Claire Keller Sensei

Let’s start this at the end, on the last day of the seminar.

So there I am, having an amazing time, practicing shomen-uchi with Gorman, a talented Aikidoka with whom I should be training more often.

Keller Sensei is watching, of course, and notices something that in ten years of practice had never occurred to me.

The stance I had taken—as clearly as if I had spoken the words aloud—was telegraphing my thoughts to my partner. Not only my thoughts about the technique, but thoughts about my Aikido as well.

More specifically, because my hanmi was slightly askew, and no center connection was made, I was telling my partner that I lacked the confidence to survive the encounter. It was, Sensei explained, a subtle opening, more psychological than physical. But an opening nonetheless.

With that one, insightful comment, Keller Sensei had cut to the heart of my practice.

And not just that one comment, either. For all our students, Sensei took the time to explain, compliment, and correct. And we were all made the better for it.

I can tell you that Dee and I left jazzed about our training. I can also tell you that our students felt the same way.

So thank you, Lane Sensei, for hosting this wonderful seminar. And on behalf of our students, thank you Claire, for your insight and good humor.

We had a great time.

3 thoughts on “Claire Keller Sensei

  1. I echo Jerry’s response to the seminar. It was helpful if not gratifying to have an instructor observe so carefully my form and technique (and everyone else’s) and offer particulary insightful direction and encouragement. She was candid, but sincere with a nice sense of humor, keeping things from being too serious. In 15 years on the mat, I don’t recall having an instructor kneel with me during class to talk for several minutes about what I need to work on–not regarding a specific technique, but as a Shodan on the path of self improvement.

    It helped that her form was powerful, centered, and graceful, a reflection of her direct training under Yamada Sensei and Sugano Sensei, along with the other instructors at New York Aikikai. I look forward to another seminar or class with Keller Sensei.

  2. Great Seminar. Keller Sensei was extremely supportive of all the students at the seminar.
    Beautiful Aikido, and a positive teaching style!
    Definitely will be looking forward to taking her classes again in the future. Hopefully will be able to visit New York Aikikai in December. Will definitely make it a point to take her classes if I am able to.

  3. A big thanks also to Lane Sensei for hosting the seminar. Dinner on Saturday was especially nice.

    BTW, Peter Bernath is confirmed for September. We’re also trying to schedule a seminar in the next month or so. (Hopefully another NYA instructor. I don’t want to mention names because nothing is confirmed yet.)

    This is going to be a great year for the dojo! 🙂

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