Sunset Cliffs Aikido is fortunate to be one of the few dojos where the entire Iwama weapons system is practiced. Our curriculum emphasizes both bukiwaza (traditional Japanese weapons) and taijutsu (empty handed technique). Over the course of the year, we practice hundreds of distinct taijutsu variations.
SCA offers classes in traditional Aikido as taught by the late Morihiro Saito Shihan. Class structure and curriculum is based on the experiences of SCA senior instructors training with Saito Shihan in Iwama and also hosting him for many years here in the US.
Training progresses in the traditional manner and stresses kihon or basic training. Kihon practice begins from a static position, for instance from a solid shoulder grab or wrist grab, and gives students the opportunity to work on correct body movement and kuzushi (balance breaking). Basics classes and most General classes emphasize Kihon training.
Yawarakai (flowing movement) is the next level of training. In yawarakai practice, techniques are technically similar to those practiced kihon, but the element of timing is introduced and blending is emphasized. Techniques are applied in a smooth and flowing fashion as the attack takes place. Yawarakai techniques are practiced in the General and Advanced classes.
Ki no nagare (the flow of ki) is the third level of training. In this practice, techniques are applied in a much more dynamic fashion. Although the basic movements of each technique are similar to those of the previous levels, ki no nagare techniques often have additional blending movements. Emphasis is on blending, balance breaking, and zanshin (“remaining mind” or relaxed alertness). This type of training is commonly seen in the Advanced classes.