CAC members Dwight Sora and Patrick Miller explaining aikido at the Zen Life & Meditation Center of Chicago (photo by June Tanoue)
On Sunday the 22nd, members of the Chicago Aikido Club were guests of the Zen Life & Meditation Center of Chicago located in the western suburb of Oak Park. At the invitation of June Tanoue, who runs the center together with her husband Robert Althouse, club members Dwight Sora and Patrick Miller were guest speakers for that week’s “Sunday Morning Zen” session, which normally includes meditation, a talk and discussion.
After an hour of sitting and walking meditation starting at 8:00 am, Dwight spent the next hour explaining the history and principles of aikido, emphasizing the art’s focus on breathing, relaxing and non-aggression. At times, the explanation was supplemented with live demonstrations of basic technique together with Patrick. Much to the surprise of the gathered audience, the hour also included getting up on their feet and pairing up to try some simple exercises so attendees could experience some of the “feel” of aikido. These included attempting the “unbendable arm” exercise, and a simple response to a katadori shoulder grab.
All in all, the morning proved to be very productive and informative according to the people attending. During a round of vegan and gluten-free “zen eats” after the session, Dwight and Patrick had an opportunity to socialize casually with the attendees and further speak about their own observations and experiences studying aikido.
In terms of the pleasant atmosphere and conversation juxtaposed with the flowing movements of the aikido techniques presented, the morning truly lived up to its advertised title of ““Stillness in Action – Action in Stillness.”
Attendees watching the presentation.
Dwight demonstrating what a peaceful mind and body does not look like