I had the opportunity recently to attend some classes at Dennis hookers
dojo in Orlando, Florida whilst attending the inaugral IEEE Sensors Conference in 2002. Sensei hooker is a 6th? dan aikido instructor who
is affiliated with the ASU (aikido schools of usehiba) and the aikikai. I
got onto his dojo after being recommended it by some of the folks on the
ki-info list and wasn't disappointed. His dojo also has an excellent web
site at http://www.shindai.com which helped me no end in finding the dojo -
though i must confess to getting lost in an african-american neighborhood
that seemed to boast 6 churches to the 1/4m mile (and that was just on one
side of the road).
But enough ranting ..what was the class like?
Alas owing to my geographical embarrassment I arrived in time to watch the
end of what looked like a great weapons class. The style of weapons follows
that of Satome sensei and seems to be more circular in nature - more so
than Ki sociey and certainly more than Iwama. Unfortunately Hooker sensei
had to leave before the next class. The class began with tenkan blending
movements - with quiet a different emphasis to the yuishinkai/ki sociey way
of practice I'm used to. The dynamic sphere was emphasized and very strong
extension by nage was encouraged. Uke's movements too required an attack
and push mindset that took some getting used to. The power.. I was really
struck by the power of aikido when practiced in this way being quite
different to the blend like water style of practice I am used to. I must
say however that it was really interesting to practice aikido in this way
and i enjoyed it a lot. It reminded me of something i read on the net about
the power of 10 e.g. if uke has a power of 9 then you need only use power
of 1 but if uke has only the power of 3 then you should use a power of 3.
The class then went on to practice katate dori and kosa dori techniques
based on this initial blending movement and class finished by suriwaza
(zagi) techniques and kokyu dosa.
I was sorry not to be able to do more classes and enjoyed the dojo's
hospitality a lot.