Craig Mason-Jones Aikido Bio
I started Aikido in 1989, in South Africa, and got passionate about it after visiting Tissier Sensei’s dojo in 1994.
Since the 2000s, I have been following Kiyosawa Sensei (8th Dan, Aikikai) of Heiwadei dojo, Tokyo. I also try to practise with Endo Sensei as much as possible.
Since 2015, I have been attending the Lillsved Seminar to learn from Jan Nevelius and Jorma Lyly Senseis and their community.
I started Cape Town Aikido in 2013, to have a dojo with an emphasis on soft Aikido. We try to work on connected ukemi, and to have gentle, energetic fun.
Invitation and Wrapping
Class Description and What to Bring
The class will explore two principles that I’m working on in my Aikido: invitation and wrapping.
If you’re amongst the lucky folk who can practise together, please bring an uke :)
If not, I will show all exercises with solo variations as well.
If you have, please bring a jo and two short sticks. We use plastic plumbing pipe, about 60cm/2 feet long. It’s stiff enough to use as a stick, but bends enough to provide some interesting ideas as one practices, and lets us maintain a slightly greater physical distance than actually making contact.
Here are some thoughts on the two principles:
Invite uke’s attack.
You are not being attacked. There is neither surprise nor hostility. Uke is doing nothing you haven’t invited them to do.
Always consider the space around yourself protected. Extend your feeling into this space. Any attack is impossible. You sense it before it begins: the intention is enough. A skilled uke will sense it too, and will not initiate an attack.
In order to be attacked, you need to invite the attack. You need to prepare and present an opening. Since uke is only responding to your invitation, they don’t really attack you. You are ready to welcome them.
Especially in randori, when you face many opponents, this invitation is essential. You cannot stand still waiting for the first opponent to attack. Rather, take the initiative. Move towards your opponent and invite their approach.
Invitation also has much to do with the moment when a waza begins. Do not wait statically for uke to grasp your wrist. Already move welcomingly into uke’s space. Even if you move only in your mind, your spirit invites uke to move with you. If uke is taking care, they will grasp your wrist less to participate in the waza than to control the potential danger of a strike or a punch from your fist. The waza becomes not an attack initiated by uke, but a grasp initiated by tori’s invitation.
Wrap the whole of uke in the waza.
The space with which we work is not limited to the few points of contact between ourselves and uke, nor to a narrow plane of intersection between our bodies. The waza will occur all around uke, both in front of them and behind them, above and beneath.
Before the waza has started, in your mind, feel the whole dojo, the whole room, wrapping around uke. Imagine a wave creeping up behind uke. Just the like stones on the shore are dragged backwards, clattering, while the wave rolls in, imagine the floor beneath uke participating in
this preparation, this great wave that will envelop your partner. By the time uke reaches you, they are already in the embrace of powerful forces. Allow the wave to fold over uke. You need only allow this wrapping to complete.
Less imaginatively, wrapping also refers to controlling and containing the whole of uke. With ikkyo, don’t try to control only uke’s arm. You need to control uke’s centre, but even that is insufficient. You need to control uke in totality. In a pin, your control should extend to uke’s toes.
Wrapping is protection, not a violent or a destructive force. When uke is wrapped, you control not only uke but the space around them.
This principle expands the space with which we work.
Register to receive the Zoom link for the seminar class.
The seminar is by donation, and all proceeds will go to support our work as we continue to bring this practice into the world.
Suggested donation: $20
Donate via Paypal: paypal.me/nolaaikido
(If that’s too much, pay whatever feels comfortable. If you’re feeling a financial squeeze just come to class.)
Beginners are warmly welcome.
We look forward to practicing with you this Saturday!
Please share this email with any and all you think might like to attend.
Chief Instructor/Dojo Cho
New Orleans, LA, USA