Yamashima Sensei spring seminar review by Ben Hoffman

I went recently to Christchurch for the annual Spring Seminar with Yamashima Shihan. The seminar itself was held over two days. Fortunately I was able to join the pre-seminar training Friday evening at the Burnside dojo as well.

Yamashima Shihan emphasized moving with the whole body by de-emphasizing the role of the hands. For example, connecting with the shoulder or arm and gently unbalancing uke, instead of the standard manual approach. This type of training most definitely forces you to move from the centre and changes the focus of your awareness. I think everyone found it a quite difficult, but rewarding exercise.

IMG_0536At the seminar the next day, Yamashima Shihan began with ikkyo omote. He enters deeply and emphasized 1) navel to navel orientation of nage to uke 2) upward redirection of uke’s strike. Of course, it’s very simple to say in words, but the devil is in the details.

Yamashima Shihan has a very soft-spoken and pleasant manner about him. He went around the class continuously demonstrating and more importantly allowing everyone to feel his movement/connection. He really emphasized the principles over specific techniques and conveyed a powerful feeling of relaxation, centre, structure, and connection, to achieve full body power.

Rosso Sensei and Andrew Sensei who are both well known to the Kiwi Aikido community also led challenging, more technical sessions as well.

Besides the high level of instruction, I found the friendly atmosphere on the mat a real treat.

I would highly recommend the annual Spring Seminar in Christchurch to everyone and I look forward to next year!

Ben Hoffman
Shinryukan (Auckland HQ Dojo)