume Sensei went deeply into breaking body form. I don’t recall him doing this before. It was really, really good.
Breaking form is a vitally important concept. It entails compartmentalizing the body into separate zones; certain areas of the body that are more easily manipulated than other areas. Breaking down the parts to affect the whole.
The areas to affect are wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle. He didn’t go into every area but did hit on elbow, shoulder and hip. While he did not come right out and talk about it like this, it’s what I heard him saying and saw him demonstrating.
It’s attack dependent. You use the body part of your uke to manipulate their center. As was shown, your uke attacks you with tsuki. You move slightly off and out of the way to such a point that the tsuki is going past you.
A tsuki is a punch, typically to the gut.
You now find yourself behind your uke’s center. And you are in a position to completely manipulate and devastate your uke with absolute minimal power on your part.
So, Berthiaume Sensei was saying now that you are in this position, you can do a number of things to make uke fall back into shikaku, the empty spot that exists behind everybody. You can move uke’s shoulder, the one he is not attacking from, to cause uke to spin out of control. Or follow your hand down uke’s spine to make him drop. Or put your hand on uke’s hip, slightly pushing out, causing uke to drop. They all work
Effective. Sublime. Devastating.
I only attended on Saturday. And it was time well spent. Besides being an overall great guy, he’s an awesome martial artist. He is on the USAF technical committee and that’s a good thing for Aikido.