"Aikido is the way of nonresistance and is therefore undefeatable from the start. Fast and slow are of no consequence. Merely by having the intention to fight with one who embodies the universal law, they have fixed their mind on violating the harmony of nature itself. The person with evil or malicious feeling is defeated before he makes the first move. The contest has already been decided"

O'Sensei

Events

Babis Keranis Sensei 6th Dan Akikai

Sensei Babis Keranis was born in Athens, Greece. He first got involved with aikido in 1980 at the Athens Polytechnic School dojo (the only aikido dojo in Greece at that time), while he was a student at the University of Athens' School of Economics. His instructor was Costas Politis 2nd Dan Aikikai, the person who brought aikido for the first time in Greece. Since then, Babis Keranis has actively practiced aikido on a daily basis, participated in numerous Seminars - Lectures and summer schools in Europe and the USA over the years.

From 1979-1986 he was a member of the Porto Rafti water polo club team, Athens area. In 1983 he received the Professional Water Polo Instructor Certificate. In 1987 he joined the Navy as an officer and served his tour of duty on a destroyer. In 1988 he received his Masters Degree in Business Administration and Company Management, from the University of Pireus School of Economics.

In 1993 he joined the Athletic Aikido Association of Attica based at Fukushinkan dojo. In 1995 he participated in the Uchi Deshi("in-Dojo boarder") program at Tenshinkan Dojo HQ Aikido Association International in Chicago USA, with Fumio Toyoda Sensei, 6th Dan Aikikai, Aikido Association International Shihan. Received the Jyoshu(Assistant Instructor till 5th Kyu) Certificate of the Aikido Association International Chicago USA signed by Fumio Toyoda Sensei. In 1996 he tested successfully for Shodan(black belt 1st Dan), at Fukushinkan dojo. Examiner was Fumio Toyoda Sensei . Received the Fukushidoin Certificate(Assistant Instructor) of the Aikido Association International Chicago USA signed by Fumio Toyoda Sensei. Established his own dojo at Rafina, Athens area, while at the same time teaching at the Fukushinkan Dojo, some of the evening classes.

In 1997 he founded along with twenty friends, the Hellenic Aikido Association Athens Greece (H.A.A.), with Fukushinkan dojo it's base. In 1998 was elected President of the Board of Directors of the H.A.A. Tested successfully for Nidan (2ndDan) Aikikai from Fumio Toyoda Sensei at Fukushinkan dojo. In 1999, the H.A.A. became independent from the Aikido Association International.

In 2000, the H.A.A. was accepted as an associate member of the U.K.A. under William Smith Shihan 6th Dan Aikikai, Principal of the United Kingdom Aikikai(U.K.A.)and through the U.K.A. was affiliated with the Aikikai Hombu Dojo Tokyo,Japan. Furthermore, in addition to him teaching most of the evening classes at Fukushinkan dojo, he begun teaching all morning classes as well.

In 2001, he tested successfully for Sandan(3rd Dan) at Fukushinkan dojo. Examiner was William Smith MBE Sensei . Became a member of the Teaching & Grading Committee of the H.A.A.

In 2003, he tested successfully for Yodan(4th Dan) at Fukushinkan dojo. Examiner was William Smith MBE Sensei. Under the Sensei's guidance, Babis Keranis in his role as President of the H.A.A.,contributed to the preparation and submission of an application for a formal independent recognition of the H.A.A. by the Aikikai Hombu Dojo Tokyo, Japan. To this end at the U.K.A. summer schools, Babis Keranis was formally introduced by Sensei to Shigeru Sugawara Shihan,7th Dan Aikikai Hombu Dojo and Yokimitsu Kobayashi Shihan,7th Dan Aikikai Hombu Dojo, in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Furthermore, he became the Chairman of the Teaching & Grading Committee of the H.A.A.

In 2004 was awarded the title of Shidoin from Aikikai Hombu Dojo Tokyo, Japan, for the H.A.A. In April 2006, the H.A.A was formally recognized by the Aikikai Foundation, Aikido World HQ, Tokyo, Japan as an official organization in Greece. In May 2006 William Smith MBE Sensei appointed Babis Keranis as the official contact between the H.A.A. and the U.K.A.


n 2011 was promoted to the rank of Godan(5th Dan), by the Aikido Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba, Aikikai Hombu Dojo Tokyo Japan.


In July 2012 he tested successfully for Shodan(black belt 1st Dan), from the Dan Testing Committee of the Hellenic Judo Federation.



n 2018 was promoted to the rank of Rokudan(6thDan), by the Aikido Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba, Aikikai Hombu Dojo Tokyo Japan



Under the guidance of the President of the Board of Directors, Sensei Babis Keranis, the Hellenic Aikido Association contributes to the propagation and promotion of the cultural heritage of Japan and Greece and the philosophy of Aikido.

 

Aikido Woman

Her personality is powerful,
her character is wonderful,
her teaching is awesome,
like a flower in blossom.
In any situation she gives the right advice,
she is loveable and nice,
her remarks are always useful,
her points distinctive and helpful.
She is such a good Aikido teacher,
she could also be a good preacher,
she preaches gentleness,love and truth,
her words touch us all,especially the youth.
She is openminded and smart,
she is an expert in this art,
she is a Shihan 7th dan,
everything she does is nicely done.
She can control big strong guys,
no problem being the smaller size,
she can throw them down,
and immobilize them on the ground.
She inspires true respect,
she never lies, always direct,
at once ready to reflect,
and any attacker to deflect.
She has good humor,
young at heart, that is no rumor,
she unites persons of any kind,
because she is unique and kind.
She helps without reward,
for everybody she has a good word,
but she is also serious and wise,
she doesn't tolerate lies.
We look forward to her return,
looks like a dance when she makes the tenkan turn,
her movements are graceful,
she is so positive and joyful.
About Mitsuko Minegishi Sensei,
I have nothing but nice words to say,
I am privileged on her acquaintance,
I am grateful I had the chance!!!

B.Keranis

Aikido Dojo

A place of training,
of energy initiating,
of mind enlightening,
of hard physical exercising,
and of continuous spiritualising.
A place of achieving harmony, respect and wisdom,
of learning the martial art of love and freedom.
Space of displaying practice and theory,
also the contradiction of egoism and history,
of gaining knowledge and valuable experience,
ability of reaction and strong self-confidence.
A place where discipline is not enforced,
always aiming for the best and never for the worst.
Space of support and assistance,
true friendship and acquaintance,
regardless of sex, class, profession or age,
appearance, language, education or race.
Space of showing strength and sometimes arrogance,
a place of learning patience and tolerance,
different opinions and multiple points of view,
acceptance of being different and of uniqueness too.
A place to cultivate noble feelings and guidance,
rejecting bad attitude, competition and violence.
A gathering place of various people exercising in equality,
of different religious manners and mentality.
Space of self-criticism and mind ennoblement each and every day,
of personal realisation finding the inner way

B.Keranis


Published from United Kingdom Aikikai in their 2004 Collection

Breakfall : A point of view

  During my 20 years of aikido life I have seen many aikidokas take breakfalls during training from different techniques. A lot of them did it successfully, but also a lot of them (including myself) were injured on the shoulders or elbows. So every next time a breakfall had to be taken an instinctive fear would appear stiffening both mind and body making the uke hesitate in taking the fall. The inevitable result of this was that the nage would not be able to execute the technique and the uke would feel awkward. Some people stopped training aikido for this very reason. In a way I understand how they felt watching these extremely fancy and impressive breakfalls with a loud slap on the mat, especially taken from a high position of a shihonage or a koshinage. This is an often obvious problem with people over 35-40 years of age regardless of rank or with beginners after they have learned to take mae or ushiro ukemi. In the last 5 months I have had some cases like these so I had to deal with this problem. Anyway, my favourite subject of teaching is the basics of aikido in beginner classes, so I started studying the basics again in relation to some new things I have learned the last 2,5 months in regards to weapons, techniques, and taisabaki. I also analysed all the ukemis in details. First the beginners learn how to fall forwards and backwards from a kneeling and standing position. In the beginning they find it kind of funny but after half a year they usually feel comfortable with their body rolling over and enjoy it. But still the idea of taking a breakfall seems impossible! Also the translation of the word "breakfall" sounds terrifying in Greek. My understanding of the English word is that it means to stop or reduce the force of the fall. But the word "break" itself leads the mind to something bad and negative. It is my opinion that the meaning of breaking, literally or not, should not exist in aikido. It is against the philosophy of the non-violent art of love and peace. Especially when we claim that we aim and try to cause the least possible damage to the attacker. Lately in a book about OSENSEI I read that he used to say, "When you are being attacked, unite the upper part of your body with the middle and the lower part of it. Then enter, turn and harmonise with the opponent in front, behind, left and right." I thought that this refers to the nage but it also goes for the uke. The word aikido can be translated as the way to harmonise my energy with everyone and everything.

  So my conclusion from all these is: The breakfall is an advanced mae ukemi which requires the uke to have right timing and harmonise better than in the simple ukemi in order to avoid injury. But still, it is a mae ukemi! In practice it goes like this: I ask the uke to take a mae ukemi from a right posture. The uke rolls forward over his/her right arm and his/her left arm touches the mat normally, without a slap. I ask the uke to do the same BUT NOW I hold his/her RIGHT HAND. At the very moment this hand is going to touch the mat I PULL it towards my center. The result of that is that the uke ends up rolling over his/her left arm, standing up fast without any slap or a loud noise. Also, his/her breathing does not become faster because his/her movement is continuous, without any stop ("break"). So even if the uke has to take a fall from a high position of a shihonage, koshinage or even an iriminage, he/she feels safe and eager to take it. The most important for an uke is to control his/her body and to control his/her fall knowing that he/she will not be injured. This way OVERWEIGHT, UNFIT or even OLDER people can enjoy their training very much without feeling like a second class aikidokas. I strongly hope that this point of view on breakfall will help some students to enjoy aikido better and for a longer period of time.


Published at Aikicosmos

Ushiro Ukemi

If I am not mistaken three or four years ago I heard that a girl died in a dojo in California during a training while she was taking a traditional ushiro ukemi. She broke her neck. In my 20 years of training this was the first time Ive heard of a lethal accident. It happened the moment she was rolling over her body backwards. From that point ushiro ukemi changed completely. In the new way of falling backwards there is no rolling over, so the danger of breaking the neck does not exist. Of course, we adopted this new way immediately in our teaching in order to avoid any accidents. But because I like the traditional teaching of basics very much, I started thinking why this happened. What was exactly the mistake that caused it? At the next advanced class in FUKUSHINKAN dojo, Athens, I paid attention how the senior students were doing it. Also I watched a lot of videotapes from Seminars - Lectures with aikidokas from different countries. I noticed that all of them were taking ushiro ukemi the same way I was. Lets suppose they had a left posture. They were looking straight ahead, rolling over their left shoulder while falling backwards. All the time they were breathing out and they pushed the mat with their hands to stand up. When I tried it myself very slowly I realised that my body was making a circle while rolling over. Also, that my head was inside this circle. So, if my body would stop while rolling over, it would land on my neck. Obviously there was a danger of a serious injury on my nape or even a breaking of my neck! Of course that is a very rare possibility but still a possibility. So I wanted to neutralise this risk. I realised the mistake was the place of the head. If I could find a way to keep my head out of the circle of my body I could take the fall safely. At that point I analysed the meaning of ushiro u kemi which is to roll over BACKWARDS. But everybody was looking STRAIGHT AHEAD. That is a contradiction to the theory that we have to look the same direction we take the fall. So, I did. I took the fall with my head turned backwards during the rolling over. This was it! My head was out of the circle without touching the mat at all. Also I could stop my body at any moment of the rolling with no danger of injury. I could use my lower abdomen muscles more and concentrate there, so I could touch the tatami first with my toes, not with my knees. I did not have to push so much the tatami with my hands to stand up because my head was not stopping the continuous movement of my body. My standing up became easier and faster and I could continue without getting dizzy. I wanted to see and check all these new points on someone else. I asked an advanced student to take an ushiro ukemi paying attention to these details. I reconfirmed then that to roll over backwards from a left posture we must:

a) put both hands palms facing up over our left shoulder,
b) concentrate on our lower abdomen muscles,
c) breath out all the time,
d) TURN THE HEAD AND LOOK BACKWARDS FROM THE RIGHT SIDE, CONTINUOUSLY DURING THE FALL (there is only one way to turn the head backwards without spoiling our posture)
e) take the fall rolling backwards over our LEFT shoulder
f) push the mat with the hands helping our standing up.

By taking ushiro ukemi this way, even in the case of a strong push there is no danger of injury or breaking of the neck or the nape. I know that a lot of people like to practice also the traditional way, so I hope all the above will help them to continue safely.

Impressions from Steven Seagal's Seminar in Sofia

On September 16th I flew from Athens to Sofia, Bulgaria. I was going to attend a seminar with STEVEN SEAGAL sensei, 7th DAN Aikikai. I mean the famous actor. I was informed about this seminar by my friend KAMEN RADEV, vice president of the BULGARIAN AIKIDO AND JU-JITSU FEDERATION. I have been to Sofia (the name is Greek and means wisdom) a lot of times, most of them to attend aikido Seminars - Lectures. Ive always had a nice time visiting this city; the Bulgarian aikidokas are really good. And nice people too. So on Saturday the 18th I found myself sitting seiza, on the floor of a basketball court. Everything was organized very well and all the trainees seemed impatient for the seminar to start. We sat seiza for about 29 minutes when Seagal sensei entered the tatami. We bowed and he immediately started the seminar. He is a tall, big buy, about 2 meters with very long arms. He looks better up close than in his films. He is very serious when he teaches. He speaks very clearly for an American and he doesnt say a lot. He separated the black belts from the white and showed different techniques to the seniors and the beginners. The techniques for the black belts were exactly the same as the ones he does in his films, against kicks, punches, knives etc. Before that, I had the impression that what he did in his films was a kind of choreography. I was wrong. He executed the techniques the same way he executed them in the films, EXACTLY the same, force-wise and speed-wise. Everybody was impressed. The last 30 minutes of the three-hour seminar we sat down and he wanted us to ask him questions. The general idea of his answers was that he is not at all a violent person; he is a peaceful man who was asked to spread the art of aikido, internationally. Something he did very successfully through his films, especially the first five of them, if I can recall well. He said that he has also trained judo, kung fu and two different schools of sword, for which he is a certified teacher. Aikido-wise, his posture is a little bit different than the usual; his feet are not in a straight line. The weight of his body is distributed on both legs, which are actually bent in the knees. His style is quite dynamic but the Bulgarians are good ukes, so nobody was hurt, even though he was slamming them on the mat.

At the end of the seminar we took limited number of pictures with him and then whoever had a present for him could give it. Mine was a book in both the English and Greek languages with photos of the beautiful wild Greek country. He seemed to like it a lot. He told me also that he would like to come to Greece sometime, so of course I invited him. We have many fans of his here, not only people who train aikido but also action-movies lovers. Another remarkable thing is that before he left, he shook hands with each and every one of the practitioners. After that, we sat seiza, we bowed and he left with his company of actors. Later I heard that he was shooting a film in Sofia. Everybody enjoyed the seminar very much, not to mention that is was for FREE!!! I have to thank Steven Seagal sensei for that. Also I would like to thank Georgi Zarkov, the President of the Bulgarian Aikido and Ju-Jitsu Federation and my friend Kamen Radev for being helpful to me and because they had organized and arranged everything so well. It was an unforgettable experience, which I think youll get to share if Seagal sensei comes to Greece sometime. See you on the mat...


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