Its more than just perfecting the techniques.

It took me 6 years to get back into Aikido. My only regret about my early beginnings was that I did not read enough or did any in-depth research that could have helped sustain my interest at a deeper level. I was too focused on learning the techniques and trying to perfect them. It was a typically idiotic thing to do. I promised myself that if I ever get a chance to continue my training with my sensei, that I will take my Aikido training more seriously and with better focus. I started reading more, not just about the history but reading in-depth essays about Aikido written by some of the most accomplished Aikido masters in the world. I don’t have any particular end goal in mind currently about the distance I am willing to take with my training. All I know at this moment is that I wanted to do something deeper with my ‘re-learning in Aikido experience’. When I set out to do this blog, I wanted it to be a form of documenting my experience in Aikido of sorts. I wanted to be as honest and raw. I certainly didn’t want to sound like some “Aikido encyclopedia”. A new area of interest developed sometime early this year and I felt the need to look into the history of Aikido within the Southeast Asian region. I am at an infant stage of my research and I am certainly no Aikido scholar-wannabe. I feel the need to have a more meaningful purpose in my ‘re-learning Aikido experience’ and wanted it to be more than just perfecting the techniques. What am I seeking? Quite simply, to achieve knowledge and understanding of this beautiful art called Aikido.

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Acrostic 9

I wish you told me from the start

That you were going to break my heart

Haunted by the past unfold

Useless memories left untold

Right across the table, drawn to lust

To a dream world, turned to dust

Silence is my last parting gift

Blog updates: A logo & new categories in Acrostic Aikido.

Blog logo –

When I started this blog, I didn’t want to bother too much as to its visual appearance. Only Allah knows how long it will take me to browse through all the different templates and then trying every single one out. I promised myself that I will pick the first template design that I saw and [whether I liked it or not] stick with it temporarily as I worked on creating the actual blog content. Creating a personal symbol is important to me as it consolidates, frames and reaffirms my creative identity. I have always been fascinated by symbols, logos and especially the art of heraldry, which is an area of interest I share with my dear husband. Here as some snippets into traditional English heraldry from a beautiful little book I got my husband some years back titled Heraldry In England by Anthony Wagner, 1946 edition.

IMG_1556  IMG_1562 IMG_1563  IMG_1557  IMG_1558  IMG_1559 IMG_1560  IMG_1561

Well many weeks and hot green tea cups later, viola! Here’s my blog logo below:

ACROSTIC AIKIDOKA LogoI’ve always wanted to create a logo with a pen nib to represent my lovIMG_1555e for writing. The top part of the logo has a knot design commonly seen on a folded hakama. The vertical ‘Acrostic’ word represent the typical arrangement in acrostic poetry and it also served as an implied line leading the eye to the silhouette of yours truly in a stance. Why is it in black & white? Honestly, I was too stoned to think of colours at this time so I decided to leave it just that!

Here is the sketch of my ideas before I came up with the final design [doodling included whilst thinking]. I welcome feedback if you have any.

Blog updates – I have decided to have 3 categories to my blog. Blame it on my compulsion to organise! The 3 categories are:

a) Aikido Stuff: Other than the self-explanatory content, it will included aikido inspired acrostic poetry.

b) Siti’s Musings – My other original acrostic poems on various themes and whatever that amuses me on an ad-hoc basis, contemplative, reflective stuff, blah, blah, blah!

c) Ilham (a word used in the Malay and Arab language meaning inspiration/intuition) – Content that explores all things artistic, creative and inspirational. An example will be on an upcoming post on the topic of heraldry and other symbols used in martial arts history for both eastern and western culture. And hopefully I can provide some form of visual analysis on the similarities and differences found in the symbols from these two distinct cultures. Please note that I am not an expert on such topics as I am merely commenting based on my own research and interests. I welcome additional feedback and comments on this topic in order to enrich our learning and understanding : )

I hope with these updates it will give you a clearer understanding on what I am doing with my personal blog. Peace!

– Love, Siti

Subconscious imaginings (Personal musings 1)

I used to frequently doodle when I was a student, especially like the ones in the photo here. I completely stopped doodling during most of my adult life. I was too busy for it I guess. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of personal reflection and in the midst of it, I started doodling again. I don’t really know the origins of how this particular doodle design came about, but I did remember dreaming about this when I was a child. I would only doodle this particular imagery. It’s really weird come to think of it. Nonetheless, it felt therapeutic.

Posting with a positive heart and mind

TIP: 

1) Type or write your angry messages or notes down either on a piece of paper or your mobile note app.

2) Once done close your eyes, take deep breaths. If you are still not calm by then, do something productive.

3) Delete the note or shred it (if you wrote it down) IMMEDIATELY!

4) Reply to the offending message only when you are calmer and more centered. 

I have been practicing this recently due to some complications I am facing with a friend of mine. Whenever I wanted to react to emails or messages that makes me upset rather than to reply with the same amount of emotion, I would type my “angry” responses in my mobile notepad just to get it out of the way. After I am done I will just close the app and then do something else to distract my thoughts. I will re-read my note again either half and hour later or sometimes even a few hours later and most of the time I will get stunned by how upsetting my words are. Imagine what that will do to the reader. Before this, I have been going back and forth with my friend firing hurtful words at each other which amounts to nothing and both us got more upset and even more hurt. I have been typing all the angry, hurtful things that I wanted to say to my friend just to explain how hurt I have been feeling but I don’t send it and I’m glad I didn’t. Sometimes silence can be the best salve.

In this age where in social media, people can respond to anything so fast that it makes you wonder if they are even conscious of what they are saying. I am sick of the usual explanation used a “defense” but people should take a moment to pause and think what the reader might feel. So please put your angry notes in a jar, seal it or burn it and never let it be read. There is already too much hate in this world. Peace!

– love, Siti

Stop domestic violence! #allborntoprotect 

I try not to post something when I am feeling very emotional as I hate to post a rant. But some issues are worth ranting for and I will make this an exception because this issue is something close to my heart. I read an article in the local news this morning and I was never able to shake off from it. Before I became a parent, whenever I read news relating to domestic violence it always touched a raw nerve within me. It is especially hard after I became a parent and reading such news became extremely difficult and disturbing. I would like to think that in an ideal world, painful events can just be erased and physical wounds just disappear. But it just doesn’t work that way. Wounds may heal but sometimes they leave marks and the damage is done. Often times the damage is much worse than the physical wounds received. Just yesterday during my Aikido class, Sensei put us through a simulation of how to react in the face of aggression. While we are instructed to simulate the role of ‘aggressor’ and ‘victim’ in the safe environment of our dojo, we were all advised to bear in mind that it can be a lot worse in a real situation and it is. For those who are being abused, there is simply no choice but to be the target of the ‘aggressor’. If you survive, you just live through another day for it to happen again and again. For those fortunate enough to get out of the toxic environment, one either learn to become stronger or never recover from it. Worse still, one can get sucked back in. Sometimes its never that clear. But one takeaway I learned from my training was that, if I had to chose a role it would be that of a protector. I would like to believe that all humans are born with an innate sense to protect and I think no matter what society we live in, we can no longer turn a blind eye or ignore the sounds of pain from those who cry out (whether it is audible or not). We can and I believe that we are all born to protect.

Acrostic 8

To my senior, Ben. Thank you for your wise words.

Clear as the vast blue sky

Empty your thoughts and aspire high

Neutralise the attack and never fight

To summon courage with all your might

Each mistake teaches something new

Reflect proper state of mind, tell hate to bid adieu

The warrior spirit within

“We talk about the warrior spirit, but seldom define it. A warrior is someone who faces conflict. Spirit is something other than physical. Psychology is the study of humanity, the thinking, and feeling aspect of the ego identity. It is our mind and our heart. A warrior’s body maybe the weapon, but how that weapon is used depends on the heart and mind of the warrior, their spirit.”

– excerpt from Lynn Seiser’s The Psychology of the Warrior Spirit essay.

The A levels results are out, tears of joy and sadness were shed. No matter what the outcome is, don’t ever give up. In life we sometimes need to taste failure in order to appreciate the sweetness of success. And when success comes to us, its not shameful to bask in the glory as you deserve, savour it. Be happy! But do remember those who have helped you get where you are. This is coming from someone who has had her fair share of failures and success. In time you can pay it forward and help others reach their potential in life.

This double acrostic is dedicated to all my past students:

Acrostic 7: Warrior Spirit

With every day comes a new battle

A warrior’s body a weapon may be

Right when you think the dust has settle

Resolve to face life with bravery

Indeed the past dwells intimately

Orbitting fear around your thoughts

Roar out loudly against its might and thou shall win this fight

Training notes: Hanmi handachi shomenuchi kotegaeshi

Beautifully demonstrated. A skill I aspire to achive someday if I work harder.

Aikido Warrior Dojo

morihei-ueshiba-kobukan-c1935Hanmi handachi waza is a common form of Aikido practice whereby the nage is in a kneeling position and the uke  attacks while standing.   In this type of training the uke has the obvious advantage of both mobility and height. However, a skilled nage can still take the balance of the uke by taking advantage of their lower centre of gravity.

Training in hanmi handachi waza is particularly beneficial as it develops skills in taking a ukes balance with only minimal lower body movement.  The training also assists in understanding the importance of centre and use of the centre line in Aikido practice.

The below video extract of Master Koretoshi Maruyama demonstrates the application of kotegaeshi  (outward wrist turn) in hanmi handachi waza to address a straight blow to the centre of the head (i.e. shomenuchi).

Points of note in the demonstration include:

  • The nage is at an approximate 45 degree angle to the uke and not facing head on;
  • The nage’s initial movement is itself a shomenuchi cutting…

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