Monday, September 23, 2013

Dockery's Aiki Secrets

William B. Dockery's book, Aiki Secrets: Six Precepts and the Dynamic COB is one of those books with a presumptuous name - but unlike some , this one really delivers a ton of material to think about and work on - particularly for the Tomiki Aikido practitioner interested in finding the elusive magical aiki in aikido.  This one really struck a chord with me because I'm all about simplifying the complexity and mystery in the art down to a handful of useful heuristics and getting rid of the parlor trick aikido.
A quick bio of the author - Dockery is a yudansha-level student of Moe Stevens, son of the famous American aikido sensei, Merritt Stevens!  So, this book provides a peek into the Merritt Stevens lineage of aiki thought and practice.
Dockery starts out by describing and defining some home-grown (central-Ohio, USA) vocabulary and terminology and models that he will be using throughout the rest of the book. Most of this fundamental knowledge we already make use of (under different names) in our (southwest Mississippi) classes, but there were a couple of really elegant models for some things that have been assumed or vaguely explained - things like the hip-cam action that makes it easier and more powerful to move forward or backward.
For me, the real highlight of the book so far is Dockery's reimagining and explanation of aiki-age and aiki-sage and Daito-hands.  These are concepts that I've been struggling with for a while, and I think this simplified model will help in my understanding and use of these concepts.  It's definitely going to take some reading, thinking, re-reading, and experimenting with to put these ideas into practice, but it is promising material.
I would absolutely recommend this book to aikido folks (particularly Tomiki aikido folks) who are interested in aiki and internal strength and who may not have gotten a chance to work with this central-Ohio gang and hear their ideas about aiki.  This also definitely makes me crave a chance to get to Ohio to lay hands on some of these folks and feel their feel!

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Patrick Parker
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