This was the first time I went to Frank Noël’s seminar, even though he’s been coming every year during the time I’ve studied aikido. I’m just too lazy an aikido student to go to seminars that are held outside our own dojo or Helsinki, and even so I attend seminars very seldomly. Thus my experience with well-known foreign senseis is pretty much limited to ENDO Seishiro Shihan, IGARASHI Kazuo sensei, and KOBAYASHI Yasuo Shihan. Now that I’m studying for the 1st kyu, I’ve been attending seminars to reinforce the momentum.
Throughout my involvement with aikido, Frank Noël has become familiar through people at my dojo teaching aikido using his approaches to techniques and principles. Now that I’ve been able to observe him in person and take ukemi for him, it’s even more clear that our dojo unofficially follows his style. Noël’s technique is almost more prominent at Meido-Kan that Endo Shihan’s, but that may just be me. That’s probably the reason why the seminar felt almost mundane, everything was so familiar. Not that I could actually preform the techniques the way Noël sensei showed them, but the forms were more or less similar to how I see kihon waza.
The subject of the seminar was the entry angle that applies to almost all techniques from a frontal attack. According to Noël sensei the angle is 30°, give or take an angle. Being reminded of this came at a convenient moment for me as I’ve been pondering on the entry for shomenuchi in jiyuwaza. I don’t have to change anything, the fundamental parts are the same, but I can try and refine them by using the exact angle. This is good. Have to see what Igarashi sensei has in store for us, his seminar’s up in a fortnight.