|Nick Lowry's book
is not only a training manual of Aikido, but is also an exploration and adventure into the
basic understanding of Aikido, its discipline and it's training. His emphasis is on
Fugakukai Aikido, a branch of Tomiki Aikido.
starts out, explaining Aikido and it's origins, Kenji Tomiki and Tomiki-Ryu, and the
branching of Fugakukai Aikido with the leadership and instruction of Karl Geis.
We are introduced to Ri, the principles of Aikido: posture,
Taisabaki (movement off the line of attack), Ma-ai (proper distance), Kuzushi (breaking
balance), Kake (attacking a weak or off balanced positioning), Tsukuri (aiki
blending movement of both uke and tori), etc. These principles are expanded upon and
explained quite well for the beginner and for the advanced student.
For the Katas, he introduces several:
Each of the illustrated kata sets are a series of different movements used in
Aikido training that develop and sharpen movements used in techniques and
Tomiki and Fugakukai Aikido, randori is heavily emphasized in
everyday training, for effective Aikido technique. While randori is a perfunctory part of
Aikido practice - not only to control your attackers, you are also learning to control
yourself. It is the manner in which the uke and tori perform their individual parts that
is paramount to randori - in this system. Successful randori can be a thrilling and
enriching workout. In his book, Nick Lowry shows different points to pay attention to in
randori practice and suggests drills and exercises to enhance the training.
In addition, while he takes some of the usual approaches to
discuss Aikido and its origins, he is very honest and respectful to explain to the reader
that there are different interpretations of Aikido.
Later, we find Lowery discussing several subjects such as:
the role development of the student and the instructor, Aikido and Spirituality.
At the end of the book we find a listing of the Higher kata
forms of Koryu, a short chronological biography of Kenji Tomiki, and a glossary of Aikido
This book is good technically in illustrating some of the
more subtle techniques of Aikido, and the budo aspect of Aikido in randori. Much of the
Kenji Tomiki's earlier traditional training under founder, Morihei Ueshiba, prior to WWII
can be observed in the techniques and in the terminologies used. Most Aikidoists, with
over 30 years of experience will appreciate and remember fondly some of the older and more
familiar techniques, as well as the original terminology used here. I know, I do.
Overall, Nick's book is an excellent manual for the
introducing beginners to Aikido concepts and structure.It also makes good reference
material for those serious Aikidoists that need more education into the roots of Aikido.
Nick Lowry is the Chief Instructor of the Windsong Dojo, in Oklahoma
City, Oklahoma. He holds the following ranks: rokudan (6th dan) in Fukakugai Aikido, godan
(5th dan) in Judo, and rokudan in Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo.
Special permission to extract the
various graphics, pictures, AIKIDO: Principles of Kata and Randori, was given by
Nick Lowry for this review.
Principles of Kata and Randori
by Nick Lowery, 6th Dan
© 1999, C. A. Matrasko. All rights reserved
Cheryl Matrasko is a Network Analyst for the
department of Networking and Communications at a prominent Chicago hospital. Formerly the
LAN Administrator for Northwestern University Medical School - Department of OB/GYN, and
assistant LAN Administrator to the previous MIS of the School of Law. She started Aikido
in 1965, studying under Isao Takahashi as her first instructor. She enjoyed working out
under many well known Aikido instructors during her tenure with Takahashi Sensei and
thereafter following his death in 1971. Cheryl has dedicated time with instructors in
Northern Shaolin Long-Fist, Seven Stars Praying Mantis, and Daito-Ryu Aikijujitsu.
Currently, she is instructing Aikido at Northwestern University's Chicago Campus,
Associate Instructor at NorthShore Aikido in Skokie, and supporting Aikido World Journal.
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