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  • By : Melisa
  • April 18, 2019

Chapter 10 – Aikido, Meditation & Reiki – 2005

Training in Aikido was a real passion for me. I was taking double classes and quickly became a  teacher for the school.

So for the sake of a little background, the way Nihon Goshin Aikido is structured is that we study 50 Classical Techniques.  For every belt there was 10 techniques. The ranking was white, yellow, blue, green, brown and black. By the time you were a brown belt, you were studying all 50 but needed to study them further before you reached black belt. In addition to the 50 Classical techniques, we studied weapons (knife, gun and club), randori (multiple attacks), restraints, grips, ki exercises and we had a visiting Sensei that taught us the bokken (sword) and the jo (staff).

The brown belt test required you to perform all 50 techniques classically and then you were asked to stand in the middle of the mat and handle over 100 attacks. The black belt test required you to perform the same 50 techniques classically plus 100 attacks and 50 randori (multiple) attacks. The attacks included all kinds of strikes, grips and weapons. Yes, it was intense.

What I loved and appreciated about this particular style of Aikido, was how direct and to the point it was. You attack me and my task is to take you down instantly. This differed from other Aikido styles that like to take several attempts to break your balance and then take you down.

The training was getting intense and I wanted to be able to let go of the mind during the drills we called “anything goes”. During this drill, all the students formed a line and the student with the highest rank went first and got in the middle of the mat. Every student walked or ran to the student in the middle and attacked him/her. They can come with a straight punch, back hand, over hand, push, front kick, etc… The student in the middle had to break the attackers balance and take them down.

For some reason, I would be so nervous when it was my turn in the middle. So I started to practice what we call in the martial arts Mushin …  the state of no mind. I started to meditate. When on the mat, I would go into deep breathing and tried to release the mind. What is interesting, after many years of training and going through the intense ranking test of brown belt and black belt, was that until the art starts to become second nature, the mind is still there. Once you are able to simply react instinctively without thinking, then it’s possible to train in a state of Mushin. In March of 2004, I received my rank as Sho-dan (1st degree black belt).

Aikido for me was the entryway to meditation. By now, Nancy and I became good friends. We started to get together once a week to meditate. I would facilitate the meditation by using my voice to help us relax and enter a deep state.  Something started to happen in these meditations. Nancy would go so deep that at times I had a real hard time bringing her back. This didn’t scare her but definitely fascinated her, to the point that she wanted me to become certified. She insisted I didn’t need certification but that people needed to see the diploma on the wall. After much persistence, I enrolled in the course ‘Meditation and the Inner Life’ through Atlantic University and obtain my certification in March of 2006.

The healing arts always fascinated me, in particular the healing art of Reiki. I decided to enroll in a course to certify myself in Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki. This is where I met beautiful and amazing Vanessa. We took first degree and second degree Reiki together. We became instant friends.

This woman is super intuitive, an amazing healer and an astrologist, not to mention a Registered Nurse. We both received our certifications in March of 2005 and we stayed in touch.  When I opened my own dojo in April of 2006, Vanessa and I started to collaborate on workshops and demonstrations.

The village of Great Neck invited me to demonstrate a martial arts class at the Grace Avenue Park for the kids in the neighborhood.  I  also had a table to offer my services and advertise the school. Vanessa and I decided that we would offer free Reiki, in addition to everything else we did.  

Our networking led to an opportunity. Vanessa was hired to do astrology charts at a birthday party.  In the party, she spoke about my dojo and the meditation classes I was holding. Before I knew it, I started to facilitate a meditation group for these amazing woman in Great Neck.  Our group met once a week and although the members varied, our core group stayed together for over 10 years.

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