The Cloth of Islanders  


A poem for Angus and the transmission of Ki Aikido

There are no pagodas in the Highlands,
no tiny bamboo cabins to sway
like stork nests, above the Caledonian pines,
no butterfly-clad concubines
humming among the robins, awaiting a beloved lord
who is ever late, or never comes when sought.
No dragon houses, rice-papered screens
for walls or shadow-play of grass and whispers,
or scimitars of cloth; dark tipped, white-winged angel-sleeves.
But we know the shadows of betrayal, loss and exile,
carried through the forest in the melancholy air,
early frost, crisping the ribbons on the cloutie trees.
We know the blessing and the curse of poetry, and silence,
the power of a simple well-placed movement to divide and
rule or harmonise.
So when the ships came and the islanders arrived,
and unbound their bales; their cloth calligraphies,
their scrolls and all the oblique gestures of their lives,
how mysterious then,
that some among us
paused for breath and recognition;
to find among them strange familiars; echoes of our own souls,
as though some thing archaic and winged had blown through us,
and syllables we never knew we needed, for things we had no words for,
until they came,
were spoken, in flying gestures.
This is how it is with islanders;
The ocean connects us, and paper, gesture, reed,
silence, prayer.
Folded in amongst your cotton padded collars, your
bamboo reed and paper bindings, a lore we knew and longed for
and finally found, a dance of sorts,
a calling and a patterning of all that is, and lives, and moves.
An understanding flowing, with a rhyme and rhythm we’ve come
to cherish and protect
and finally
to call our own.


Beverley A’Court, September 2013.

KUDEN (Oral Teaching from O’Sensei Morhei Uyeshiba.) 

These Kuden were collected some time ago and are included for interest sake.  Most of the techniques we practice have evolved and developed and now have different explanations.  They do, however, capture the spirit of O’Sensei’s aikido.
 Basic Kokyu ho.  
 “lower your shoulders, joints, hips and mind.”
Kokyu ho (when your wrist is twisted.)
 “don’t resist the twisting, charge your body with Ki and move the waist panel of your Hakama 
 into the back of your held hand.”
Kokyu ho (when the back of your hand is held.)
 “close your hand and charge your thumb with Ki”
Omote wasa.
 “use a spirit surging effusively from the earth and thrusting forward in an endless drive.”
 “grasp with your thumb touching his pulse.”
 “pin your partners arm circularly, giving it a shade of a twist and a push.”
 “gluing his elbow to your lower abdomen twist your hips and abdomen towards the head of your partner.”
 “bend his arm in the shape of L causing his little finger to point towards his nose.”
 “position yourself side by side with your partner.”
 Yokomen uchi gokyo.
 “turn your body like the movement of the billows.”
 “grasp the wrist of your partner in such a way that the thumb side of his hand leads out in front of him and you.”
 “kotegaeshi should be performed at a lower height.”
 Kaiten nage.
 “triangular entry is essential to the rotary throw.”
 Irimi nage.
 “have your thumb point downwards and tighten your arm like a ring of iron.”
 Hanmi handachi shomen uchi irimi nage.
 “in taking in a smaller person fold him up prior to the throw.”
 “the hips determine the movement of both feet; the head determines the movement of both hands.”